What Does “Informed Consent” Mean?

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Chances are, if you’ve ever undergone a medical treatment or procedure you’ve probably been required to sign a consent form before your physician proceeded with your treatment. Signing a consent form, in and of itself, doesn’t constitute “informed consent”, which your doctor is required to obtain from you before proceeding with your treatment.

What exactly is informed consent? Informed consent isn’t merely a matter of getting your consent to a medical treatment or procedure. In order to obtain your informed consent, your doctor must first discuss with you the major risks and benefits associated with the proposed treatment or procedure.

Additionally, your doctor should also talk to you about other options you may have for treatment, and what may happen if you receive no treatment at all. Your doctor also must ensure that you understand the information being discussed. It’s only after you’ve been given this information and you understand what it all means in terms of your choice of treatment, that you are able to give your informed consent to the treatment.

Being fully informed is also of benefit to you, too, as a patient. Once you understand fully what the risks and benefits of a course of treatment are, and if you have any other options, you’ll be able to better decide whether to consent to the treatment your doctor proposes. If you find yourself unsure of any aspect of the treatment your doctor is discussing with you, make sure you ask your doctor for clarification.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of medical malpractice and are seeking a qualified medical malpractice attorney, contact Los Angeles doctor-turned-lawyer Bradley I. Kramer for a free consultation today.

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