Understanding Informed Consent in Relation to Medical Procedures
Laws entitling patients to recovery from negligence or substandard medical care can vary greatly from state to state, and Florida is no exception. As any Pensacola medical malpractice attorney will tell you, Florida can often be one of the most frustrating and difficult states for malpractice victims. Between a shortened statute of limitations, high burdens of proof, and certain caps on liability (although the latter has been changing as of late), medical malpractice plaintiffs often face an uphill battle from the start. One common-sense precept has stood the test of time, however: a doctor cannot perform a procedure on you without your full knowledge and consent. This notion takes codified form in the law of informed consent.
The Two Pieces of “Informed Consent”…
As your Pensacola medical malpractice attorney should explain to you, there are two primary pieces to the doctrine of informed consent; and in fact, they are contained in the phrase itself. First off, the patient must be informed of what is to take place. In Florida, this includes the nature of the procedure, any substantial risks or hazards associated with the procedure, and any reasonable alternatives to undergoing the procedure. This explanation should also include any side effects of accompanying medication, time frames of both the surgery and recovery, and other information. This information must also be delivered when the recipient is in a clear state of mind; for example, when they are not heavily sedated.
If a doctor has not provided sufficient explanation of these issues surrounding your procedure, then you as a client cannot be fully informed and cannot give the second part of the doctrine: consent. A patient, or someone authorized by a patient with diminished mental capacity, must provide consent before the procedure takes place. Consent can be given orally or through a written form, and can be revoked before or during the treatment period, at which point a doctor must safely relent from the unwanted procedure, practice, or treatment.
There are technicalities that can remove the need for informed consent, such as an emergency situation in which a patient would have reasonably consented if given the information, but these are case-specific questions that a Pensacola medical malpractice attorney should be well-equipped to rebut if you strongly feel this was not the case.
If you were injured as a result of a procedure performed by your doctor, and you do not feel that you were properly informed of the associated risks or that you did not fully consent, you need to search for a Pensacola medical malpractice attorney immediately. As mentioned earlier, the laws in Florida will present many obstacles in your quest for recovery, and it is for this reason that you need an experienced advocate by your side.
Joe Zarzaur of Zarzaur Law PA in Pensacola is one of the most decorated and experienced lawyers in the region when it comes to medical malpractice law. To learn more about Joe Zarzaur, or to discuss your specific case, please contact us at 855-HIRE-JOE, or by requesting a free case review through our website.
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