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What is informed consent and how could it be medical negligence?

Many times when a Houston resident needs a medical procedure done they are required to give their informed consent or else it may be considered medical negligence. So what is informed consent and what does it mean?

Informed consent is a critical part of any medical procedure. It involved the physician telling the patient all of the potential risks, alternatives and benefits of the procedure or treatment. The patient must sign their consent to do the surgery, treatment or procedure.

An informed consent exists so that patients know what is going to happen to them. Physicians have the duty to disclose all information to the patient so that the patient can make a good decision about their health care. During an informed consent the physician should cover what the patient's diagnosis is, the purpose of the treatment, the benefits and risks of the treatment, if there are any alternatives, the risks and benefits of those alternatives, and the risks and benefits of not having the procedure done.

Informed consent should be obtained before any medical procedure except when there is a life-threatening emergency. A negligent physician who has a failure to follow acceptable standards and does not go through the informed consent process with his patient should be held responsible. If a patient believes they were not fully informed of a procedure, they may want to contact a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney can review the medical records, consult with medical experts and determine what may have gone wrong. They can work with the victim to make health care professionals answer for their conduct in court.

Source: FindLaw, "Understanding informed consent-A Primer," accessed on Sept. 14, 2015

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