When it comes to medical treatment, informed consent is something which must be given before a patient can be treated in most cases. Informed consent means that the patient fully understands the procedure and all its implications (i.e. further health problems that could result from the procedure if it doesn’t go well), clearly agrees to it without the pressure of medical professionals or family members, and is capable of fully agreeing to it. Understandably, sometimes it may seem that a patient has given informed consent when this is not actually the case.
The problems of informed consent
Because most patients don’t have a good understanding of medical terminology, it can sometimes be the case that a patient will agree to a procedure without having fully understood what they have been told about it. Perhaps their doctors have used medical jargon that they have been too embarrassed to admit that they don’t understand, or perhaps they have simply completely misunderstood, taking one word for another. In some cases, a patient may have failed to read the information they have been given, and simply signed the consent form anyway.
In other cases, a patient may feel that they were not able to give their informed consent at the time of the medical procedure. Even though they were conscious, they may have been confused due to their injuries or the drugs that have been given to them. Even though they voluntarily signed the informed consent form, they may not feel that they were capable of doing so at the time.
What to do if you feel you did not give your informed consent for a medical procedure
If you have been injured in any way as a result of having undergone a medical procedure for which you feel you did not give (or were not capable of giving) your informed consent, you may be entitled to claim personal injury compensation. Bear in mind, however, that there are many situations in which procedures can be carried out even without your informed consent – if you were unconscious at the time, for example, or if you suffer from a mental health condition.
To discuss your case in more detail, call our expert advisers at Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500. The helpline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so feel free to call whenever is convenient. For a very quick guide to your possible eligibility, consult our 30-second test online.
Date Published: January 13, 2014
Author: David Brown
Category: Medical negligence claim