You have the right to make informed consent when a doctor wants to do a procedure or offer you a treatment. The doctor cannot make this decision for you except in an emergency situation or if you are a minor.

This right ensures that you understand and know what the treatment or procedure entails and how it will impact your health. It gives you the power to say what happens with your body. Forbes explains that not getting informed consent is illegal.

Obtaining consent

There is no formal rule about how a doctor must obtain your consent. In general, the doctor only has to provide you with information and ask for your decision. This is often not enough, especially if your doctor is not providing you with adequate information.

Enough information

To make proper informed consent, you need information about what is happening. You need the ability to weigh the information and ask questions if you want. Part of your doctor’s responsibilities in the process is to ensure you have enough information.

Your doctor should tell you the diagnosis, the risks and benefits of the treatment, alternative options, the potential outcomes and how the treatment works.

Uninformed consent

More often than not, you will give consent but not be fully aware of what you said yes to. You may have lingering questions but feel under pressure from the doctor to make a quick decision. You may also feel like you have no choice because your insurance company will not cover alternative options. This leads to situations where you give consent but it is not fully of your own will and with full knowledge of the situation.


About the Author

Pam Olsen Personal Injury Attorney

Ms. Olsen has practiced law since 1992. During her law school education and throughout career she knew, if it is not about people, she is not interested. Everything about people interests Ms. Olsen from the simple details of living to the most profound. She began her law career in a skyscraper in downtown Miami representing corporate interests. Within a VERY short time, Pam knew that side of the things in the world was not for her.

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