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Medical malpractice: informed consent and unauthorized treatment

Medical treatment can take many forms, and there may be more than one treatment option available to a patient in Lafayette when trying to tackle a medical condition. Yet, not all treatments are the same. Some may pose a greater risk of injury or even death, while others may be safer but are also less likely to be effective. Regardless of what anyone says, the choice of which course of action to take is ultimately up to the patient. This is why medical professionals must obtain what is called "informed consent" before proceeding with a medical treatment.

There is a lot of information that must be disseminated to a patient before informed consent can be obtained. A doctor must discuss the patient's diagnosis and his or her recommended course of treatment. However, a doctor must also disclose any alternative treatments and the risks associated with them. Additionally, a patient must be informed on the risks of taking no medical action, as that, too, in some circumstances, can cause significant harm.

When a doctor fails to obtain informed consent before conducting an operation, then medical malpractice has likely occurred. But medical malpractice can also occur when a doctor goes beyond the scope of informed consent. This can be seen in an instance when a patient consents to an operation to remedy one medical issue, but the doctor also attempts to address another issues and makes an injurious or fatal mistake as a result.

Being harmed by medical malpractice is no small thing. Victims can be left with serious physical pain and suffering, emotional harm and devastating financial losses. The law does provide an avenue for these individuals to seek compensation for their damages, though, whether they be medical expenses, lost wages or noneconomic damages. Those who find themselves in this position may therefore want to assess the legal options available to them.

Source: FindLaw, "Informed Consent and Unauthorized Treatment," accessed on Feb. 3, 2017

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Tauzin & Lorio, Attorneys at Law
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