Who makes decisions when you are in the hospital?  Can a doctor decide unilaterally to perform a medical procedure on you without permission?  According to informed consent laws, absolutely not.  Kansas City patients have the right to decide medical decisions before procedures take place.  Surgical mistakes happen, and can have devastating effect on the lives of the victims and the victim’s family.

A recent Maryland law sheds light on the need for improved informed consent regulations.  Patients should have the right to know and give their consent for all aspects of their medical care, no matter how small the procedure is.  The only exception is during those times when delayed care is a threat to the life of the patient.  When there is no time to retain patient consent or the patient is unable to give consent, then the doctor must move forward. 

In other cases, however, patients deserve to know every aspect of the care they receive.  For example, the new Maryland law provides the following criteria:

1.      Details of the procedure must be provided to the patient.  Down to the specific medications to be used, the information should be provided to the patient in full prior to the procedure.

2.      Written details of the procedure should be provided.  Anytime a procedure is to be performed the patient should know exactly what will take place.

3.      Reasonable expectations should be represented to the patient.  A doctor or nurse should not take on the role of a used car salesman trying to convince the consumer to buy the lemon on the lot.  Informed consent is a must.  No one should attempt to convince a patient to have a procedure and leave out all of the information, good or bad.

4.      Alternatives to the procedure must be explained.  Every option should be presented in a fair and accurate way.  Again, no trying to convince the patient one way or another.

5.      All possible side effects should be clearly explained.  Risks must be honestly represented, but for the procedure and not having it as well.  Regardless of how minor the possible hazards may be, patients must be adequately informed.

When medical professionals provide patients with the honest facts in an upfront matter, the patient is then equipped to make informed choices.  Leaving a patient out of the loop, misinformed, or uninformed is an act of a healthcare professional with little regard to the autonomy of the patient.  Doesn’t a patient deserve to make informed decisions when it comes to his or her won body?

Do You Think You May Have A Medical Malpractice Claim?

If you believe you may have a medical malpractice claim you need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

You can also download our FREE book on medical malpractice.  
James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.