Furr & Henshaw
Myrtle Beach
843-213-6737
Columbia
803-250-6829
Making You Whole Again

Is informed consent a defense to medical malpractice?

"Informed consent" refers to the process that physicians use, or are at least supposed to use, to see to it that patients are properly informed about a medical treatment or procedure that a physician intends to use on them.

More specifically, informed consent refers to the act of the physician engaging in a dialog with the patient as well as to the form that a patient signs indicating that he or she has been fully informed before the procedure is undertaken.

Although the purposes of informed consent have been described in terms of decreasing the risk of medical errors, setting realistic patient expectations and improving patient satisfaction, perhaps the most important reason for their use is their intended value in reducing the possibility of medical malpractice claims.

In this sense, an informed consent document may be used in a way similar to an indemnification or a waiver of liability.

The question remains, however, as to whether informed consent is completely effective as a means of informing patients of the risks they may face when undergoing medical treatment.

Not all doctors may take the time to fully explain procedures and risks to patients, while others may attempt to do so using terminology that patients cannot completely comprehend.

Several studies have concluded that a majority of patients either do not understand or cannot remember the information they received during the informed consent process.

In the context of medical malpractice, even a signed informed consent document may not necessarily protect the physician from the consequences of making a medical error, even if he or she allegedly attempted in advance to discuss with the patient the risks of that error.

If the patient failed to understand the information that was given, and the doctor failed to ensure that the patient in fact did understand the information, then the effectiveness of informed consent as a malpractice defense is degraded.

A law firm experienced in trying medical malpractice cases in South Carolina can help you to properly evaluate the impact, if any, of either a lack of informed consent or an informed consent document that you may have signed without proper explanation before undergoing a medical procedure in which you were harmed.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
email us for a response
email us for a response

Contact The Office

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Myrtle Beach Office
1900 Oak Street
PO Box 2909
Myrtle Beach, SC 29578

Phone: 843-213-6737
Fax: 843-448-6445
Myrtle Beach Law Office Map

Columbia Office
1534 Blanding Street
Columbia, SC 29201

Phone: 803-250-6829
Fax: 803-254-7513
Columbia Law Office Map

back to top