As a patient, you have the right to receive information about your medical diagnosis, treatment options, prognosis and potential side effects of each treatment.
The right to informed consent gives patients control over their healthcare. This legal requirement is mandatory in all except a few instances. If you receive treatment for a medical condition without informed consent, the treatment is unauthorized.
Conditions that waive the informed consent requirement
According to FindLaw experts, there are two instances that waive the right to informed consent. These instances include lack of competency and emergency situations.
Individuals who are mentally incompetent, for example, may not be able to comprehend their medical treatment options or associated risks. Lawyers can argue that you were not mentally competent enough to make your own medical decisions in certain lawsuits if that is the case.
Additionally, emergency situations may waive the right to informed consent. If you are unconscious and a doctor must perform emergency surgery to save your life, it is unlikely that you would want them to wait until you could consent to the procedure.
Treatments that qualify as unauthorized
Any treatment that occurs outside of the two abovementioned conditions may fall under unauthorized treatment. For this to be true, however, you must prove the following two elements to the court:
- That your doctor did not adequately explain the procedure, along with the risks
- That your injury is directly related to your unknowing of the potential risks
If knowledge of the associated risks would have caused you to change your decision, this is a key element in any lawsuit you may bring against your doctor afterward.
Unauthorized treatment is a serious offense that may alter the rest of your life. It is crucial to be sure that you understand all the risks associated with any treatment you receive.