Elements of Valid Informed Consent

Mar 12

Between complex medical terms and high co-pay costs, having a medical procedure can be an intimidating and sometimes confusing process. This is why doctors are required to ask for informed consent from their patients before conducting a treatment or procedure. In order for a patient to give valid informed consent, the three elements of disclosure, capacity and voluntariness must be present.

Disclosure makes it necessary for the doctor to provide a patient with the information necessary to make an educated decision. This includes disclosure of potential risks and alternative procedures. These facts must be presented to the patient in layman’s terms, such that the doctor assesses that the information has been effectively communicated.

Capacity is a term used to describe the patient’s ability to form a reasonable judgment. For example, there is no valid informed consent if the patient is in a coma or mentally disabled.

Voluntariness is the patient’s right to freely choose without outside pressures. The patient’s rejection of the treatment or procedure should not result in any penalty.

If you or a loved one feels that your doctor failed to thoroughly inform you about your options before pursuing a course of treatment, a medical malpractice attorney may be able to help you hold him or her accountable.

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