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Medical malpractice claims re lack of informed consent

Ohio residents who have medical problems would naturally expect their physicians to provide a high degree of care. A patient is entitled to be informed of the diagnosis of his or her condition, what the recommended treatment will involve and whether any risks exist. A doctor must also notify the patient of alternative therapies and their risks, along with the potential consequences if the patient chooses to take no action. Failure to ensure that a patient understands this information could lead to a medical malpractice claim.

Providing this information is a legal process called informed consent, a disclosure that typically has to be signed by the patient to indicate that he or she understands the details. Only competent patients can give informed consent, which means that adults with mental or other impairing conditions and minors will need the consent of their guardians or parents. Unless it is an emergency, a doctor may not perform treatment without discussing it with the patient and getting his or her informed consent.

Unauthorized treatment may be grounds for a civil claim for monetary damages. A patient who considers filing such a claim will have to show that the physician failed to explain the diagnosis adequately, and did not provide explicit details about suggested treatment, risks and alternatives. Furthermore, the patient must prove that he or she would have decided against the treatment had full information about the dangers been made clear and that without the medical treatment or procedure, the injury would have been avoided.

Although it is the right of any victim of medical malpractice in Ohio to pursue a claim for financial relief, proving negligence may be challenging. Others in similar situations typically secure the services of an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can determine negligence on the part of the doctor, his or her representatives, the medical facility and/or other entities. A lawyer can present the claim to the court and work to achieve a monetary judgment to cover all documented financial and emotional damages.

Source: FindLaw, "Informed Consent and Unauthorized Treatment", Accessed on Feb. 9, 2018

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