What is Informed Consent in a Florida Medical Malpractice Claim?
If you’ve ever had surgery or any other critical medical procedure, you probably remember dealing with stacks of paperwork beforehand. Much of the documentation outlines the potential risks of undergoing treatment, the associated anesthesia, and related details. Your signature and/or initials are required in multiple places as a caveat for getting the treatment you need.
This process you went through goes by the term “informed consent,” but the statutes and legal concepts behind it aren’t designed to protect YOU. The laws protect the health care provider from a potential claim if you’re injured. While you should trust a Florida medical malpractice lawyer to handle the specifics, an overview of informed consent may be useful.
Summary of Florida’s Law on Informed Consent: Florida’s Medical Consent Law includes several provisions on the concept, which typically covers two situations:
- Informed Consent in Advance: In a non-emergency or elective surgery situation, informed consent will arise long before the procedure. Your health care provider is required to advise on:
- The nature of the procedure
- The risks and potential dangers
- The existence of reasonable alternatives
If you do agree through your signature on the documents explaining these matters, then informed consent has taken place.
- Emergency or Urgent Medical Procedures: In some situations, you may not have the opportunity to sign a document in advance. Still, your informed consent may occur if your doctor obtained it through other medically accepted methods, such as having you nod or squeeze someone’s hand. You may also be presumed to offer consent if you hypothetically would have provided consent under the circumstances.
Once informed consent is triggered through either of these two methods, you’ve indicated your acknowledgement of the risks and that you’re still willing to undergo treatment. You cannot later withdraw your consent if something goes wrong; most importantly, you cannot seek compensation for any resulting losses through a medical malpractice claim.
Exceptions to Informed Consent in Medical Malpractice Cases: Even if your healthcare provider proves your informed consent, that doesn’t spell the end of your claim. You still have a medical malpractice claim if your agreement was obtained through fraud, deception, or misrepresentation of an important fact related to the treatment.
In addition, informed consent does not operate as a waiver of all liability. It only protects a physician from the risks and hazards that were explained to you, and which are commonly associated with the procedure. You still have rights if you were injured due to other negligent acts, such as:
- Leaving an item inside your body
- Performing the wrong procedure
- Misdiagnosing your illness
- Many other forms of negligence
Discuss Your Rights with a Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you suffered injuries due to medical malpractice, you could experience the consequences and complications for the rest of your life. You could be entitled to compensation to cover your losses, but you’ll need an experienced lawyer to advocate on your behalf. Please contact Freidin Brown, P.A. to learn more about our legal services in the area of medical malpractice. We can schedule a no-cost consultation at our offices in Miami or Fort Myers.