How Informed Consent Works in Pennsylvania

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How Informed Consent Works in Pennsylvania

Virtually all medical procedures involve a certain degree of risk for the people undergoing them. Doctors thus have both a moral and legal obligation to fully inform their patients of all possible dangers. This is known as informed consent.

When a person undergoes a procedure and suffers a serious injury that he or she did not know could result, that individual may be able to file a medical malpractice claim for lack of informed consent. Most physicians will require patients to sign consent forms that are intended to indicate the patients understand all possible risks, but that paperwork alone is not necessarily proof of informed consent.

If you or your loved one suffered unexpected complications from a medical procedure that you were not warned about being a possibility, you will want to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Call (888) 208-1810 to schedule a free consultation with Edelstein Martin & Nelson, LLP.

Kinds of Product Liability in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act was signed into law in 2002 and significantly expanded the number of procedures requiring documented proof of informed consent. Under the Act, some of these procedures include:

  • surgery
  • administration of anesthesia
  • radiation or chemotherapy
  • blood transfusions
  • insertion of a surgical device
  • administration of experimental medication, use of an experimental device, or use of an approved medication or device in an experimental manner

The only exception to informed consent is emergency situations. Consent is typically considered informed when the patient has been provided a complete description of the procedure as well as all of its risks and alternatives.

It is important to understand that physicians and hospitals may use two utterly separate consent forms. Each is signed to protect that party from liability, but a consent form signed for one does not necessarily constitute consent for the other.

Medical malpractice attorneyInformed consent frequently becomes an issue with elderly patients, some of whom may have relatives or other individuals acting as their medical power of attorney. Even when a person has been legally designated as an authorized agent, his or her signature does not always equate to the patient understanding the procedure.

Quite simply, informed consent involves a person being provided with all of the necessary information regarding his or her diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and alternatives. The significant difference between lack of informed consent and most other medical malpractice actions is that with a lack of informed consent case, the victim is not required to prove that the lack of informed consent caused the victim’s injuries.

Consent forms are typically signed a few days in advance of medical procedures. If a patient is required to sign a consent form the day of a procedure, he or she may be able to claim the form was signed under duress.

Find a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Pennsylvania

Did you suffer serious injuries that your physician did not warn you about before your medical procedure in Pennsylvania? You will want to contact Edelstein Martin & Nelson, LLP as soon as possible.

Our firm represents victims in communities all over the greater Philadelphia area. Call (888) 208-1810 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.