Informed consent is a term you may hear as a patient in Las Vegas, Nevada. It refers to your right to get all the facts and information about a medical procedure before agreeing to the treatment. Not only must you sign a written form to give your consent, but you must also feel satisfied that the physician gave you all the information you needed to make an educated decision. Failure to obtain informed consent is a common basis for medical malpractice lawsuits in Nevada.
Defining Informed Consent in the Health Care Industry
A patient’s informed consent refers to the knowledgeable, educated authorization to receive a procedure or operation – not just the signing of a consent form. As a patient, simply signing a form does not mean you gave your informed consent. You might have consented to the procedure without fully understanding its risks or potential benefits.
Signing a document without enough information eliminates the informed part of the agreement. This could expose the physician or hospital to liabilities. Giving your informed consent means you agree to the procedure while knowing all the critical facts. Communications between you, your doctor and the surgeon must disclose certain information to qualify as informed consent.
- Your full diagnosis
- Your prognosis for the future
- Recommended procedures and alternatives
- The purpose of the procedure
- Pros and cons of the procedure
- Potential health or safety risks involved
- The possible risks of not receiving the treatment
A physician should allow you to ask as many questions as you want about the procedure or treatment, so you can obtain a deeper understanding. You should then have the authority to either decline or accept the medical intervention. Only after receiving all the information about a course of treatment should you sign a release form. Even if you sign the form, however, you could have grounds for a malpractice claim if the practitioner failed to properly inform you first.
Nevada’s Informed Consent Laws
Health care institutions in Nevada must obey federal and state informed consent laws before conducting procedures on patients. The Code of Federal Regulations, section 45 CFR 46.116, outlines the federal laws for giving and receiving informed consent. It states that the physician, or investigator, must provide the subject of the proposed treatment or research sufficient opportunity to ask questions and determine whether to participate.
The investigator must take steps to reduce risks of coercion, such as divulging the information a reasonable person would need to make an educated decision. Informed consent should start with listing the key information that will help you, the patient, understand why you might or might not want to agree to the procedure. Then, the investigator should present other information to describe the procedure in more detail. Informed consent involves many basic elements the investigator must provide.
State laws in Nevada say obtaining informed consent is both a legal and an ethical obligation. The American Medical Association’s Code of Ethics requires all physicians to give relevant procedural information to patients. Full disclosure is necessary to protect a patient’s right to make independent health care decisions. Otherwise, the patient could end up the victim of medical malpractice.
Informed Consent and Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Failure to sufficiently obtain your informed consent could be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit if you suffered injuries during the procedure, and if you reasonably would not have agreed had you received more information. If you were a patient who suffered serious injuries during a procedure, only to find out that this was a known risk the doctor did not make you aware of, you could have a claim against the physician and/or hospital for lack of informed consent. A successful malpractice lawsuit could result in payment for your economic and noneconomic losses. Speak to a Las Vegas medical malpractice attorney if you have any questions regarding informed consent or if you wanna discuss your case.