You trust your doctor. You listen closely to their advice. In the end, however, it’s your body and life, so you have to be the person who makes the final decisions about what care you will and won’t receive.
What if the ability to make an informed decision was suddenly ripped away from you? What if you were left with negative, long-term consequences of your doctor’s choices – the ones they made for you without your consent?
You have a right to know all the risks you face
Apart from in an emergency where there’s no time or ability to get a patient’s informed consent before a doctor performs a life-saving procedure, medical providers are supposed to detail the risks of any treatment they prescribe. That means:
- Your doctor should discuss the risks of any lab tests that they want to perform, including things like the potential loss of pregnancy, allergic reactions to contrast dyes and so on
- Your doctor should make sure that you fully understand the risks of any surgery they recommend, including the risk of injury or death from unexpected complications.
- Your medical providers should make sure that you understand any expected problems you may experience after surgery, including scarring or infection.
- Your medical providers should also clarify what other options you may have and what could happen if you choose not to have a specific procedure or treatment.
If you believe that a doctor violated your right to informed consent and injured you, find out more about your legal options, including the possibility of pursuing a medical malpractice claim.