There are two types of medical malpractice/medical negligence cases.
One type of case is a negligence case where the doctor is careless and fails to act reasonable towards his or her patient. This is a more traditional case where a medical error occurs. A second kind of case is called an “informed consent” case where a physician must inform the patient of known risks and complications and then obtain a patient’s consent.
A physician is precluded from operating upon a mentally competent adult patient in non-emergency situations without the patient’s consent according to Pennsylvania Law. Where a physician performs a surgical procedure on a patient without the patient’s knowledgeable consent, the procedure is deemed to be an unauthorized touching or “battery” upon the patient. As long as a patient is mentally competent, he or she has the right to medical self determination and that includes the right to make what may appear to be an unreasonable choice under certain circumstances. In other words, in Pennsylvania, the patient’s consent must be informed. A patient cannot make an informed decision unless the physician explains the risk that a reasonable patient under the circumstances would want to know to make an informed decision and also provide alternative choices.
It is your fundamental right to an informed consent for any surgical procedure performed upon you by any medical practitioner. This essentially includes any type of surgery in which an incision is made. You are entitled to know the risks and alternatives under the circumstances. If you or a family member have undergone a surgery and suffered significant injuries or harm as a result of a medical provider’s failure to provide informed consent, contact the attorneys at Patberg Law Firm at 1-800-471-6880, complete our contact form or email our attorneys.