While there are a few exceptions, in most cases, medical providers cannot perform procedures on you without your express informed consent. In some cases, though, implied consent is sufficient to give permission. It’s easy to confuse express and implied consent. 

Express consent is given through written permission or verbal agreement. Healthcare workers need a patient’s permission for medical treatments and invasive procedures, like surgery, blood transfusions, anesthesia, chemotherapy and radiation, biopsies, HIV testing, and most vaccinations.

Implied consent involves showing willingness through action, such as following pre-surgical instructions before your procedure. While you likely also signed paperwork consenting to the surgery, following through by fasting or showing up at the hospital at the required time could also be implied consent that you intend to go through with the surgery.

If you get a prescription filled, that could be implied consent to take the medication as prescribed by your doctor. Whether implied consent was given depends on the facts and circumstances of a situation. 

If you have been abused or neglected in a nursing home or a medical facility due to a lack of consent, contact a reputable personal injury lawyer for help. 

Consent can be expressed verbally or in written form. When you sign a medical authorization form that includes all the information about a diagnosis, procedure, or course of treatment, benefits, side effects, and risks of the treatment, you have given written express consent

If someone is harmed by receiving an injury they did not consent to, they could potentially have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. If the injuries were fatal, family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim.

You can change your mind about consent. Even if you’ve already given consent for a medical procedure, you can withdraw it at any time up until the procedure has begun. If you have multiple procedures scheduled, you can limit your consent to one procedure rather than withdrawing it completely.

Doctors might perform a procedure without a patient’s consent due to a misunderstanding. In some cases, it could be a minor issue that doesn’t cause the patient any harm. In some cases, the error is more egregious, like when a patient consents only to surgery on their shoulder, but the doctor performs surgery on their elbow, as well. In these cases, the patient did not consent to the additional procedure, resulting in a physical change they didn’t agree to.

In other cases, a healthcare provider might fail to give the patient an adequate explanation of the procedure before asking for consent, causing the patient to misunderstand consent entirely. If the patient had understood the procedure and the risks, that may have affected their decision about whether to consent.

How Can I Stay Informed?

Doctors typically receive written consent from patients to protect themselves against medical malpractice claims. Yet, doctors still have responsibilities they must uphold. Before a procedure is performed, patients must fully understand the process of any medical examination or procedure, including any risks, benefits, and possible side effects. 

Without accurate information, a patient cannot give informed consent. A doctor should take the time to discuss any procedures and answer any questions before obtaining your consent. 

Aside from life-threatening emergency situations, healthcare providers generally must obtain your written consent for exams and procedures. If you are receiving medical treatment, be sure to ask questions if there is anything that you do not understand. Medical providers are there to help you, and they have a duty to make sure you understand what procedures they will be performing on you. 

If you signed a medical waiver without knowing everything about a medical procedure and that medical procedure harmed you, you might have a basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

If you were harmed by medical treatment performed without your consent, you may need additional treatment to address any new injuries. You might have to miss time from work.

You could be entitled to seek compensation for these damages, including:

  • The cost of the treatment that led to your injuries
  • Medical bills incurred to perform corrective measures
  • Lost wages 
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life

You may also be able to pursue damages if you lost a loved one due to medical malpractice. Settlements in wrongful death cases may cover funeral expenses or medical expenses.

Contact the Medical Malpractice Lawyers In the Central Savannah River Area at Hawk Law Group for Legal Assistance Today

For more information, please contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Hawk Law Group at our nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve throughout the Central Savannah River Area and its surrounding areas:

Hawk Law Group – Augusta, GA
338 Telfair St, Augusta, GA 30901, United States
(706) 722-3500

Hawk Law Group – Evans, GA
4384 River Watch Pkwy, Evans, GA 30809, United States
(706) 863-6500

Hawk Law Group – Thomson, GA
146 Railroad St A, Thomson, GA 30824, United States
(706) 361-0350

Hawk Law Group – Waynesboro, GA
827 Liberty St, Waynesboro, GA 30830, United States
(706) 437-9122

Hawk Law Group – Aiken County, SC
156 Laurens St NW, Aiken, SC 29801, United States
(803) 226-9089

We also serve in Edgefield County, SC.