Question: What is “failure to obtain informed consent?”

Many of us have heard the term “informed consent” particularly where it pertains to the undertaking of a medical procedure. The law requires that all medical and other healthcare professionals obtain informed consent from the patient before any treatment is undertaken. If the medical practitioner fails to obtain informed consent prior to the performance of any procedure, the medical practitioner could be held liable in negligence if there is an outcome from the procedure of which the patient should have been properly warned and, had the patient been warned, not have undertaken the procedure or treatment.

It can be a somewhat complex area of the law and therefore the assistance of an experienced and skilled medical negligence lawyer is required.

However, simply put, the law imposes upon medical practitioners a duty of care which includes the duty to properly inform a patient of all the risks or adverse outcomes that are readily recognised as being inherent in the proposed treatment or procedure. It is only when the patient has been properly advised can they give “informed consent”.

If “informed consent” is not given and then one of the adverse outcomes or risks eventuates, the patient can assert that had they been properly advised they would not have undertaken the procedure. Such an assertion is strengthened when dealing, in particular, with elective medical procedures or treatment. However, in cases where the medical treatment is required there may be instances where it is difficult to accept an assertion by a patient that had they been properly advised they would have elected not to have undertaken the procedure or treatment.

Every case must be dealt with on its own facts.

If you have any concerns with respect to any medical treatment or procedure undertaken and wish to enquire as to whether an adverse outcome arose as a result of any negligence, then contact Brydens Lawyers without delay to determine what if any rights may be available to you.