Informed Consent and West Virginia Medical Malpractice Claims

Before your doctor can perform surgery or any other invasive medical procedures, they must obtain your informed consent. If they perform treatment without your informed consent, you might have grounds for a West Virginia medical malpractice claim.

What is informed consent?

Informed consent involves more than your signature. It's a process in which your doctor must communicate the following before obtaining your signature

  • the nature and purpose of the procedure or treatment;
  • the risks and benefits involved;
  • the risks and benefits of refusing the treatment;
  • alternatives to the procedure or treatment, even if the alternatives are not covered by your health insurance; and
  • the risks and benefits of the alternatives. 

Your doctor also has the responsibility of ensuring that you understand what you have been told and that you agree to medical intervention. For example, it would be unacceptable if your doctor rushed into your room and said, "If you go into V-Fib again we might not be able to resuscitate you. You need heart surgery stat." In this case, you should ask for an explanation in layman's terms as well as the risks and benefits of the surgery.

If you feel as if you were coerced into any procedure without a thorough explanation from your doctor, you should consult with a Clarksburg medical malpractice attorney. They might be able to help you move forward with a West Virginia medical malpractice claim to seek compensation for any injuries you've sustained due to lack of informed consent.

How much information is adequate for informed consent?

When determining whether you were given adequate information for informed consent, a judge or jury will consider the following

  • Reasonable doctor standard: This puts the spotlight on the physician. It involves the information a typical doctor will give a patient before medical intervention, although research indicates that the typical physician does not give their patients adequate information for informed consent.
  • Reasonable patient standard: This involves information the average patient needs to know to make informed decisions.
  • Subjective standard: This involves tailoring information to individual patients. For example, if the patient is a health care professional, they might not require as much detailed information as a patient who is an elementary school teacher or someone whose first language is not English. If the patient is mentally disabled, informed consent should be tailored to their guardian. 

For information to be adequate, you must feel respected as a patient, have a thorough understanding of the medical intervention and have a voice in your medical decisions.  

If you think your informed consent was invalid and you are not pleased with the medical intervention you received, a Clarksburg medical malpractice attorney can go over your case and determine who should be held accountable. You might be able to bring a West Virginia medical malpractice claim against your doctor and the hospital or other facility where you received treatment.

It would be in your best interest to contact a Clarksburg medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to meet the deadlines for filing a claim.

Contacting a Clarksburg Medical Malpractice Attorney

Informed consent is critical before invasive medical interventions. If you or a loved one feels as if your patient rights have been violated, call the Clarksburg medical malpractice attorneys at The Miley Legal Group for a FREE consultation - 304-326-1800.