Medical procedures can save lives, but they do not come without risks. For that reason, Florida medical professionals must get informed consent before performing any procedures.
What is informed consent in Florida?
Basically, informed consent is the process where a patient learns about and understands the purpose, benefits, and potential risks relating to a medical or surgical procedure, including clinical trials, and then expressly agrees to receive such treatment or participate in the trial.
Informed consent requires the patient or his or her responsible party to sign a statement confirming that he or she understands the particular risks and benefits of the procedure or treatment.
If a medical provider performs a medical treatment on a patient, without first obtaining the patient’s informed consent, the medical provider may be liable for any damages or injuries to the patient during the treatment. The injured patient may hold the medical provider liable for such injuries.
Per Florida Statute § 766.103, the medical professional must:
- Explain the nature of the medical procedure and what the procedure intends to correct
- Explain the risks related to the particular medical procedure
- Offer various alternatives to the particular medical procedure and their outcomes including the option of doing nothing if there are no available alternatives
Usually the doctor must give these options in writing and the patient must sign to give her informed consent. Florida courts will assume that the patient gave informed consent if she signed.
Are there exceptions?
There are several exceptions to informed consent.
Likelihood of harm is imminent: If the likelihood of harm because of a failure to treat the patient reasonably appears to be imminent and exceeds any threats of harm from the treatment itself, the medical provider may treat the patient without first obtaining his or her informed consent.
Unconscious patient: In addition, the medical professional does not need to obtain informed consent if the patient is unconscious or unable to make decisions.
However, if the patient is conscious and capable of making an informed decision, the medical professional must obtain informed consent.
Necessity of emergency treatment: Florida law recognizes that requiring the informed consent law before every medical procedure would significantly undermine the safety, health and life of a patient requiring emergency treatment but cannot provide informed consent for such treatment.
Children in emergency situations: In regards to children in emergency situations, medical providers do not need to obtain consent from the child for the medical treatment.
Mentally incompetent patient: Another exception exists where the patient is mentally incompetent and therefore incapable of making his own healthcare decisions. In this situation, there may be a presumption of informed consent, if the patient has no guardian or other authorized person.
Get Help with Your Informed Consent Medical Malpractice Case
If you or a loved one suffered harm during a procedure and you did not give consent, it is critical that you hire a Ft. Lauderdale medical malpractice attorney. The Florida medical malpractice lawyers at Montero Law Center are here for you! Our background, resources, and legal strategies enable us to help you get the compensation you need.
Contact us today at 954-767-6500 and schedule a FREE consultation at your convenience.