What Is Informed Consent?
If a patient is to undergo a surgical procedure it is necessary for the patient to receive information from the medical team about the benefits and the risks of the procedure prior to the procedure being carried out. After having heard the possible risks and benefits, if the patient deems that they wish to go ahead with the surgical procedure they must sign a consent form signifying that they have understood and accept the potential risks. This is what is known as informed consent.
As part of the informed consent process, the medical professional/s must clearly explain the possible risks or side effects that could be caused by the medical procedure. This should include associated problems that can sometimes occur as well as less common risks that can potentially have serious effects. By giving your informed consent prior to the surgery taking place you are effectively acknowledging that some ill effects can occur even if the surgical procedure has been conducted in a text book fashion. However, even though your informed consent dictates that you are aware that certain complications can occur, it does not mean that this covers negligent technique or mistakes during the surgery. Furthermore, if you have not been fully briefed about the possible ill effects of going ahead with the procedure prior to the surgery and therefore have not been able to give your fully informed consent there could be a case for a medical negligence claim.
If you are considering making a claim for compensation due to an injury or illness that was caused by medical negligence you may wish to view the following sections.