Informed consent refers to an ethical responsibility medical professionals have regarding allowing a patient to participate in decisions regarding his or her treatment options. In short, every person has the legal and ethical right to decide what diagnostic tests, surgical procedures and/or medications will be used to affect treatment of his or her body or mind.
In New Jersey, health care providers are required to ensure that the patient has reasonable opportunity to be informed about the treatment options available for his or her specific medical condition. Generally, patients must participate in a discussion, or have access to information regarding:
Generally, the attending physician is also expected to explain the medical reasons behind the proposed treatment option, as well as offer a professional opinion about why he or she encourages a particular option. If the patient does not understand the medical terminology, or requests a second opinion from a qualified medical professional, every effort should be made to accommodate.
The patient must be deemed mentally competent to make decisions regarding informed consent and the consent must be voluntary and made under no duress. Physicians are responsible for making sure the patient understands that informed consent goes beyond simply signing a form. The doctor or hospital is required to ensure that the patient actively engages in a discussion about risks and benefits of various treatment options and to record in a patient’s chart the substance of these discussions and the patient’s decision.
Disregarding the ethical considerations for informed consent may be considered a form of medical malpractice in New Jersey. If you feel you were not allowed to be fully involved in a health care decision, or felt you were made to sign an agreement under duress, talk to New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP. We are recognized among the leading medical malpractice litigation firms in the state. We understand the legal issues and are vigorous proponents of patients’ rights.
From offices in Edison, Red Bank and Toms River, our New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP advise and represent clients in medical malpractice and personal injury litigation matters throughout New Jersey. Call our office at 732-777-0100 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with an experienced New Jersey medical mistakes lawyer at an office nearest to you.