Understanding Florida’s Informed Consent Laws
As a patient under the care and supervision of a physician, you have a right to be informed of the possible risks and benefits of any procedure, surgery, or test that you may undergo. Informed consent laws are necessary to protect patients in situations where they may otherwise be vulnerable, misinformed, or simply not understand what they are agreeing to. When a doctor fails to inform a patient of information that would have led the patient to reconsider a medical decision, had they known the information, the doctor may have violated their obligations.
Informed Consent in Florida
Florida law defines informed consent as: “[C]onsent voluntarily given by a person after a sufficient explanation and disclosure of the subject matter involved to enable that person to have a general understanding of the treatment or procedure and the medically acceptable alternatives, including the substantial risks and hazards inherent in the proposed treatment or procedures, and to make a knowing health care decision without coercion or undue influence.” Essentially, informed consent is a legal requirement that ensures the patient has enough information to understand what they are agreeing to. Florida’s Medical Consent Law outlines the minimum requirements physicians must meet to be in compliance with informed consent regulations in the state of Florida.
If a patient suffers from an outcome that was not disclosed or understated, the doctor may be liable for any injury the patient suffers as a result. This is most common with surgical procedures, where patients are ill-informed about the side effects of anesthesia, possible permanent paralysis, infection, nerve damage, or other long-term disability. Granted, these must be foreseeable risks. If something has never happened as a result of such a surgery, but something new ends up going wrong, there may be liability under a negligence theory in addition to or instead of informed consent violations. Negligence occurs in surgical situations where a doctor, who has a duty to act reasonably while operating, causes injury and damage to a patient.
Florida Medical Malpractice Attorneys
People want to be able, and in most cases should, trust their doctors. Physicians have specialized knowledge that they have a legal obligation to express to their patients in a way they can understand so that the patient can make informed decisions about their health and treatment. Miscommunications happen. Mistakes happen. But when you are injured as a result of something you did not agree to, someone should be held responsible.
If you or anyone you know has been injured as a result of a doctor’s negligence or if you underwent a procedure you would not have gone through with, had you known of the adverse consequences, you may be entitled to compensation. At Alan Goldfarb, P.A., our experienced medical malpractice attorneys know how to work with doctors, providers, insurance companies, and other attorneys to vigorously litigate your case to ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to. We understand how frustrating, emotional, and financially damaging an injury can be, and we will help you understand what is going on every step of the way so you can focus on getting better. Contact us at our Miami office today to learn more about your legal rights as a medical patient in Florida.