News Article

Patient Not Giving Consent

19Jun

Patient Not Giving Consent

Consent is an important part of any medical procedure and has an important role to play in healthcare in general. If you have had an operation and you did not give your informed consent to have it carried out, then you may be able to make a claim of negligence.

What is Informed Consent?

Consent must be obtained before any medical examination, test or treatment. This always needs to follow a clear explanation by a clinician.  Consent cannot be implied and needs to obtained whatever the procedure.

Not only is informed consent a critical part of medical ethics it is also a central tenet of human rights law.

There are two aspects of informed consent. It must be given voluntarily (without the undue influence of medical staff, friends or family) and it must be informed.  In other words, you need to have the procedure carefully explained to you and understand the risks involved before agreeing to the treatment.

As the person being asked for consent, you must also have the capacity to give it.

There are certain circumstances where informed consent is not required, including but not exclusively limited to:

  • If you have been in a bad accident, are unconscious and a life-saving or emergency procedure has to be carried out.
  • If you are having an operation and an additional emergency procedure must be carried out.

Giving Consent

There are two ways that medical professionals obtain consent.

The first is verbally. A GP, for example, may ask if they can carry out a specific examination or you might be asked if it’s okay to do an x-ray.

The second, and most used in surgical procedures is written consent.  This is where the procedure is explained to you and you then sign a document stating that you understand the procedure, what will happen and any risks involved.  

The consent should be given by the healthcare professional that is carrying out the treatment. So, for example, if you are having a physical examination at a GPs, you will give your consent to the doctor carrying it out. If you are having a medical procedure in hospital, you will give your consent to the surgeon who is leading the operation.

You can also change your mind once you have given consent and the medical professional will need to comply with this.

Making a Claim

It can be difficult to decide whether full informed consent has been given, which is why it’s important to get expert legal advice.  We have a wealth of experience in medical negligence and can listen to your potential claim and advise you on the best way to proceed. This can include if you give consent to someone who was not the appropriate person.  One example might be if a clinician obtained your consent to an operation rather than the surgeon carrying out the surgery.  

If you think that you may have a claim arising out of lack of consent in a healthcare situation, contact us to discuss your situation.

We will listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have.  

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