Medical Malpractice

Informed Consent? Don’t Bet On It

March 15, 2017

Table Of Contents


Doctors must fully inform their patients about the risks involved in any proposed medical procedure or treatment. In both medical and legal terminology, this is called 'informed consent.' According to a recent article in the New York Times, "the secret is that informed consent in health care is commonly not-so-well-informed."

Read more on the New York Times.Almost all medical procedures or treatments involve some risk. It is the physician's responsibility to give the patient information about a course of treatment or procedure so the patient can make an informed decision on whether to undergo the treatment. Here are some tips in order to be fully informed:

  • Ask physicians to explain medical terms to avoid a misunderstanding;
  • Summarize what you think you heard so the physician can verify if your understanding is correct;
  • Request pictures, illustrations, or videos of any procedure;
  • Ask for best-case, worst-case, and most likely scenarios;
  • Ask if you can speak to someone who has already undergone the particular treatment;
  • Explore alternative treatment options;
  • Take notes