There are side effects associated with many medical treatments for health concerns. Usually, a doctor will inform a patient of the potential risks of a course of care and advise whether the benefits outweigh the possible harm. If a physician fails to fully educate a plaintiff on the possible consequences of a procedure prior to performing it, and the patient subsequently suffers injuries, the doctor may be liable for failing to obtain the patient’s informed consent. In a recent New York ruling in a case arising out of dermatological malpractice, a court explained the evidence needed to allow a lack of informed consent claim to proceed to trial. If you sustained harm due to a negligent dermatologist, you should speak to a trusted Rochester dermatology malpractice attorney to assess your options.
The Plaintiff’s Care
It is alleged that the plaintiff visited the defendant dermatologist, complaining of a lump on the back of her neck. The defendant diagnosed the lump as a cyst and scheduled the plaintiff for a procedure to remove it. The lump resolved prior to the plaintiff’s appointment, but the defendant advised the plaintiff that she should undergo the procedure regardless. The defendant excised what he believed to be a cyst but was, in fact, a lymph node, causing the plaintiff to suffer pain and nerve damage. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, setting forth, among other things, a claim of lack of informed consent. The defendant moved for summary judgment, but the court denied his motion, after which he appealed.
Proving Liability for Lack of Informed Consent
After reviewing the evidence, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling. As to the informed consent claim, the court noted that under New York law, the fact that the plaintiff signed a generic form indicating her consent was insufficient grounds to entitle the defendant to judgment as a matter of law. Additionally, the defendant’s expert affirmation failed to opine that the consent form was in compliance with the applicable standard for such disclosures for reasonable dermatologists performing similar types of procedures.