While most treatments and procedures are ultimately beneficial to patients, they also carry some degree of risk. As such, doctors must advise patients of the benefits and potential harm that could arise from a proposed plan of treatment, as well as any available alternatives, before providing the suggested care. If a doctor fails to do so and the patient suffers harm as a result, it may constitute grounds for a lack of informed consent claim. Recently, a New York court issued an opinion discussing what a plaintiff must prove to demonstrate liability for the failure to obtain informed consent in an oncology malpractice case. If you suffered losses due to a negligent doctor, it is prudent to speak to a skilled Rochester medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
The Plaintiff’s Claims
It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, which was conducted by the defendant gynecologic oncologist. Following the surgery, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing in part that the surgery was unnecessary, was improperly performed, and that the defendant failed to obtain her informed consent. The defendant moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted the motion, after which the plaintiff appealed.
Establishing Liability for the Failure to Obtain Informed Consent
Under New York law, to establish medical malpractice based on a lack of informed consent, a plaintiff must show that the defendant failed to disclose the reasonable alternatives to a treatment in question and failed to explain the foreseeable risks associated with a treatment, that a reasonable doctor working in the same specialty would have disclosed in a similar situation. The plaintiff must also demonstrate that a reasonable patient in the same situation would not have undergone the treatment in question if he or she had been fully apprised of the risks and alternatives. Finally, the plaintiff must prove that the lack of informed consent proximately caused the harm suffered. Continue reading