Most surgeries carry some potential for harm, but many patients determine that the benefits outweigh the risks. Patients must be fully informed of the possible side effects of procedures, though, otherwise, they cannot make educated decisions regarding whether to proceed. As such, doctors who fail to obtain their patient’s informed consent prior to rendering treatment may be held liable for medical malpractice. Recently, a New York court issued an opinion discussing the elements of a lack of informed consent claim in a case in which it ultimately determined the plaintiff set forth adequate evidence a jury trial was necessary. If you sustained injuries due to your doctor’s failure to obtain your informed consent, it is prudent to confer with a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer about your rights.
The Plaintiff’s Harm
It is reported that the defendant operated on the plaintiff. Immediately after the procedure was complete, the plaintiff began experiencing tingling, numbness, and pain in his left leg. He was later diagnosed with permanent nerve damage. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, setting forth a lack of informed consent claim. After the parties completed discovery, the defendant moved for dismissal of the plaintiff’s complaint via summary judgment. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion, and she appealed.
Establishing Liability for Lack of Informed Consent
After reviewing the evidence of record, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling. The court explained that under New York law, a plaintiff setting forth a medical malpractice claim premised on a lack of informed consent must establish that the defendant failed to disclose the benefits, risks, and alternatives of the procedure that a reasonable physician would have disclosed. Further, the plaintiff has to show that a reasonable individual in the plaintiff’s shoes would not have elected to undergo the procedure if fully informed of the risks and alternatives. Continue reading