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New York Court Discusses Elements of a Lack of Informed Consent Claim

A doctor may not only injure a patient by performing a procedure improperly but may also cause a patient to suffer harm by failing to warn the patient of the potential risks and side effects of a procedure. Thus, a doctor may commit malpractice by failing to obtain a patient’s informed consent prior to performing a procedure. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed what a plaintiff must prove to recover damages under a lack of informed consent claim, in a case in which the plaintiff was harmed by negligent ophthalmologic care. If you suffered harm because of an ophthalmologist’s reckless acts or omissions, it is wise to speak to a skillful Rochester ophthalmology malpractice attorney to discuss what evidence you must produce to recover damages.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a corneal transplant of the left eye, which was performed by the defendant ophthalmologist. The plaintiff suffered complications following the procedure, which ultimately caused the transplant to fail and required an emergency corneal transplant. It was ultimately determined that the plaintiff’s retina detached, and he would not be able to see out of his left eye anymore. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging claims of negligence and lack of informed consent. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment as to both claims, which the trial court denied. The defendant filed an appeal, arguing, in part, that the trial court erred in refusing to dismiss the informed consent claim.

Elements of an Informed Consent Claim

Under New York law, a plaintiff seeking to recover damages for a medical malpractice claim arising out of lack of informed consent must show that the defendant healthcare provider did not disclose alternatives to a treatment or advise the plaintiff of the associated risks of the treatment that were reasonably foreseeable, and that a competent healthcare provider would have disclosed in the same situation.

The plaintiff must also show that a patient that is reasonably prudent, when faced with the same circumstances, would not have undergone the treatment if he or she had been fully informed of the risks and alternatives. Lastly, the plaintiff must show that his or her lack of informed consent proximately caused the harm he or she suffered. In other words, the treatment that was performed without the plaintiff’s informed consent must be the source of the plaintiff’s injuries.

In the subject case, the appellate court noted that the evidence of record, including the deposition testimony of the defendant ophthalmologist, supported the plaintiff’s argument that he was not appropriately advised of the risks of the procedure. The appellate court found, therefore, that the defendant failed to establish that he was entitled to dismissal via summary judgment and affirmed the trial court ruling.

Speak to a Trusted Rochester Attorney

If you were harmed by an ophthalmologist’s failure to advise you of the risks of a procedure, you may be able to recover damages in a malpractice lawsuit and should speak to an attorney. The trusted Rochester ophthalmology malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to helping people harmed by careless healthcare providers seek compensation and we will work tirelessly to help you strive for a just outcome. You can contact us through our form online or at 585-653-7343 to set up a meeting.

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