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.
In the subject case, the court found that the defendant established the prima facie right to judgment as a matter of law, in part by producing the plaintiff’s signed consent form in which she stated she was informed of the risks, benefits, and alternatives to the proposed procedure. Additionally, the defendant produced an expert affirmation that supported the argument that a reasonable person in the same situation would have undergone the treatment. Thus, the trial court ruling was affirmed.
Speak to a Seasoned Malpractice Attorney in Rochester
Patients suffering from cancer have a right to know the potential consequences of a course of treatment, and when they are not properly informed, it may constitute malpractice. If your doctor failed to obtain your informed consent prior to treating you for cancer, it might constitute oncology malpractice, and you should speak to a lawyer regarding your rights. The seasoned Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are well-versed in what it takes to obtain a successful outcome, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us via our form online or at 585-653-7343 to set up a meeting.