In an emergency, you expect the medical personnel at a New Mexico hospital to do whatever it takes to save your life regardless of whether you have the chance to consent to any treatment deemed necessary. Under normal circumstances, however, you would more than likely want the chance to consent to any treatment recommended.
You deserve to make the choice, even if it’s against your doctor’s advice. For instance, if you choose not to fill a prescription for a flu medication and end up letting the illness run its course instead, that is your choice. Your life may not be at risk in this situation, but what about when you are hospitalized or the situation is direr? What if your doctor performs a procedure or carries out a course of treatment without your consent and you suffer harm because of it?
How do you know if you gave ‘informed consent’?
In order to determine whether you gave your doctor informed consent prior to a procedure or treatment, your doctor must provide you with the following:
- The full nature of your medical condition
- The types of treatments available
- The potential risks of each type of treatment
- The outcome you can expect without treatment and with each treatment
Your doctor must provide the above information in language you can understand, which means that a bunch of medical jargon may not be enough for you to make an informed decision. As an aside, your minor child cannot give informed consent to a procedure or treatment. If a decision is required, it must come from you as your child’s parent. A guardian may also make the choice on behalf of a minor, when applicable.
What happens if you didn’t give informed consent?
If your doctor performed a procedure or treatment that you would not have agreed to if you had fully understood the risks and you suffered harm at the hands of your doctor, you may have legal options. In order to prevail in any legal proceedings in connection therewith, you need to prove the following to the court:
- Your doctor failed to tell you the possible outcome or risks of procedure or treatment
- You wouldn’t have agreed to procedure or treatment if you had known outcome or risks
- You suffered harm as a result
If you believe your doctor acted without your consent and you suffered harm because of it, you may benefit from gaining an understanding of your rights and exploring your legal options.