When you are seeing a doctor or are a patient in a hospital, you have the right to make decisions about your case. You must have all the pertinent information so that you can do this. Unfortunately, some doctors become so rushed that they forget about informed consent and assume that the patients know what they know.

The medical team that is treating you should let you know any information they have regarding your care or possible future treatments. This isn’t an area where the doctor or anyone else can skimp. They should relay the information to you and ensure that you understand it before asking you to consent.

To receive the information, you must be able to comprehend what is said to you. This means that you can’t be given the information by yourself if you are incapacitated — instead, your next of kin or the person who has powers of attorney for you will receive the info.

The doctor or nurse might ask you to sign a document giving consent. You should only do this if you agree to the procedure or treatment and understand the risks that come with it.

Some cases might have to bypass informed consent, but these are very limited. If the patient has an emergency and is facing death without action, consent might not be necessary. It is also possible if a person has waived their right to consent.

If you don’t give consent for a procedure or treatment and suffer harm during it, you might choose to seek compensation for the damages. This option sends a strong message about proper patient care while helping you to minimize the monetary strain from the injury.