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Informed Consent Before Medical Treatment in Florida: Know Your Rights

vaccine being held by a doctor

Have you ever gone along with a medical treatment, then later felt like you were left in the dark about the risks? Maybe you consented to a procedure, but now you’re wondering if you would have chosen differently if you had all the information. Or perhaps you experienced a complication you never heard mentioned as a risk. These are all reasonable feelings they could be signs of a more serious issue: medical malpractice due to lack of informed consent.

If you suspect you were not properly informed about the risks of a medical procedure, Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, can assist you in your medical malpractice claim. You will not have to pay anything upfront, and there will be no costs to you unless we win. 

What is Informed Consent?

According to the American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics informed consent is an ethical and legal requirement for medical treatment. You have the right to receive information and ask questions about recommended treatments so that they can make well-considered decisions about care. Your healthcare provider is obliged to communicate with you about your condition, treatment options, and risks. They must obtain the patient’s informed consent to proceed with any medical action. 

It is not only an ethical concept but also legal and formal. Informed consent laws vary by state and situation. In Florida, the Medical Consent Law, §766.103, defines informed consent with three elements: 

  • the healthcare provider must generally describe the procedure
  • the healthcare provider must explain the medically acceptable alternative treatments
  • the healthcare provider must explain substantial hazards and/or risks associated with the proposed care

When is Informed Consent Required? 

Informed consent is not typically required for routine medical procedures, checkups, or vital sign measurements (like blood pressure or temperature checks). These procedures are generally considered low-risk and don’t involve significant potential complications. It is required before medical procedures and treatments, including:

  • Treatments related to cancer (chemotherapy)
  • Surgeries
  • Anesthesia
  • Certain vaccinations, blood, and diagnostic tests
  • Clinical research trials
  • Blood transfusions

Lack of Informed Consent: Examples of When You Might Have a Case

Informed consent is your right to know exactly what’s involved in a medical procedure before you agree to it. This includes understanding the risks, benefits, and potential alternative treatments. Unfortunately, sometimes the reality is different. Here are some common scenarios of a lack of informed consent:

  • Blindsided by a Complication: Imagine you agree to surgery after being informed about the most common risks. But what if the doctor neglects to mention a rarer but serious complication? If you experience this complication later, it could be because you weren’t given all the information you needed to make an informed decision. This could be grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
  • Missing Out on Other Options: Your doctor might recommend surgery as the best course of action. However, what if there’s a less invasive or risky alternative treatment they never discussed? If the surgery has negative consequences, you might argue you weren’t given all the information to make an informed choice about your care.
  • Wrong Procedure, No Consent: You consent to a specific procedure, but the doctor performs a different one. This could happen unintentionally (operating on the wrong body part) or due to unforeseen circumstances. Even if the new procedure is necessary, it can be considered malpractice if you didn’t give proper consent beforehand.
  • Feeling Pressured to Sign: In pressured situations, you might feel obligated to sign a consent form without fully understanding the risks involved. This could be due to factors like your own medical condition or the doctor’s dismissive attitude. If you felt rushed or pressured into signing without getting all your questions answered, it could be a sign of a problem.
  • Mixed Messages and Misunderstandings: Sometimes, communication breakdowns can lead to misunderstandings. Imagine you think you understood the risks of a procedure, but later realize the doctor explained them differently. This confusion could be the basis for a medical malpractice claim if it leads to a negative outcome

Remember, just signing a consent form doesn’t always mean you gave informed consent. The key is whether you truly understood the risks and options before you agreed to the treatment.

Florida Medical Malpractice Options After Lack of Informed Consent

As mentioned above, even if you signed a consent form, you might still have legal options in Florida if you believe you weren’t properly informed about a medical procedure. Here’s what you need to know:

There’s a deadline, called a statute of limitations, to file a medical malpractice claim in Florida. In most cases, it’s two years from the date you were injured.

Most medical malpractice claims are settled out of court through negotiations with the doctor’s insurance company. This means you come to a financial agreement to avoid going to trial.

If you can’t reach a fair settlement with the insurance company, you can discuss starting a lawsuit with a Miami medical malpractice lawyer.

If your case is successful, you might be compensated for:

  • Medical bills related to the malpractice
  • Lost wages due to your injury or illness
  • Pain and suffering you endured
  • Wrongful death of a loved one (if applicable)

Florida Medical Malpractice? Get Help From Experienced Miami Attorneys

It is normal to have a lot of questions about how to navigate the medical malpractice legal process. You do not have to take on healthcare provider’s insurance companies alone. We at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, ensure that patients will receive the best legal representation. 

We understand these cases can be complicated, so we dedicate the time, resources, and personalized attention you deserve. Our experienced team has secured over $1 billion in verdicts and settlements across all our practice areas, and we’re ready to fight for you.

We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t pay anything upfront, regardless of your financial situation. If you believe you have been a victim of medical malpractice in Florida, contact our Miami medical malpractice attorneys for a free consultation. Call us at 305-371-2692.