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Medical malpractice: the importance of informed consent

Preparing to receive medical treatment in Michigan can be scary. Some treatments are relatively minor, but others can have serious side effects and risks associated with them that can prove quite dangerous. For this reason it is imperative that patients are fully informed before making a healthcare decision that they believe is in their best interests.

This is the purpose of the requirement for medical professionals to obtain informed consent prior to engaging in medical treatment. In order for informed consent to be valid, a doctor must provide a patient with a significant amount of information that is clear, understandable and thorough. To start, a doctor must describe the patient’s diagnosis and the prognosis if it goes untreated. Then, he or she must discuss the type of treatment being proposed as well as its intended purpose. Alternative treatment options must also be discussed, regardless of their likelihood of success or cost. The risks of these treatment options must also be detailed, but so too should the potential benefits.

Of course, there are some instances when informed consent is not needed, such as in emergency situations or when medical treatment is unnecessary. However, but understanding informed consent, an individual can better tell when his or her doctor has acted inappropriately.

Medical professionals who fail to obtain informed consent, as well as those who act beyond the scope of informed consent, can leave patients seriously injured. These patients, since they did not agree to the treatment in questions, are taken by surprise when they are left with these injuries. This is unacceptable, especially since these individuals can be left with significant emotional, physical and financial damages. To find accountability and potentially recover compensation, these individuals may want to consider pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

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Goethel Engelhardt, PLLC

3049 Miller Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

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