Ulster County Medical Malpractice Attorneys Video Frequently Asked Questions
Is it medical malpractice if my doctor did not inform me of the possible outcome or risks?
Doctors have an obligation… Doctors, nurses, hospitals… have an obligation to ensure that the patient understands the benefits, the risks and the alternatives to any medical treatment. In other words, if you’re going to take this antibiotic, it may cure your infection, but you may become deaf.
That’s the kind of thing that the patient needs to be told ahead of time, and if they are not given an accurate picture of the benefits, risks and alternatives they are not given a proper informed consent. And that’s what the law requires and there’s a special statute on it.
To ensure that a patient gets proper informed consent, doctors, typically will have you sign some papers, which is the fist step. Besides signing a piece of paper saying I’ve been told these benefits, you need to make sure that the patient truly understands what the benefit of having surgery or treatment is, what the risks… and what are the alternative.
Often times, patients aren’t given alternatives, such as, do nothing. Sometimes things can get better, and sometimes they don’t. But those are the three requirements: benefit, risk and alternatives to either surgery, treatment, physical therapy or whatever the medical profession determines. Those are the criteria in New York State, to have the benefit, risk and alternative.
Basically, if you think this has happened to you, you can come to our office and have a consultation and we’ll give you our opinion as to what we think. Again, we will run it by an expert to confirm whether or not there was a deviation as a result of that.