When a medical procedure goes wrong, it can cause devastation and untold negative effects. Most people understand that all medical procedures carry a certain level of risk. In most cases, the risk of something going wrong outweighs the potential benefit of the procedure. To gain a better understanding of the risk of a medical procedure and your options when things go wrong, read on.
Understanding the Risks of a Procedure
When you first learn of the need for a medical procedure, you may be told something about the potential for something to go wrong. This is known as informed consent. For example, if your surgery involves being put to sleep under anesthesia, you may assume that the procedure carries at least some risk. Most people think that it is up to the doctor to fully explain the risks and all potential negative outcomes of a procedure.
You might be surprised to find that that is not the case, however. Doctors are only required to inform patients of the most common or serious risks of a given procedure. It is up to each patient to do the rest. Since most people are not trained in medicine, it can be difficult to fully understand the chances for something bad to happen during a procedure, even after hours of internet research. If you question your doctor more closely about the risks, you might encounter vague or short responses.
What Would Someone Else Do?
Since there are no concrete provisions for a doctor to detail all possible side effects and negative outcomes of a procedure, what happens when problems arise? Many victims of medical malpractice insist that they would never have agreed to the procedure had they known about the true risks. That response is just one of the two available factors that might determine the doctor's level of liability. The courts will ask one of these two questions about a medical malpractice case:
1. Would other patients have decided against the procedure if they had known the risks?
2. Would other competent doctors have informed the patient of the risk?
You should understand that if your procedure occurred in connection with an emergency, there is no requirement for the doctor to disclose risks of any kind.
The above factors are just part of a medical malpractice case. Medical malpractice can be extremely complicated. The fact that doctors have insurance coverage for claims means both that there are financial remedies and that the case will be difficult to win. Speak to a medical malpractice law office like Shaevitz Shaevitz & Kotzamanis to learn more.