Informed consent is a legally-required process in Texas where a doctor or surgeon obtains permission from a patient to provide a treatment or perform a surgery or procedure.
The “informed” part comes in with the required physician explanation of the risks of the proposed treatment or procedure, risks of alternative treatments, and risks of doing nothing. In other words, a patient can’t really be informed unless the physician provides all of the relevant facts.
The informed consent process is so important that Texas law requires the doctor to do it without delegating it to a nurse or other health care professional. That doesn’t mean that many physicians don’t do that anyway. Just remember, it’s your right to have your questions answered by your doctor or surgeon before you give your consent or permission to non-emergency treatment or surgery.
I recently spent some time questioning a plastic surgeon about the concept of known risks in a deposition. On behalf of my client, I sued this plastic surgeon in a Harris County, Houston, Texas medical malpractice case. You might find it helpful to know what we agreed to during this plastic surgeon’s deposition:
• Known risks are those complications that can occur during a treatment or surgery even with proper care.
• Other complications or injuries can occur because of sub-standard or negligent conduct by the physician or surgeon.
• An informed consent form covers known risks.
• An informed consent form isn’t intended to excuse negligence or care that violates the standard of care.