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A brief introduction to informed consent

Many Massachusetts physicians and other medical professionals strive to always educate their patients about their own medical conditions and treatments in order to promote awareness and empowerment. Others, however, fail to properly inform patients about the potential risks and side effects associated with particular treatments and/or procedures. Not only can a lack of informed consent compromise patient health and safety but it can also be cause for serious medical malpractice claims in some cases. discusses the various components of informed consent and related malpractice cases, and explains that physicians can fail to offer full disclosure to patients about their medical care and treatment. Informed consent should occur at all stages of medical care, and involve educating the patient of all material risks, as well as alternative treatments and the patient’s right of informed refusal.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons goes on to explain that informed consent revolves around a physician discussing treatment risks with a patient in order to receive permission to perform a procedure. Informed consent is intended to enable patients to take an active and empowered role in their medical treatment. Consequently, a lack of informed consent can result in a patient feeling misinformed and even violated in some cases.

Medical malpractice cases revolving around a lack of informed consent typically involve claims that the physician in question failed to disclose material risks associated with a particular procedure and/or that the patient would have refused the procedure if he or she knew about the risks. Consequently, informed consent cases do not necessarily involve proving negligence or illustrating that a procedure was performed incorrectly. 

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