Under Maryland law, people who are not adequately advised of the risks associated with a procedure may be able to seek compensation via informed consent claims. In a recent opinion issued in a lack of informed consent case, the court discussed what evidence a plaintiff must produce to show that they suffered harm other than what was disclosed as a potential risk or that they could not provide valid consent. If your doctor failed to inform you of the risks of a procedure and you suffered harm as a result, you should meet with a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to determine your options for seeking damages.
Procedural and Factual History
It is reported that the plaintiff was diagnosed with a relapse of Grave’s disease and underwent thyroidectomy surgery at the defendant’s medical center in October 2016 after alternative treatments failed. Following the surgery, the plaintiff claimed to have suffered injuries allegedly caused by the procedure. he filed a pro se lawsuit, alleging that he was not properly informed about the risks associated with the surgery, specifically, the risks to his laryngeal nerve, vocal cord, and parathyroid glands.
Allegedly, the plaintiff also alleged medical malpractice during the surgery and post-operative care. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on the medical malpractice claim, and the court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant. A bench trial was conducted to address the remaining informed consent claim.
Demonstrating Lack of Informed Consent
During the trial, the plaintiff testified on his own behalf but did not present any other witnesses. After the plaintiff’s case, the defendant moved for judgment on partial findings. In its defense, the defendant called medical professionals who had consulted with the plaintiff before his surgery. The court reserved judgment on the motion. Following the trial, the defendant submitted its proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, while the plaintiff did not submit a counterproposal.
Ultimately, the court determined that the plaintiff had failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that he lacked informed consent for the thyroidectomy. The court noted that the defendant’s medical team regularly assessed the plaintiff’s decision-making capacity and discussed the nature of the surgery, its risks and benefits, and alternative treatment options.
These discussions were part of the informed consent process and were documented in the medical records. The court also considered the consent form signed by the plaintiff, which included information about the risks of the surgery.
In light of the evidence presented, the court found that the plaintiff had not shown that there was an undisclosed material risk of the surgery or that he was incapable of providing informed consent. Consequently, the court entered judgment in favor of the defendant.
Confer with a Skilled Maryland Attorney
Doctors have a duty to advise patients of the risks of their procedure, and if they do not and a plaintiff suffers harm as a result, it may be grounds for pursuing civil claims. The skilled Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at Arfaa Law Group can assess the facts of your case and inform you of what claims you may be able to pursue. To set up a meeting, you can contact us through our online form or by calling (410) 889-1850.