Maryland Court Discusses Grounds for Lack of Informed Consent Claims

Physicians have a duty to provide patients with competent medical care, which includes advising a patient of his or her individual health risks as well as the risks and benefits of any potential tests or treatment. As shown in a recent Maryland case, if a doctor fails to properly inform a patient of available diagnostic tests and treatment options, and the patient’s health is adversely impacted as a result, it may be grounds for a lack of informed consent claim. If you were harmed by your doctor’s failure to advise you of your testing and treatment options, you should speak to an experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff presented to the defendant urologist in 2014 with complaints of urine in his blood. The defendant did not conduct any diagnostic tests to assess the plaintiff’s symptoms. Approximately a year later, the plaintiff was diagnosed with bladder cancer and kidney cancer. He then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant setting forth claims of medical negligence and lack of informed consent, due to the defendant’s failure to advise the plaintiff of available tests or recommend that he undergo diagnostic testing.

Allegedly, prior to trial, the defendant filed numerous motions in limine asking the court to preclude the plaintiff from introducing evidence at trial, including a motion arguing that the plaintiff should not be able to present his lack of informed consent claim, arguing that the failure to recommend tests is not grounds for an informed consent claim.

Grounds for a Lack of Informed Consent Claim in Maryland

On review, the court noted that the defendant was not seeking to limit the evidence produced by the plaintiff but was, in fact, trying to preclude an entire claim, which was not appropriate via a motion in limine. Additionally, the court held that regardless of the fact that the defendant’s motion was improper and untimely, it would still be denied on the merits if it was presented to the court in a proper manner.

Specifically, the court noted that while it was true that an informed consent claim must relate to some form of treatment, the essence of an informed consent claim is the failure to provide a patient with the information that is material to a decision whether to undergo treatment. The court clarified, however, that an affirmative physical invasion is not required to support a lack of informed consent claim, as it involves the provider’s duty to provide information rather than the engagement in a physical act. As such, the court denied the defendant’s motion, finding that the issue of whether the defendant failed to provide the information to the plaintiff that he needed to make an informed decision was a question for the jury.

Speak to a Trusted Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you were harmed by your doctor’s failure to fully advise you of your treatment and testing options, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible regarding your rights. The trusted Maryland medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group possess the skills and resources needed to help people harmed by inadequate medical care seek compensation. If you engage our services, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. You can contact us via our online form or by calling (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.

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