Maryland Court Discusses Liability for Failure to Obtain Informed Consent

While many people undergo surgery without any complications, there are risks associated with most procedures, and problems that arise during what seems like a routine procedure can result in lifelong impairment. To ensure that their patients adequately understand the potential issues that they could face, doctors have an obligation to advise patients of the potential consequences of surgery prior to getting their permission to proceed. If they fail to do so, they may be liable for the failure to obtain informed consent, as demonstrated in a recent opinion issued in a Maryland medical malpractice case. If you suffered harm due to the negligence of a doctor, it is smart to talk to a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer about your potential claims.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiffs’ infant son underwent a routine tonsil removal and bilateral implantation of tubes in his ears. During the surgery, the infant went into cardiac arrest and suffered a lack of oxygen to the brain, causing him to suffer permanent brain damage. The plaintiffs subsequently instituted a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, the doctors who performed the surgery, pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Allegedly, they asserted, in part, a lack of informed consent claim in which they alleged that the defendants failed to disclose the material consequences and risks associated with the surgery in consideration of the fact that the infant had sickle cell anemia and reactive airway disease. The court subsequently set forth findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Liability for Failure to Obtain Informed Consent

With regard to the lack of informed consent claim, the court explained that, in Maryland, performing a medical procedure without first obtaining the informed consent of the patient is grounds for pursuing a negligent based action that is separate from a medical malpractice claim.

The doctrine of informed consent imposes a duty on a doctor to explain a procedure and any material dangers or risks associated with the procedure prior to performing it, so as to allow the patient to make an informed and intelligent decision about whether to undergo such care.

The duty to obtain a patient’s informed consent arises because the patient is not trained in medical science and, as such, relies solely on the skill and knowledge of the doctor for the information upon which they make their decision. In the subject case, the court ultimately found that the plaintiffs failed to set forth adequate evidence that the defendants failed to obtain their informed consent. As such, that claim failed.

Talk to a Maryland Attorney Today

Patients have the right to be fully informed of the potential risks of a course of care, and if they are not, they may be able to pursue claims for the failure to obtain their informed consent. If you suffered harm due to your doctor’s negligence, you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible. The dedicated Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group are adept at helping people harmed by medical negligence seek justice for their losses, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us through our online form or by calling us at (410) 889-1850 to set up a conference.

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