If you think back to an instance in which doctors last performed a treatment or medical procedure on you, then you likely remember them telling you about what they suggested — and the pros and cons associated with the different options. Doctors refer to this process as “consenting” a patient.
Your medical provider must go through this process before rendering virtually any treatment. Otherwise, they risk exposing themselves to legal liability.
Who can give consent for a medical procedure?
Parents, guardians or health care proxies must consent for care on behalf of minors or an incapacitated individual, but most adult patients give consent themselves.
There are exceptions, of course, to the rules surrounding consent. In an emergency, for example, there may be no time to get a patient’s consent or speak to their family or medical power of attorney.
What are the medical consenting requirements?
Both health care facility rules and law require any medical provider, such as a mental health therapist, a surgeon or dentist, to get consent from a patient before seeing them. Many analysts argue that the treatment process begins once they first consult with you. If not then, then most of these regulations definitively require your medical provider to get your consent before performing any imaging, testing or more invasive procedures.
What’s critical about the consenting process is that your medical provider adequately informs you about your condition, the variety of treatment options available to you and any risks associated with the treatment in clear, understandable language. The purpose of this process is for you to have enough information to make an informed choice about your options.
Doctors who fail to consent their patients
Medical providers expose themselves to potential legal liability if they fail to gain a patient’s consent before performing a procedure. A patient may sue them for civil damages if they suffer harm due to their unauthorized actions. Medical providers may also face criminal charges, such as battery, when they touch a patient without informed consent.
New Mexico medical providers must generally secure your verbal consent and have you sign a written disclosure. A medical malpractice attorney here in Albuquerque could review your records to make sure that it fully disclosed your treatment options and advise you of your rights if it didn’t.