Most treatment options are helpful but present risks of adverse side effects. To ensure that a patient is making an intelligent decision regarding whether to proceed with surgery, then a doctor must advise the patient of the hazards of the procedure and treatment alternatives. As such, doctors that operate on people absent informed consent may be deemed liable for any harm suffered, regardless of whether it is an expected result. In a recent New York opinion, a court discussed what must be proved by the plaintiff to recover under a lack of informed consent claim. If you were injured by your doctor’s failure to properly advise you of the potential consequences of a procedure, it is in your best interest to speak to a Syracuse surgical malpractice attorney to determine whether you may be able to recover damages.
The Plaintiff’s Care
It is alleged that the plaintiff underwent a cervical fusion after she sustained injuries in a collision. The defendant doctor performed the surgery. The plaintiff was then involved in a second car accident, after which she experienced increased neck pain. She underwent a second procedure, which was also performed by the defendant, after which she developed myelomalacia. She then filed a lawsuit against the defendant asserting medical negligence and lack of informed consent claims. The defendant moved for summary judgment, and the court granted his motion, after which the plaintiff appealed.
Lack of Informed Consent Claims Under New York Law
Under New York law, a plaintiff asserting a medical malpractice claim ascending out of the defendant’s failure to obtain the plaintiff’s informed consent must first establish that the defendant neglected to advise the plaintiff of the benefits, risks, and alternatives to the treatment and that a reasonable doctor would have provided such information. The plaintiff also has to prove that a reasonable person in the plaintiff’s position would have declined to undergo the treatment if provided with full disclosure of the associated risks. Continue reading