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.
In the subject case, the defendant met his burden of proof with regard to the informed consent claim by proving that he informed the plaintiff of the possible risks associated with the surgery, and she confirmed she understood those risks and provided written consent to undergo the procedure. The court was not persuaded by the plaintiff’s argument that the defendant failed to advise her of his qualifications, finding that it did not qualify as failure to obtain informed consent. As the plaintiff failed to offer any other proof of her assertions, the ruling of the trial court was affirmed.
Consult a Knowledgeable Syracuse Attorney
Generally, patients must choose whether the benefits associated with a procedure outweigh the potential for harm, which requires a thorough disclosure of the associated risks from the doctor performing the surgery. If you sustained harm due to a physician’s failure to obtain your informed consent, it is prudent to speak to a lawyer about your possible claims. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers, our knowledgeable medical malpractice attorneys can inform you of your options and help you to pursue the best legal result available under the facts of your case. You can contact us via our online form or at 315-479-9000 to set up a conference.