Typically, the treatments offered for chronic back pain carry some degree of risk. While the benefits of such care often exceed the potential side effects, a patient must be adequately advised of the complications that may arise following a treatment in order to make a fully educated decision. If a doctor fails to obtain a patient’s informed consent before administering care and the patient suffers harm as a result of the omission, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice. Recently, in a ruling issued in a New York surgical malpractice case, the court explained what evidence a plaintiff must offer to sustain a lack of informed consent claim. If you were harmed by a physician’s failure to advise you of the risks associated with a procedure, you may be owed damages, and you should speak to a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
The Plaintiff’s Care
It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered from chronic back pain. She sought treatment from the defendant, who recommended that she undergo the surgical implantation of a paddle lead stimulator in her spine to alleviate her symptoms. The defendant performed the procedure, but it did not diminish the plaintiff’s pain; instead, her symptoms increased after the surgery.
It is reported that the plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant asserting claims of medical malpractice and lack of informed consent. The defendant moved for summary judgment on both claims. The court initially granted the motion as to the medical malpractice claim but denied it as to the lack of informed consent claim. Following additional discovery, the defendant renewed his motion to dismiss the lack of informed consent claim. The court granted his motion, and the plaintiff appealed.
Evidence Needed to Support a Lack of Informed Consent Claim
Under New York law, a plaintiff seeking damages for lack of informed consent must show that the defendant failed to disclose reasonable alternatives to the treatment and the reasonably foreseeable risks associated with the treatment, which a reasonable practitioner would have disclosed in a similar situation.
Further, the plaintiff must show that a reasonably prudent individual in their position would not have undergone the procedure if they were adequately informed of the risks and that their lack of informed consent proximately caused their harm. In the subject case, the appellate court found that the plaintiff failed to show that the lack of informed consent was the cause of the adverse effects she experienced following the procedure. Thus, it affirmed the trial court’s ruling.
Confer with a Seasoned Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyer
A patient has the right to be fully apprised of the potential side effects of a proposed treatment, and if a doctor infringes on that right, the patient may be able to pursue a lack of informed consent claim. If you suffered losses due to a physician’s failure to inform you of the risks associated with your care, you should confer with an attorney regarding your potential claims. The seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice lawyers of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at proving that negligent healthcare providers should be held accountable for the losses they cause, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us through our form online or by calling us at 315-479-9000 to set up a meeting.