Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice - Informed Consent
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Sometimes a medical malpractice case raises questions as to the injured patient's understanding of the risks involved with a surgical procedure or course of treatment. In Pennsylvania, a physician must obtain the patient's informed consent prior to performing surgery or certain other procedures. The patient must be given a description of the procedure, as well as its risks and alternatives. If a physician performs a procedure without a patient's informed consent, the physician is liable for all injuries caused by the procedure if the information not provided would have played a role in the patient's decision to undergo treatment. If you believe that your medical malpractice claim involves issues of informed consent, contact the Pittsburgh medical malpractice attorneys at Biancheria & Maliver.
Recent legislative amendments to Pennsylvania's Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act (MCARE) directly address the question of informed consent: under what circumstances must a physician give a patient specific information about the risks inherent in a given procedure?
Although as a practical matter a doctor should always disclose the known risks of any proposed course of treatment, there are five particular situations under which MCARE requires the patient's informed consent:
- Chemotherapy or radiation treatment
- Blood transfusions
- The insertion of any device under the skin
- Any experimental medication or medical device
Additionally, MCARE provides that a doctor violates the duty to obtain the patient's informed consent if the doctor mischaracterizes his or her credentials or experience with respect to the proposed treatment or surgical procedure.