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Understanding Lack of Informed Consent Claims in Florida Medical Malpractice Cases

Informed consent is a critical component of the patient-doctor relationship. Among other things, informed consent emphasizes transparency and communication. It also represents a respect for the autonomy of the patient. As in many jurisdictions, the concept of informed consent plays an important role in Florida in medical malpractice cases. 

The term “informed consent” means the process whereby a medical professional provides a patient with all pertinent information regarding their medical situation, the proposed treatment or procedure, the potential risks and benefits of such treatment or procedure, and alternative options that might be available to the patient. Once this information has been communicated to the patient or his or her representative, he or she is then empowered to make a voluntary and knowledgeable decision about healthcare.

While some situations, such as emergencies or legally required treatments, do not require informed consent, in most situations, healthcare professionals have an obligation to obtain a patient’s consent for treatment. Failure to do so may result in the hospital or medical professional being held liable for damages in medical malpractice litigation.  

Legal Basis for Lack of Informed Consent Claims in Florida

In Florida, the doctrine of informed consent is based in both statutory and common law. Section 766.103 of the Florida Statutes codifies the patient’s right to informed consent.  According to this law, certain medical professionals have an obligation to give patients information about the proposed treatment, its risks and benefits, and any available alternatives. The failure to obtain informed consent can lead to legal consequences, especially if the patient suffers harm that could have been avoided with proper disclosure. The medical professionals covered by this statute include physicians, osteopathic physicians, chiropractic physicians, podiatric physicians, dentists, advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants, among others. 

The following elements must be satisfied to establish a valid lack of informed consent claim in Florida:

  • Duty to Disclose: Medical professionals must disclose information that a reasonable person would want to know to make an informed decision. This includes details about the nature of the treatment, potential risks, and alternative options.
  • Acknowledgment of Understanding by the Patient: The patient must demonstrate a clear understanding of the information provided. The medical professional should ensure that the patient is capable of comprehending the details, considering factors such as the patient’s mental capacity and language proficiency.
  • Voluntariness: Consent must be given voluntarily without coercion or undue influence. If a patient feels pressured or forced into a decision, the consent may be deemed invalid.
  • Scope of Consent: The patient’s consent is limited to the specific treatment or procedure discussed. Deviating from the agreed-upon scope without obtaining additional consent may lead to legal consequences.

In Florida, informed consent is a vital aspect of medical practice, and healthcare providers must adhere to statutory requirements and common law principles. Patients have a right to be fully informed about their medical care, and deviations from this obligation can have legal ramifications. In the context of medical malpractice, a failure to obtain informed consent can be a basis for legal action and they may pursue a claim against the healthcare provider. 

Contact HPS

Time is of the essence if you think you or a loved one has experienced this type of situation. Lack of consent medical malpractice cases can be complex, and seeking legal advice early is essential to preserving your rights. There is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit, and the information-gathering process can be time-consuming and is considered part of that timeframe. For a free and confidential legal consultation, contact a Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorney or Orlando medical malpractice lawyer online or call us at 1-800-693-4465.