When you’re undergoing serious treatment such as surgery, most of the time you will be asked to sign an “Informed Consent Form” or the like. A lot of people think that this protects doctors and hospitals from medical malpractice suits.
Of course, the particular wording of what you sign always matters, and your attorney can review the paperwork for you and help you decipher what you’ve really agreed to.
The doctor’s responsibilities don’t end with your signature. There are still factors that he needs to consider before making a decision on what to do to your body. For example, there needs to be assurance in his professional opinion that you are in proper condition to be operated on. This is why a lot of times you hear instances where the doctor asked a patient to “drop weight” or “stop smoking” before he goes on to the next step. This is not only for your protection, but for his own. You also need to be of sound mind when making agreements, not under conditions where your mind is altered or distracted. The doctor should also clearly explain the risks or your procedure, as well as offer time for questions.
It’s also important to keep in mind that if you don’t sign anything, and end up harmed, the grounds for a lawsuit are in no way automatic. In certain situations, there is what’s called “Implied Consent”. If an emergency occurs where you are unconscious or at risk for harming yourself, there may not be time or ability for such paperwork. Sometimes medical professionals must act quickly in order to save your life or otherwise protect you.
If you are living in Chicago and ever have doubts about a medical procedure that you’ve undergone, you should research the personal injury law firms in the city and contact a lawyer to discuss the details of your case. It’s important to know your rights, and your attorney can help you understand them. Remember to bring any documents and other proof pertaining to your case.