A young man with many freckled on his face looks slightly confused and worried.

Ever wonder if those pesky medical forms you sign before surgery hold up in court? You’re not alone. 

Let’s say you recently underwent a medical procedure that didn’t go as planned. Before the operation, you vaguely remember someone asking you to sign something.

It was probably an informed consent form. You were told that it was mandatory and in order to have surgery, you’d have to sign it. Like most human beings in your situation, you sign without reading every minute detail. You trust your doctor, you’re sure they have your best interests at heart, and you desperately need this surgery to get better. 

Sadly, something went wrong. Neither the doctor or hospital wants to take responsibility. You threaten to sue and guess what appears seemingly out of nowhere? That pesky liability waiver with your messy signature staring back at you.

Can you still pursue legal action or is the end of the story? Keep reading to find out!

A man with a ring on his finger signs a medical form.

So WHAT Is An Informed Consent Form?

An informed consent form is a medical document that indicates your consent to undergo a medical procedure. It also informs you of your privacy rights and protects healthcare professionals from legal action if death or injury occurs.

Hold on. So you’re saying I can’t sue my doctor even though they were careless and injured me?

Sounds a bit callous, huh? 

We know it’s frustrating to think that a doctor can literally get away with murder just because of a signature. The good news is, that’s not the case! You still have legal rights and we’re here to fill you in on the details.

Situations Where You Can Still Sue

There are scenarios where a signed form just isn’t going to hold up in court, which is good news for you. Let’s discuss what situations nullify this (sometimes) pesky document.

Someone Was Negligent

We’ve all heard those horror stories where a doctor performed surgery on the wrong body part or anesthesia didn’t kick in. Or how about when a doctor leaves a surgical instrument inside of a patient’s abdomen? In situations like this, it’s pretty obvious that the doctor was negligent. 

But how does this relate to signing a medical consent form?

Well, it’s simple. If you can prove that your healthcare provider was grossly negligent during a medical procedure, then the form can be thrown out. The whole purpose of a surgery consent form is to make sure you’re aware of possible risks, and it’s also there to protect doctors. But we’re talking about protecting doctors that make the right decisions, yet a patient still dies or is injured by no fault of the doctor. Not the ones that are negligent! 

Your Doctor Didn’t Follow Medical Protocol

Healthcare professionals are guided by what’s considered the standard of care. Basically, there are guidelines that the medical profession deems reasonable for certain medical conditions and diseases. For instance, the standard of care for a cancer patient may involve surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.

Now, let’s assume that during surgery, your doctor strays from normal practices and opts to try out a new technique he heard about. And unfortunately for you, it makes things worse.  In cases like this, the surgery consent form holds no weight. You are entitled to sue the doctor for turning you into a guinea pig without your consent. 

You Weren’t Given The Medical Facts

Before you go into a procedure, it’s your right to be made fully aware of not only the benefits but the risks too. Now let’s jog your memory a bit, do you remember if the following things occurred prior to your procedure?

► Did the hospital staff fully inform you of the dangers involved in this procedure? 

► Did your doctor try to minimize the risks or even neglect to mention them?

► Was your physician’s main concern cutting you open rather than hearing your worries and concerns?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you may have grounds to sue. 

A doctor looks at a computer screen to monitor a patient's condition during surgery.

Final Thoughts 

We hope this post was able to give you a little sigh of relief. That even though you signed an informed consent form before surgery, you still have legal rights. Medical malpractice and negligence are completely unacceptable and thankfully the court system agrees.

With that said, what do you do next?

The first step is always to get legal counsel. Simply get in touch with a medical malpractice lawyer (over here!) We’ll untangle this mess, do what we can to help you move on, and fight on your behalf for the compensation you deserve.