Most Tennesseans trust their doctors. They turn to these highly educated and trained professionals for quick and accurate diagnoses of medical conditions, as well as effective treatment. Yet, far too often medical professionals fail to live up to this responsibility, thereby putting innocent individuals at risk of being seriously injured, developing a worsened medical condition or dying. When this occurs, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be justified.
One way that medical malpractice can manifest is through treatment that goes beyond the scope of informed consent. Prior to proceeding with a course of treatment, a doctor must explain the diagnosis to the patient in clear and easily understandable terms. Then, the medical professional must explain each available course of treatment, including its risks and benefits. A doctor should also inform the patient of the risks of not seeking treatment. Only after a patient has received this information can he or she adequately consent to a course of treatment.
Yet, sometimes while providing agreed upon treatment, doctors and nurses go beyond that authorization. A medical professional who does so and causes harm to a patient may be held liable. This unauthorized treatment also occurs when no informed consent is given for the initial treatment. To succeed on a medical malpractice claim based on unauthorized treatment, an injured patient must show that he or she would have opted out of the treatment if he or she had been fully informed of its associated risks and benefits.
Medical malpractice claims, when successful, can provide victims with a sense of justice. It can also lead to the recovery of compensation for damages suffered, which may include medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. These cases are often fraught with legal complexities, though, which is why those who have been injured while receiving medical care should make sure they understand all their legal options before proceeding.