Before you undergo any surgical procedure, it is very important that you fully understand what you are getting into. Doctors have a duty to not only provide their patients with an acceptable level of care, but also to fill them in on all the important details of a procedure prior to issuing treatment.
In fact, a doctor is legally obligated to explain any treatment that he or she is planning to initiate. This legal obligation is known as getting "informed consent" from a patient.
Basically, your doctor should tell you about your medical condition, the kinds of treatments available, the potential risks of each type of treatment and an explanation of the possible outcomes of your proposed treatment. The doctor should also let you know what the prognosis is for not receiving treatment.
And the information that you are given must be presented fully, clearly, and in a manner that you can comprehend. The purpose of informed consent is to provide you with the knowledge you need to make the best decisions possible about your healthcare.
Frequently, a hospital or healthcare facility will require patients to sign consent forms that indicate they understand the treatment being issued. But if a doctor should treat you in a non-emergency situation without getting informed consent, he or she could be charged with gross negligence or some other criminal offense.
Additionally, if a doctor fails to get your informed consent prior to performing a surgery or other form of treatment, you may have the basis of a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you are interested in pursuing a civil action against the physician or hospital responsible, you can contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can assess your case and offer recommendations on how to pursue compensation for any damages you suffered.