Informed consent involves a patient being given a description of a procedure and why it's being recommended. It involves a patient being advised of the known benefits of having a certain procedure performed versus not doing anything at all.
As part of informed consent, a patient should be advised of who's performing a procedure and what the side effects of going forward with it are. It's the role of the medical provider procuring informed consent to advise the patient that he or she can discontinue the procedure at any point as well.
While informed consent doesn't have to be procured prior to an emergency medical procedure being performed, it is expected that a doctor do whatever is possible to obtain informed consent from a parent or close relative if the patient is unable to give it.
If a patient is unconscious and no next of kin is available to provide consent, then a doctor may make a unilateral decision to move forward with a life-saving procedure on a patient.
One of the most litigated aspects regarding informed consent centers around whether enough information was provided for a patient to make a decision, who is required to procure it and who is able to give it.
If a doctor only advises a patient of the benefits of a procedure and not the risks, then it's possible for a doctor to be held liable for negligence.
On the same token, it's the ultimate responsibility of the person actually performing the medical procedure, such as the doctor, to obtain it. A nurse can witness an informed consent document including acknowledging that the patient was told of the risks and understood them. However, it's the doctor's responsibility to be there to relay the information and answer questions.
Furthermore, it's the responsibility of the doctor to ensure that the individual giving the consent is over 18 and competent to do so. They must have an intellectual capacity to understood what they're being told.
Patients with psychiatric issues are also allowed to give informed consent for their care, provided that they haven't been deprived of their right to do so by a judge.
If your medical provider failed to adequately procure your informed consent for a procedure and your health declined as a result, then a Tucson lawyer can provide guidance in your case.
Source: RN Central, "Do you understand 'informed consent?'," Jennifer Olin, accessed Dec. 22, 2017