Advocating for the Rights of Florida Patients to Make Decisions
Your doctor is your advisor who is supposed to help you make important health care decisions. However, ultimately you have the right to make decisions about what you do with your own body and health, which may counter your doctor’s advice. Florida’s Patient’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities protects this fundamental right to control your body.
Brais Law Firm is a well-respected medical malpractice and personal injury law firm, based in Miami and with offices in Houston and Boston. Our Miami medical negligence lawyers have a combined 75 years of experience protecting the rights of patients who have suffered harm at the hands of health care professionals. Read more on our Results page.
Your doctor must obtain your informed consent before performing any medical procedure on you, which includes telling you about the risks involved and any alternatives that might be available. Your doctor and the hospital may be held liable for failure to fully disclose relevant information, potential risks and other reasonable medical options.
Florida Law Governing Informed Consent
Chapter 765 of the Florida Statutes defines “informed consent” as:
“Consent voluntarily given by a person after a sufficient explanation and disclosure of the subject matter involved to enable that person to have a general understanding of the treatment or procedure and the medically acceptable alternatives, including the substantial risks and hazards inherent in the proposed treatment or procedures, and to make a knowing health care decision without coercion or undue influence.”
In most cases, the person giving informed consent is the patient. However, there are situations in which another person is responsible for communicating with doctors and making decisions on behalf of the patient.
Parents have the right to make health care decisions for their children with some exceptions, such as when a child’s health is placed in jeopardy by a parent’s decision.
Also, a designated surrogate may be chosen to make decisions for an incapacitated patient. If the incapacitated patient does not have an advanced directive, the closest relative may step in to give consent — usually a spouse, a parent, a child or a sibling.
In addition, doctors may need to make immediate decisions during an emergency or while performing surgery. For example, doctors might make a split-second decision to provide a blood transfusion to a patient who is rushed to the emergency room unconscious and at risk of dying. Likewise, a surgeon may encounter an unexpected life-threatening condition during the course of a medical procedure and must rely upon his or her own judgment to save the patient’s life.
Failure to Obtain Informed Consent
If your doctor failed to inform you about the procedure and possible harm you might suffer, you may have the right to damages for:
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Medical treatment to correct the error
- Civil rights complaint
- Pain and suffering
- Financial losses
Recover Damages Associated with Lack of Informed Consent
Brais Law Firm advocates for patients in Florida. We offer you a free case assessment so you can learn whether you have a valid medical malpractice claim before making a decision to formally proceed forward with a lawsuit. Under our contingency fee arrangement, you do not owe us lawyers’ fees until we recover compensation for you.