Is the mere fact that you sign a consent form so that the doctor can perform surgery to get you better be a tool for the doctor to escape any liability? Does it give the doctor the legal ability to commit medical malpractice or negligence during the course of surgery?
Why do You have to Sign a Consent Form?
When you sign a consent form, it simply gives the doctor permission to go ahead and perform the surgery procedure that he has recommended. It does not give him permission to be careless, and it does not give him permission to violate the basic standards of medical care.
Now, if you suffer significant injury because of that surgery, the doctor cannot escape blame just because you have signed the consent form. The form is only meant for giving permission to do the surgery, and no further meaning can be attached to it. It is not a free pass for committing medical malpractice or being negligent.
Risks Involved in the Surgical Procedure
Even though we recognize that there are inherent risks associated with every type of surgical procedure, what we are claiming is that in the particular surgery certain things should not have occurred. What has occurred is not a known, recognized, and accepted risk. Whatever happened should have been detected and addressed during the course of the surgery. Since it was not, the patient has suffered a significant injury.
Hence, the mere fact that you sign the consent form before the doctor goes ahead and does the surgery, does not give the doctor a license or ability to go ahead and do whatever he wants or be careless during the course of the procedure. Doctors will certainly not want to mess up a surgery intentionally. That would be medical catastrophe for that hospital and those doctors. In fact, criminal charges would be arranged.
However, what will happen is that while doing the surgery, the doctor may not recognize that he has caused an injury to the patient. When the patient is sent home, he will develop significant problems, which he might not be recognized as being significant.
The doctor or hospital staff might not even consider the possibility that something might have gone wrong during the surgery. This is where departure from fantastic medical practice arises. Often times it is not the mere fact that the injury happens during the course of surgery, but rather it is often the failure to recognize it afterwards that rises to the level of departure from salient and accepted medical care.
Signing a Consent Form does not Offer Total Protection to the Doctor or the Hospital
Many patients feel that since they have signed the consent form, they may not be able to file a medical malpractice case against the surgeon who has caused them harm. However, the form is only meant for giving permission to the doctor to perform the surgery and it lists the risks involved with that particular surgical procedure. If the patient suffers injuries and harm that are not included in the risks then there could be a valid medical malpractice case. The consent form signed by the patient cannot be used by the doctor to escape liability of violating the basic standards of medical care.