As a patient in New Mexico, the choice to receive a particular medical treatment is entirely in your hands. Doctors are required by law to advise you about the procedure, its benefits and any anticipated side effects. This is called informed consent. At Curtis and Lucero, we represent clients who have not received the information they need to make a knowledgeable decision from their doctor.
Forbes reports that every state has laws mandating some form of informed consent, as well as the types of situations, surgeries and procedures that require the consent. Despite this, there are situations when the doctor does not provide the information in a manner that the patient understands. There are six components of an explanation required for informed consent. They are as follows:
- Side effects, risks and benefits of the procedure
- Procedure alternatives
- Side effects, risks and benefits of the alternative
- Risks and benefits of no procedure
Although standard practices vary, the requirement of informed consent is intended to honor your right to decide what happens to your body. You have the right to ask the doctor about the procedures, treatments and medications they recommend. This level of empowerment has been shown to result in higher survival rates and better procedure outcomes.
Informed consent is not required in all situations, especially in cases that are life-threatening emergencies or where you may be unconscious. However, in most circumstances, doctors who fail to obtain informed consent are committing a crime. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.