Many Massachusetts residents take comfort in the fact that their doctors are educated, experienced and perhaps even well-known in their field. That level of comfort can increase over years of adequate care, and personal relationships can even form. Yet, no matter how strong the bond between a patient and his or her doctor, inexcusable mistakes can be made that cause harm to unsuspecting patients.

There are many ways through which a patient can suffer serious injuries or death at the hands of his or her doctor. One way is through unauthorized treatment. Informed consent refers to a patient’s approval of a course of medical treatment after being informed of the decisions available to him or her, as well as the risks and success rates of each option. For example, if an individual needs an operation for installation of a pacemaker, then a doctor should inform the patient about what else can be done to remedy the heart condition as well as what risks may arise with choosing one of those options as well as with proceeding with the operation.

In many instances, hospitals have patients sign documents indicating that they have been informed and are consenting to an operation. However, simply because a form has been signed does not mean that a negligent doctor is in the clear. In fact, if he or she goes beyond the scope of the consent, then he or she may be held liable for any damages caused to the victim.

Succeeding on a medical malpractice claim that focuses on unauthorized treatment can be challenging. Not only does a plaintiff have to show that a doctor went beyond the scope of informed consent, but a plaintiff must also show that had he or she been informed he or she would have avoided the injurious act. To learn more about how to pursue these types of claims, medical malpractice victims may want to speak with an experienced legal professional.

Source: FindLaw, “Informed Consent and Unauthorized Treatment,” accessed on Jan. 13, 2017