A Close Look At Florida’s Medical Consent Law
Patients place a significant amount of trust in their health care providers, but they also have rights that medical professionals are required to respect when delivering care. You are probably aware of a few, including rights related to privacy, confidentiality, and getting a second opinion. Another important one relates to decision-making regarding care, and it is a central concept in the medical profession: Informed consent. Florida’s Medical Consent Law sets forth the details and how consent works in the context of the patient-provider relationship.
However, a close look also reveals that a motivating factor behind the statute is protecting physicians from medical malpractice claims. It is understandable that health care providers should not face frivolous lawsuits, but the statute can lead to challenges when seeking compensation for medical negligence. A Tampa medical malpractice lawyer can explain how the concepts apply to your case, and some additional information is useful.
Application of the Medical Consent Law
Florida’s statute on implied consent specifically exempts medical treatment activity from a health care provider acting as a Good Samaritan, who freely and in good faith gives treatment in response to an emergency. The law applies to the following professionals who are licensed by the State of Florida:
- Osteopathic physicians;
- Physicians’ assistants; and
- Nurses carrying certain credentials.
After listing the professionals to whom the statute applies, the language states that a patient CANNOT bring a medical malpractice claim if informed consent was obtained under the terms stated. In other words, if the provider met the requirements of the statute as described below, you cannot sue for harm caused by treating, examining, or performing a procedure on you.
Informed Consent and Your Rights
The statute focuses on three factors to determine whether a patient provided consent:
- Whether the acts of physician in getting consent was in accordance with accepted standards in the practice of medicine, as measured by a practitioner with the same training and experience as the treating physician;
- Whether a reasonable person would have a general understanding of the care to be provided based upon the physician’s explanation, including the risks, availability of other treatment, and related details; and,
- Whether the patient would have chosen to undergo the treatment had he or she been given appropriate information.
Rebuttable Presumption and Informed Consent
Another provision in the statute offers yet another safe harbor for physicians who obtain a writing from the patient before treatment. If you sign paperwork indicating that you received appropriate information about the procedure and agree to your doctor performing it, there is a rebuttable presumption of a valid consent.
Our Tampa, FL Informed Consent Attorneys Will Advise You on the Laws
If you have concerns about how health care providers handled informed consent, it is important to discuss your remedies with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. To learn how we can help, please contact Greco & Wozniak P.A. at 813.223.7849 or via our website to set up a free case evaluation at our offices in Tampa, FL. We can advise you on details after reviewing your situation.