Does signing a release prohibit me from filing a medical malpractice claim?

by Chris Kuhlman on July 15, 2015

Does signing a release or informed consent paperwork prohibit a medical malpractice claim if something goes wrong?  

A commonly held belief by victims of medical malpractice is that by signing a release or informed consent form prior to the procedure, that they waived their ability to bring a medical malpractice claim.   This is not true.

Minnesota law protects victims of medical negligence.  No one can consent to medical malpractice.  As such, releases and informed consent forms do not waive your right to sue your doctor if he or she commits medical negligence.

The purpose of informed consent is to make sure a patient has received information on and agrees to the procedure that is performed. A health care provider may require an individual to consent to various procedures, such as therapy, an operation, or a clinical trial. By giving their consent, typically in writing, an individual has in no way, however, agreed to allow the doctor to commit negligence during the procedure.  Accordingly, even if the patient did sign a waiver, they can still pursue a medical malpractice claim.

Before a patient signs a consent form, it is imperative that their provider completely informs them about the proposed procedure.  This not only includes allowing the patient to ask questions about the procedure. Several topics that should be addressed with your doctor before he or she performs the treatment include: the costs of the procedure, the associated risks, available alternatives, and what to expect during recovery and or recuperation.

When a patient is reviewing a consent form, it is important that the specific procedure or treatment to be undergone is identified at the outset.  By doing this, the patient can be assured that there is no miscommunication between him/her and the doctor and that both parties are on the same page as to what medical procedure is to be done.

If you have questions about releases or informed consent forms and wish to speak to a Minnesota medical malpractice lawyer, contact us at (612) 349-2747.

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