You have the right to make informed consent when a doctor wants to do a procedure or offer you a treatment. The doctor cannot make this decision for you except in an emergency situation or if you are a minor.
This right ensures that you understand and know what the treatment or procedure entails and how it will impact your health. It gives you the power to say what happens with your body. Forbes explains that not getting informed consent is illegal.
There is no formal rule about how a doctor must obtain your consent. In general, the doctor only has to provide you with information and ask for your decision. This is often not enough, especially if your doctor is not providing you with adequate information.
To make proper informed consent, you need information about what is happening. You need the ability to weigh the information and ask questions if you want. Part of your doctor’s responsibilities in the process is to ensure you have enough information.
Your doctor should tell you the diagnosis, the risks and benefits of the treatment, alternative options, the potential outcomes and how the treatment works.
More often than not, you will give consent but not be fully aware of what you said yes to. You may have lingering questions but feel under pressure from the doctor to make a quick decision. You may also feel like you have no choice because your insurance company will not cover alternative options. This leads to situations where you give consent but it is not fully of your own will and with full knowledge of the situation.