In Arizona, patients must be given all information regarding their health and the treatment options that are available to them before choosing a course of action. This is called informed consent. To meet the required threshold of informed consent, patients must be given certain types of information and explanations. In addition, the patient must then be able to make a decision about his or her care and consent to that care being provided.
An individual may give consent by signing a form after all options are explained. This is called written consent, but written consent may not be required for all treatment options. In cases when written consent is not needed, a patient will simply be asked if he or she gives consent before treatment is started. Generally, surgical procedures, vaccine treatments and treatment for cancer or HIV requires written consent before it can begin.
A doctor or another health care provider must provide a detailed list of information when soliciting informed consent. Patients must know exactly what will happen to them, the risks of a given treatment plan and how likely a treatment plan is to work. Patients must also be told about alternate options available to them and whether or not treatment is necessary now or if the treatment can wait.
Even when informed consent is given, doctor errors could still result in an injury to a patient. The doctor or medical professional who made the error may still be held liable for that injury. In such cases, it may be advisable to consult with a medical malpractice attorney in order to determine what remedies are available.
Source: Medline Plus, "Informed Consent - Adults", November 03, 2014