When undergoing treatment at the doctor’s office, you’ll probably
be handed a clipboard full of forms to be signed. Among the medical history
and insurance forms, you will see an “informed consent” form.
This document should explain to you the risks and possible complications
of undergoing treatment, and, by signing, you affirm that you understand
the information that has been given to you.

Before signing, however, you should ask yourself and your doctor some questions,
including:

  • Why is this treatment being done, and are there any alternatives? Don’t
    sign informed consent paperwork until you clearly understand your course
    of treatment.
  • Do I have to sign this form? Often a doctor will not tell you that it is
    not legally required that you sign an informed consent document for them
    to treat you.
  • What if something goes wrong during the procedure? Just because you sign
    a form doesn’t mean that a doctor is off the hook for a mistake
    that occurs during your treatment or surgery.

It’s important to remember that accepting the risk for a medical
procedure or treatment doesn’t also mean you accept the risk that
a doctor or other healthcare professional may make a mistake. You have
rights if you were hurt by the negligence of doctor, nurse, or other healthcare worker.