What Is the Difference Between Express and Implied Consent?

What Is the Difference Between Express and Implied Consent?

The principles of implied and express consent are a cornerstone of personal injury law. They are particularly important in medicine. Patients and practitioners must understand the difference between the two types of consent to avoid confusion, miscommunication, or errors.

Medical malpractice claims can arise when consent is not given properly. An experienced medical malpractice attorney understands the importance of consent and can help you prove your case.

Consent is permission for something to happen or an agreement for someone to do something. 

The law generally recognizes two types of consent: express and implied.       

  • Express Consent: This refers to a clear, direct, and unmistakable agreement. It is often given by a patient to a provider. While it can be provided verbally, it is usually given in writing. It is common for a doctor to seek express consent for medical procedures or surgeries.
  • Implied Consent: This form of consent is not overtly stated. Instead, it is deduced – or implied – from a patient’s behavior, circumstances, or actions. For instance, a patient nodding after a doctor asks if they can conduct a check-up may be considered implied consent. Implied consent can also occur in the middle of procedures. Patients may sign consent forms permitting doctors to take “all necessary measures” to make a surgery successful.

Your doctor should obtain express or implied consent from you before any procedure.

The principle of informed consent is a pillar of patient rights. It underscores the importance of patient autonomy within our healthcare system. 

But what exactly does informed consent mean when considering medical treatment? The American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics details its importance. Informed consent usually requires the following:

Understanding the Procedure

Every patient has a right to understand a medical procedure. This includes grasping the purpose, what it entails, and the expected outcome. Patients should not go into procedures feeling uncertain about what will happen.

Awareness of Risks and Benefits

Informed consent is not simply about agreeing to a procedure. It also requires being educated about its potential effects. Patients should be made aware of risks, however minor, and benefits. You should never feel cornered into one decision.

Opportunity for Questions

The medical world can be complex. You should never feel hesitant to ask questions or seek clarification. Whether they are about potential side effects, recovery times, or other aspects of the procedure, it is your right to have all questions addressed.

Time to Think

Healthcare decisions should not be rushed. Patients have the right to weigh the pros and cons or discuss with family. Whether it is a minor procedure or a major surgery, having the space to make an informed decision is a fundamental aspect of patient rights.

Informed consent is about autonomy. It is not just about performing medical procedures but ensuring that doctors have patients informed in their healthcare decisions and outcomes.

In many medical scenarios, Texas doctors should obtain express consent in writing. It is valuable evidence of your understanding and agreement to a procedure. Written consent is very important for invasive procedures, surgeries, or high-risk treatments.

However, there are some situations where written consent is not feasible. This often occurs in emergencies or when a patient is unconscious. In such cases, implied consent might be relied upon for necessary lifesaving measures.

The principle of implied and express consent is important. If you or a loved one undergoes medical treatment in Texas, providers must have appropriate consent. Providers expose themselves to medical malpractice claims without obtaining proper consent.

Contact the Texas Medical Malpractice Lawyers of The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

Please contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer at The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers to get a free initial consultation today. We have offices in Friendswood and Galveston, Texas. Call us at (281) 992-8633.

The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers – Galveston
2101 Mechanic St. Suite 253
Galveston, TX 77550

The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers
312 S. Friendswood Dr.
Friendswood, TX 77546