The law states that the podiatrist, or any health care provider, must get the patient's consent to the surgery after giving the patient information including the risks, benefits, and alternatives to surgery, including NOT HAVING THE SURGERY at all.
Most consider a signed consent form, without explanation, inadequate to get the patient's informed consent. The podiatrist should sit down with the patient and verbally explain the surgery.
Some podiatrists get the patient's consent moments before the surgery. Some consider that to be bad practice. More important is whether the patient is calm enough to understand the details of the procedure and all the risks and alternatives. Most patients would rather not have this important information moments before surgery but rather days or weeks before the surgery so they can discuss it with their family or friends or just take their time and think it over.
Even if the surgery is properly performed, if the patient does not give a truly informed consent, and there is a bad result from the surgery, the patient may still sue the podiatrist on the legal theory of "lack of informed consent." This is especially true in most foot surgeries which are elective, means they are not life threatening and do not have to be performed at all. In many cases, when the patient realizes the true risks of surgery and compares them with the benefits, they decide not to have the surgery. Or they may decide to get another opinion. All of these starts with the podiatrist not giving the patient all of the necessary information about their condition and surgery.
The Law Firm of Lawrence M. Karam, P.C., is not affiliated with Lance Ehrenberg, Esq., or any other law firm.