Failure by Doctor to Disclose Information

When receiving medical treatment, trust between a doctor and patient is pivotal to ensuring a smooth medical procedure and healthy recovery that has a low risk of surprise complications. It is not uncommon for patients to trust their doctor without hesitation. This makes it confusing and oftentimes painful when a doctor fails to supply vital information that results in a patient’s subsequent suffering.

Types of Misinformation

The American Medical Association’s (AMA) Code of Medical Ethics states that doctors are ethically bound to disclose certain types of information to patients, including the exact nature of their condition, risks associated with their condition, and any medical errors made during operation or procedure.

However, for fear of litigation, doctors may sometimes fail to let patients know if mistakes were made during a procedure or if certain medical steps went awry. Although most doctors believe a patient should be informed immediately when a mistake is made during operation, this disclosure happens less than half of the time when serious incidents occur. A doctor can fail to properly inform the patient in the following ways:

  • Using specific language devoid of certain legal terms when disclosing information to avoid liability
  • Withholding types of alternative treatment that may help the patient’s condition
  • Failure to disclose risks associated when pre-op instructions are not followed
  • Not informing the patient of medical measures taken that deviate from protocol

When a patient goes into a procedure without vital information about its risks, it is a sign of negligence on the doctor’s part.

Although the doctor-patient relationship is often a formal and professional one, it is still fiduciary in nature and must rely on trust and transparency to function. If you or someone you know has suffered damages due to a doctor’s negligence in disclosing information, you may be able to hold them liable for medical malpractice. Contact Massachusetts medical malpractice firm Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, at (617) 426-4488 to discuss your legal options.