Should I sign informed consent forms in Texas before seeing the doctor?

The short answer is a resounding “no.” It’s important for you, as a patient, to know what you’re agreeing to before you sign any paperwork.

Informed consent is an important process where the patient gives a physician permission to provide a treatment or perform a surgery. In order for a patient to give to informed consent, the physician needs to go over the risks and benefits of the proposed treatment or surgery, alternatives, and doing nothing.

Under Texas law, informed consent is a duty of the doctor and cannot be delegated to a nurse. That doesn’t stop some physicians from trying to do that, though.

Today, I heard something new. I was taking the deposition of an anesthesiologist in a wrongful death medical malpractice case in Houston, Texas. I asked this physician if she had seen the patient and done a pre-anesthesia assessment before he was taken to the operating room. She explained that she started with having the patient sign the consent forms and then met with and examined him afterward.

She put the cart before the horse!

The anesthesiologist had never met the patient, didn’t know about his unique risks, and there’s no way that she was able to obtain a legitimate informed consent from the patient before she knew this information. Given that she botched the consent process, I’m also pretty certain that she didn’t bother to tell this patient that she would not be in the operating room during most of his surgery, but instead was having a nurse anesthetist run the show.

If it’s not an emergency, don’t let your healthcare providers to rush you. Get all the facts before making a decision.

Robert Painter
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Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.