State Supreme Court Ruling Grants New Trial in Medical Malpractice Case Based on Lack of Informed Consent

The Supreme Court of Tennessee recently released an opinion in the case of White v. Beeks, reversing a verdict that had relieved a doctor accused of malpractice from liability. The Supreme Court disagreed with the Tennessee Court of Appeals, which affirmed the verdict on the initial appeal, and ruled that the trial court’s exclusion of certain evidence at trial was a reversible error that likely affected the verdict. Because of the most recent ruling, the plaintiff was given a new trial and will have another chance to recover damages for the injuries allegedly caused by the defendant.

The Plaintiff Suffered Complications after a Back Surgery

medical-instruments-3-1033916-mThe plaintiff in the case was being treated by the defendant, an orthopedic surgeon, for back pain and underwent spinal fusion surgery in 2006 as part of the recommended treatment. About six weeks after the surgery, the plaintiff’s pain worsened, and he was diagnosed with ectopic bone growth in his spine at the site of the surgery.

The plaintiff alleged that the bone growth was caused by the use of an artificial bone grafting compound that the doctor used during the surgery. The lawsuit alleged that the doctor did not get the plaintiff’s informed consent for use of the grafting compound in his surgery, which resulted in his injuries. The plaintiff testified that he was not made aware of the use of compound or any risks of its use, which included ectopic bone growth.

What is Informed Consent?

The doctrine of informed consent makes it a legal requirement for medical providers to give their patients adequate information to make an informed decision about whether or not they should undergo a medical procedure. What is adequate information is determined by the recognized standard of acceptable professional practice in the relevant medical field.

Although the specific language of informed consent statutes can vary, patients are protected by informed consent laws nationwide. If a plaintiff is able to prove that their doctor did not give them adequate information to make an informed decision, and that a reasonable person in their position would not have consented to the procedure had the adequate information been provided, the patient may be able to recover damages for any injuries caused by the procedure. A doctor may even be found liable for damages based on proof that the procedure was performed negligently if the patient was not adequately informed of the possible side effects before giving consent.

Have You Been the Victim of Medical Malpractice?

If you think that you or someone you love has been the victim of medical malpractice or been injured by a medical procedure for which they did not give informed consent, the dedicated medical malpractice attorneys at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt can help you make a strong case for the damages you deserve. Our experienced malpractice attorneys have helped victims of medical malpractice nationwide. At Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt, we represent clients in most medical malpractice and negligence cases, including failure to obtain informed consent for a procedure. Call us today at (410) 567-0800 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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