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Risk Matters: Informed Consent

Last month, we discussed the importance of the informed consent discussion to prevent malpractice claims.  As a follow-up, remember that it is the discussion that takes place between the provider and the patient (or patient’s legal representative) that constitutes the basis for the consent to be “informed.”  The consent form that is signed by the patient or representative is merely evidence memorializing that the discussion took place, and the patient/representative understood the information discussed.  Accordingly, be sure the details of all discussions relative to obtaining informed consent are documented in the medical record.  Relying solely on boilerplate, fill-in-the-blank hospital or generic consent forms that are not procedure-specific will most likely not capture all of the details of the conversation. 

About The Author

Jeffrey A. Woods is the Director of Risk Education in the Risk Education and Evaluation Services Department at SVMIC. Jeff received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee Martin and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Following graduation, he practiced law in Knoxville for almost 15 years, advising physicians and healthcare providers and defending them in malpractice claims. He is licensed to practice in Tennessee and all Federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association.

Jeff joined SVMIC in 2003 and was a Senior Claims Attorney until 2015 when he transferred to his current position.

The contents of The Sentinel are intended for educational/informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Policyholders are urged to consult with their personal attorney for legal advice, as specific legal requirements may vary from state to state and/or change over time.

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