Is it malpractice if a hospital conducts an experimental procedure on you without consent?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it malpractice if a hospital conducts an experimental procedure on you without consent?

I received a consent form in the mail today saying an unapproved retinal
procedure by the FDA was performed during a visit as part of a study.
Apparently the institution ‘forgot’ to inform me and provide the consent form at
the time of the visit. Now they are rushing me to sign this form and return it
to them. The form states if any injury occurred they are not responsible. Not
sure if this is the correct thing to do. I was given a deadline to return the
form. A question I have is ‘….or else what?’

This seems to be negligence on their part. No known injury has occured as of
this time, but this has scared me as I have been treated for vision loss.

Asked on March 5, 2018 under Malpractice Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Don't sign and return the form. You have nothing to sue about unless and until you discover you are injured--in malpractice cases, the law only provides compensation for actual injuries or costs incurred--but you don't want to give up the right to sue. There is nothing they can do to you for not returning the form--they have no legal right to force you to retroactively give your consent or give up your right to sue--so just file the form for now and wait to see if you do suffer any advere effects and have to take legal action.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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