Sikorski v. North Shore-LIJ Health Sys. highlights the importance of informed consent in medical treatment. The case involved a patient who underwent a medical procedure without being properly informed of the risks and potential complications. The case highlights the principle that healthcare providers have a duty to obtain informed consent from their patients before performing any medical procedure, and that failure to do so can result in liability for medical malpractice.
Informed consent in New York refers to the process by which a healthcare provider obtains a patient’s permission to perform a medical procedure or treatment. The process of obtaining informed consent requires the healthcare provider to disclose information to the patient about the proposed procedure or treatment, including the risks, benefits, alternatives, and potential complications. The purpose of informed consent is to enable the patient to make an informed decision about whether to undergo the procedure or treatment.
In New York, the requirements for informed consent are set forth in Section 2805-d of the Public Health Law. The statute provides that a healthcare provider must obtain informed consent from a patient or the patient’s authorized representative before performing a medical or surgical procedure, diagnostic test, or other treatment that involves a significant risk of harm to the patient.
In Sikorski, the plaintiff underwent a procedure to remove a mass from her breast. The procedure was performed by a surgeon at a hospital owned by North Shore-LIJ Health Sys. Prior to the procedure, the plaintiff was given a consent form to sign, but the form did not mention the risk of a rare complication known as “intraoperative injection injury,” which can occur when a needle or other surgical instrument is inadvertently injected into a nerve or other sensitive tissue. During the procedure, the surgeon injected the plaintiff with a needle, causing nerve damage and other complications.
The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the surgeon and the hospital, alleging that they had failed to obtain her informed consent for the procedure. The defendants argued that the consent form signed by the plaintiff was sufficient to meet the informed consent requirement, and that they had not breached any duty owed to the plaintiff.
Discussion and Decision
The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, dismissing the plaintiff’s lawsuit on the ground that the defendants had obtained the plaintiff’s informed consent for the procedure. The court held that the consent form signed by the plaintiff was sufficient to meet the informed consent requirement, and that the plaintiff had failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendants had breached their duty to obtain informed consent.
The plaintiff appealed the trial court’s decision to the Appellate Division, Second Department. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision, holding that the defendants had failed to obtain the plaintiff’s informed consent for the procedure. The court noted that the consent form signed by the plaintiff did not mention the risk of intraoperative injection injury, which was a known risk of the procedure. The court also found that the plaintiff had presented sufficient evidence to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendants had breached their duty to obtain informed consent.
Sikorski v. North Shore-LIJ Health Sys. is significant because it highlights the principle that healthcare providers have a duty to obtain informed consent from their patients before performing any medical procedure, and that failure to do so can result in liability for medical malpractice. The case also underscores the importance of providing patients with accurate and complete information about the risks and potential complications of any medical procedure. If a healthcare provider fails to provide adequate information to the patient, the provider may be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of medical malpractice, it is important to consult with an experienced New York medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible who can help you evaluate the strength of your case and advise you on the best course of action. In some cases, it may be possible to obtain compensation for your injuries through a settlement or trial verdict. Whatever your situation, an experienced legal representation can help you navigate the complex legal and medical issues involved in a medical malpractice case and work to protect your rights and interests.