What Is Informed Consent & How To Prove It Under Connecticut Law

To understand what informed consent means in a medical context and how to prove a failure to obtain informed consent, the following information is provided.  This information is taken directly from Connecticut court’s jury instructions in cases involving a failure to obtain informed consent cause of action.
The theory of informed consent imposes a duty upon a physician that is completely separate and distinct from (his/her) responsibility to skillfully diagnose and treat the patient’s ills.  A physician has a duty to disclose all known material risks of the proposed procedure.  A material risk is risk that a reasonably prudent person in the patient’s position would have found significant in deciding whether or not to submit to the proposed procedure.  The physician has a duty to give a patient whose situation permits it all information material to the decision to undergo the proposed procedure.  This duty includes a responsibility to advise the patient of feasible alternatives.  The duty to warn of alternatives exists only when there are feasible alternatives available.
The plaintiff must prove both that there was a failure to disclose a known material risk of a proposed procedure and that such failure was a proximate cause of (his/her) injury.  In order to find proximate cause in this context, you must find that a disclosure of the material risks of the proposed procedure would have resulted in a decision by a reasonably prudent person in the patient’s position not to submit to the proposed procedure.  The particular patient’s reaction, had (he/she) received the information as to the risks involved, is not the governing one with respect to the duty to inform.  The standard is what a reasonably prudent person in the patient’s position would have decided if suitably informed of all material risks.