As a rule, medical professionals are supposed to get their patient's informed consent before treating the patient. A medical professional who ignores that rule commits medical malpractice. However, in a few cases, medical practitioners can offer treatment without getting their patients' informed consent and not get accused of medical malpractice. Here are three examples of situations in which the exception might apply:
Child Brought By Neighbor to the Hospital
In most states, minors don't have the legal rights to give consent for medical treatment. In most places, it is the parents who can give this consent on behalf of their children. However, a situation may arise where the child needs treatment and the parents cannot be reached.
Take the example of a child who falls from a swing and sustains internal injuries while the parents are away. A neighbor can take this child to the emergency room, but they cannot give consent for the kid's treatment. The doctors can go ahead with the treatment if delaying treatment would endanger the child's life. Of course, the attending physician's decision should be consistent with what a standard doctor would do in a similar situation.
Accident Victim with Life-Threatening Injuries
The way informed consent works is that the physician explains the condition plaguing the patient, the available treatments, the pros and cons of the treatments, and what would happen if treatment is ignored. The patient uses that information to make a decision as to the course of treatment to follow.
As you can see, getting informed consent is a process, and it takes time. It wouldn't work, for example, on an accident victim brought to the emergency room with serious injuries, especially if the patient is unable to communicate. In such a case, getting informed consent is more likely than not to aggravate the accident victim's injuries. Thus, physicians are allowed to proceed with the treatment without their patient's informed consent.
Patient Prone To Anxiety
Your doctor may also be allowed to treat you without your informed consent if you are prone to over anxiety, and the nature of your illness can push you over the edge. Informed consent requires complete disclosure from your doctor. It can result in frightening revelations about your health.
Consider the example of a shooting accident victim with a bullet lodged in their spine. Suppose the bullet has to be removed to save the life of the patient, but doing so carries with it the risk of paralysis. The doctor can treat such a patient without their informed consent if they are convinced that the patient wouldn't be able to handle the information. For example, some patients can even shut down and refuse complete treatment due to anxiety.
Therefore, don't believe that you have an automatic case of medical malpractice case if your doctor treated you without your informed consent. It might be that your case falls within these three exceptions. Your medical malpractice lawyer will evaluate the particulars of your case and advise you on whether you have a case.