The doctor-patient relationship is one of the most important legal relationships that exist, since a doctor can literally save your life with the correct treatment. However, if a California doctor is withholding information about a treatment you are considering, that doctor is denying you informed consent, which is dangerous and a clear violation of your rights.
The American Medical Association explains that informed consent works when a physician communicates to a patient all the pertinent information about a treatment, including alternatives to it, as well as possible risks to the patient if the treatment is performed. Once armed with this information, the patient will make a decision, to go ahead with the treatment or choose an alternative, or deny treatment completely.
Keep in mind that it is not simply a matter of a physician or a health care provider talking to a patient about the treatment. The doctor should understand how the patient wants medical information to be communicated and go along with those preferences. Additionally, a physician should not make the information too complicated to understand. A patient cannot give informed consent if the patient does not comprehend what the doctor says.
If a physician does not give a patient the right information, all sorts of problems can result. You might have an existing medical condition that the treatment could exacerbate. Taking the treatment would possibly result in severe health problems or even death. Even if the treatment goes off well at first, complications may later manifest. You would have to seek additional treatments to fix the issue later on, draining your finances and distressing you emotionally.
According to FindLaw, a lack of informed consent qualifies under criminal law as an act of battery or an unauthorized touching of a person. A patient who did not receive informed consent can also file a civil suit. Informed consent suits hinge on whether the patient, if knowing about all the risks of a proposed procedure, would not have gone through with it, and that the patient suffered harm due to the lack of informed consent.
Ultimately, you retain the right to control the health care you receive. Any reputable doctor in California must make sure that you know and comprehend all of the relevant information to make the best medical decision you can.