Illinois law requires physicians acting in non-emergency situations to obtain their patient's informed consent prior to performing a surgical or operative procedure. This means the doctor must disclose to each patient the facts, risks, complications, and alternatives to surgery so a prudent person could consider whether to undergo the surgical procedure. When an operative procedure is conducted without the patient's informed consent, the patient may have a legal claim for both medical negligence and battery. The amount of damages suffered by the patient must be supported by some evidence produced by the patient.
Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) can expect to join physicians as defendants in medical malpractice suits. This will be due to the new Illinois Supreme Court ruling that HMOs can be vicariously liable for the negligence of their independent contractor physicians. The court ruled that HMOs have apparent authority and implied authority. This simply means that with apparent authority, HMOs look at doctors as their employees. Implied authority means that the HMOs exercise some degree of control over the doctor's medical judgment.