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What happens when a Doctor Performs a Procedure without your Informed Consent?

What happens when a Doctor Performs a Procedure without your Informed Consent?

Almost every type of surgery or other medical procedure comes with a wide variety of risks. Some risks and complications can lead to injuries more severe than the original underlying condition. Medical professionals are required to provide patients with information regarding procedures including possible risks that may cause the patient to refuse the treatment. Not every possible risk must be disclosed, however, California doctors are required to inform patients of any information that would be material to a patient making a decision whether to proceed. Agreeing to a procedure after knowing the relevant risks and information is referred to as “informed consent.”

If a doctor fails to properly inform a patient of the risks of surgery or other procedures and the patient suffers serious injury as a result, the patient may be entitled to significant compensation.

The doctor told me the procedure was necessary to save my life

Informed consent cases may become complicated if the procedure is necessary to save a patient’s life. For example, in an emergency situation, a patient may need surgery or other treatment immediately or else they may die. In such cases, there is no time to discuss the risks of the procedure and get the dying patient’s signature on a consent form. For this reason, doctors are not held liable for failing to get informed consent in emergencies.

Additionally, if a doctor knows that you need a particular surgery to survive and suspects that, due to an emotionally fragile state, you would be too afraid to agree to the surgery, the doctor may sometimes be intentionally vague about the risks. For example, imagine that a patient needs spinal surgery to remove a large tumor and avoid imminent death, but there was a risk of nerve damage and paralysis. If the patient is mentally or emotionally fragile, knowing the risks would likely cause too much anxiety and lead to a preventable death.

The above examples demonstrate that not every failure to obtain informed consent rises to the level of medical malpractice. It is important to discuss your particular situation with an experienced attorney who can advise you whether you have a valid legal claim.

Discuss your situation with a Sacramento medical malpractice lawyer today

At the Teal Law Group in Sacramento, our attorneys have extensive experience standing up for the rights of patients injured by various forms of medical malpractice. If you believe that your doctor has wrongfully caused you injury, call us today at 916-448-1010 or contact us online for a free consultation.