Most of the people who undergo surgery every day do not have a medical degree. Without advanced medical training, it can be difficult for a person to truly understand the risks and complications that any procedure may carry. It is up to the doctors treating a patient to fully explain what the surgery entails, from the common, unavoidable complications to the rare and dangerous side effects. When a doctor fails to explain the reasons for a surgery, why the surgery is necessary, and what a patient may face after the surgery is completed, that doctor may be liable for malpractice.
Consenting to the Risks of Surgery
In most cases, surgery is a planned event. A patient who is undergoing surgery has the right to have the procedure fully explained, including its purposes and its intended effects. The patient also has the right to know who will be performing the surgery, what that person’s qualifications are and how much experience that person has with that procedure.
In addition, a doctor must thoroughly discuss a patient’s current medical condition, the reasons why the procedure is necessary and the chances of the surgery being successful. The patient should be informed about the cost of the procedure, and how much recovery time or rehabilitation will be necessary.
In general, this consent must be obtained in a written document which outlines all of these issues. By signing the consent form, the patient is giving his or her expressed consent, meaning that the patient understands the risks and has decided that the benefits of the surgery or treatment outweigh them.
In some instances, a person is not capable of giving express consent. For instance, in an emergency situation like a car accident, the law recognizes that most people would consent to life-saving surgery and their consent is implied by the circumstances.
No Consent Can Mean Malpractice
When a person undergoes a surgery that he or she does not fully understand, there may be grounds for a malpractice lawsuit.
For example, if a patient was never informed about the possibility of a specific side effect or complication, then he or she was not able to fully consent to the risks. In that case, a doctor may be liable for malpractice as a result of failing to fully inform the patient if that surgery led to injury. Or, if a patient did not understand that he or she could refuse the surgery, especially if it was not strictly necessary, he or she may be able to file a lawsuit for any injury or harm that the surgery caused.
Doctors have a responsibility to be honest with their patients. When a doctor does not warn you of a procedure’s benefits, risks or alternatives, or fails to inform you of his or her qualifications or experience, then that doctor is operating on you without your full consent and may be liable for malpractice. At the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., our experienced medical and legal staff regularly handle medical malpractice cases. We will thoroughly investigate your claim and determine who is responsible for your injuries, so that you can seek compensation for your pain, suffering, and other injuries.
If you were injured by medical negligence or malpractice, speak with a knowledgeable Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney today. Contact the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., by calling (310) 289-2600, or use our online case evaluation form to have your claim reviewed for free.