Your mom had been having some minor medical issues for a while, and her doctor recommended surgery to relieve the problem. You and your mom expected this to be a fairly routine procedure, so you’re absolutely stunned when your mom suffers a debilitating stroke either during or immediately after the surgery.
Even more stunning, the doctor looks at you and says, “Well, at her age and with her particular health conditions, this was always a known risk.” That’s the first time you heard anything about the possibility and you’re positive your mother didn’t know the danger.
Is this malpractice? It could be.
Informed consent is critical to proper patient care
Doctors have a duty to make sure that patients understand the full risks of any procedure or treatment they’re about to undergo. They should also make sure that the patient understands the risks of not having the procedure done so that they can fully weigh their options.
This means more than handing the patient a piece of paper with the risks listed off and asking them to sign it after they’re already prepped for surgery. Ideally, the risks should be discussed with the patient both when the procedure is suggested, when it is decided upon and again before the surgery is performed.
It’s true that there are few guarantees when it comes to medicine, especially surgery. Not every bad outcome is an act of malpractice. Bad things do just happen. However, if you or your loved one were not fully informed about the potential risks before you made the choice, that’s akin to not having a choice at all.
If you believe medical malpractice is involved in your loved one’s condition, find out more about your legal options.