Any surgery carries a number of risks, whether it is required for continued quality of life or a voluntary procedure. Before surgery, your doctor will likely inform you of the dangers involved and have you sign a consent form that outlines them. However, if you encounter unexpected complications afterward, you may wonder if you have the right to sue your physician. Before you move forward and hire an attorney, there are a few circumstances to consider that could affect your case.
1. The State of an Informed Consent Form
Before surgery, your physician will likely sit down with you and walk you through a consent form that describes the possible complications as a result of the procedure. For example, if you are pregnant and your obstetrician tells you that a natural birth is not possible and you require a C-section, he or she might discuss such dangers as post-op infection, blood clots, risks to the infant and problems with future pregnancies. The more risks that are listed, the less likely you will be able to sue afterward if one or more of these complications arise.
2. Unlisted Complication
You may be able to sue your physician if you are suffering from a complication that is not listed on the consent form. Some complications are rare; however, if they are known possibilities, they should be mentioned. You may need to ask your attorney about the laws regarding rare side effects of your particular surgery and whether your doctor failed to protect you or acted within his or her rights during the consent stage of your procedure.
3. Who Signed the Consent Form
If you underwent emergency surgery, such as an appendectomy, someone else may have signed your consent form, such as your spouse. In cases like this, the consent procedure might be somewhat rushed, and the person signing the form may not be made fully aware of possible complications. Such issues may be discussed with you after the fact, but if you are already suffering from issues such as blood clots or uncontrolled bleeding, you or your spouse may be able to sue.
4. An Incomplete Consent Form
Your consent form can be an important circumstance when it comes to your right to sue for medical malpractice. If it is poorly written or incomplete, this may strengthen your case. It is important that you obtain a copy of the form so you can submit it to your attorney for further perusal.
Not all surgeries end with complications, but they are a distinct possibility with any procedure. If you believe you have the ability to sue your doctor for malpractice under these circumstances, contact a medical malpractice lawyer for further information and assistance.