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Medical legality

  1. Dec 30, 2007 #1
    If a doctor does an unorthodox procedue on a patient but the patient and the doctor sign documents that basically say, the doctor is not legally responsible for any negative effects of the procedure, could the doctor still lose his license/get in trouble, if the procedure is legal?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 30, 2007 #2
    This might be something more suited to the medical sciences forum, but anyway there's probably some law out there that would prevent one from doing that.
  4. Dec 30, 2007 #3


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    I'm actually moving this into General Discussion, because the question is more about law and ethics than about medicine or biology.

    If the procedure is legal, and the best option available to the patient, and the patient fully understands the risks that they are accepting in the document they sign, then the doctor is fairly well covered. If any of those don't hold up, then the outcome would likely depend on the lawsuit findings and those of the medical board. For example, if there is a much safer procedure that should be tried first, and is the usual standard of care, and the doctor doesn't tell the patient about that option before urging them into something risky, that's a problem. Or, if the patient doesn't fully understand what they are signing (it's not just "consent" but "informed consent" that is required), either because the doctor rushes them into it (often medical decisions need to be made quickly, and you don't have time to consult a lawyer before signing something to receive treatment...it's not quite the same as signing a loan agreement without taking time to think it over) or doesn't adequately answer their questions, or misleads them about what it says, or doesn't explain medical terminology the patient doesn't understand, then all of those things could raise questions about whether the consent given was "informed."
  5. Jan 3, 2008 #4
    In order to win a claim of medical negligence against a doctor in the UK you need to...

    1) Show that there was a duty of care between doc and patient
    2) Show that this duty of care was breached
    3) Show that this breach of duty caused harm

    Therefore, if you had complications due to this operation you must prove that this was due to the surgeon's negligence... i.e. you must be able to prove that he did something wrong in the operation and that this error caused you to have complications that aren't listed in the complications for the operation (since your surgeon could argue that the error causes no harm as the complications were standard ones of the operation)...

    btw moonbear what you are talking about consent to medical treatment - not medical negligence... trust me, it is almost impossible to win these claims against consent to medical treatment as you have signed documents claiming that you have consented to the treatment and understand all its risks... it is only an issue in borderline competence/non-competent but with competent patients it's impossible...
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