Modern medicine often gives doctors a variety of options for treating injuries, illnesses and other maladies. If your treatment plan includes surgery, your physician should discuss the procedure with you. He or she should also inform you of any risks before you head to the operating room.
While most surgeons do not operate without first obtaining informed consent from their patients, an issue during the operation may constitute nonconsensual surgery.
Operating in the incorrect spot
When you provide consent for a surgical procedure, your consent extends only to the operation your surgeon has discussed with you. While everyone has heard horror stories about a surgeon amputating the wrong leg, not all parts of the body are so easy to distinguish. If your surgeon places a stent in the wrong artery, for example, he or she may be operating without your consent.
Going too far
Most surgeons have extensive education and training that allows them to make critical decisions in the operating room. Nevertheless, your surgeon must not take the procedure further than you have agreed. To illustrate, if you have agreed to rhinoplasty and your surgeon decides to rework your cheekbones, you may be the victim of nonconsensual surgery.
Performing additional procedures
During surgery, doctors sometimes need to perform emergency procedures they did not anticipate. If your doctor decides to do a non-emergency procedure, however, he or she may be violating patient consent rules. For instance, if you are having an appendectomy and your surgeon repairs a hernia he or she notices, the hernial procedure may be non-consensual.
Just like every other patient, you have a right to know what your surgeon intends to do with your body. Ultimately, if your doctor performs any type of nonconsensual surgery that causes you harm, you may be eligible for substantial financial compensation.