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Medical malpractice lawsuit alleges lack of consent

A recently filed lawsuit examines the lack of consent and medical malpractice during childbirth. The lawsuit asserts that a woman explicitly told her obstetrician that she did not want to have an episiotomy and did not consent to the procedure. However, despite her objections, the obstetrician performed an episiotomy. According to court documents, her labor and delivery was progressing normally, the mother and baby were healthy, and nothing indicated that an episiotomy was necessary.

Unnecessary obstetrical procedures - those without patients' consent - happen more frequently than many people are aware of. A recent survey showed that the number of unwanted interventions during delivery is high - in the US, more than half of the survey participants who had an episiotomy said they did not have a choice about having the procedure. Up to roughly one-quater of mothers also reported experiencing pressure for other types of interverntions, including labor induction, epidurals and C-sections. And while patients are asked to sign consent forms when entering the hospital, these typically state that the patients consent to “emergency treatment, medical or surgical treatments," they also typically provide that patients have “the right to consent or to refuse any proposed operation or procedure at anytime prior to its performance."

Signing consent does not allow doctors to take actions against a patient's explicit will. If a doctor does not get informed consent from a patient, and the patient is injured, the patient may have grounds to sue the doctor for medical malpractice. What about when a doctor performs a procedure that the patient hasn't agreed to - even if no harm occurs? In some cases it may be possible to file for malpractice if this procedure was a mistake or unnecessary.

Here, the patient asserts that she did not consent to the procedure, it was unnecessary, and further asserts that performing the unwanted episiotomy constituted assault and battery.

For more information or if you have suffered harm a result of a medical error or a procedure without your consent, please contact the experienced California medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.

Categories: Medical Malpractice
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