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Can doctors perform procedures/surgeries to patients who have dementia/schizophrenia w/o the consent of the patient's P.O.A.?

Indianapolis, IN |

Is it legal for a doctor to make a patient (my mother) who has Wernicke's Encephalopathy (a form of dementia) and Schizophrenia to sign medical papers for procedures and surgeries without my knowledge/consent even though I am her P.O.A.? - 1/17/14 they performed a major surgery w/o my knowledge/consent and I am her (P.O.A.) it took the surgical team 11 days to notify me. Spoke to one of his team members, then met/spoke w/the doctor on the 2/8/14...said he wasn't aware of her conditions and apologized. I tried to give them all info from other hospitals, but they made it seem as if it was an inconvenience. 2/10/14 they performed a procedure w/o my consent again. Is it legal for my mother who has Wernicke's Encephalopathy/Schizophrenia to be able to sign medical papers w/o me as her P.O.A.?

Attorney Answers 6


  1. This will really depend on the what your POA states. You may want to have an attorney look into this issue.

    This information is for educational purposes only, as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. The information provided does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. This information should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed, professional attorney in your state.


  2. Without knowing the extent of your mother's dementia it is difficult to give you a real good answer. Depending on whether the POA is in the chart and what it says, it may not be illegal, but the question is should they have done it without your consent... probably not. What is not included in your fact pattern is whether any issues or problems arose as a result of the procedure. If not, the best advice I can give you is to discuss this with her primary care doctor and make sure they flag the chart before any other procedures are done without you being notified.


  3. This question might be better addressed by a health care attorney.

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  4. Without knowing what your P.O.A. states it would be hard to properly answer your question. You should get an attorney investigate this for you.


  5. Depends on POA among other things, so have a local Indianapolis lawyer investigate. Use Avvo's find a lawyer tool.


  6. I agree that if your powers extend to medical procedures you should have been consulted for consent. However, if in the end this is a necessary procedure there is no physical harm and it appears that you have set the record straight and hopefully this will not happen again. Your mother is lucky to have you. God bless.

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