Is it right for an anesthesiologist to not inform patient of anesthesia risks and alternatives of administering?

Asked about 2 years ago - Woodbury, NJ

Ptnt asked if he could be awake during procedure. He was told "there's something I can do with the spine" that was it. It was not an emergency; it was, as learned from multiple doctors, something that could be done while awake. There was no medically contraindicated reason why spinal anesthia couldn't be used. She admitted later to patient that because of anxiety she thought it was in his "best interests" to not tell. She said she was concerned that, if patient knew, he might not listen to her recommendation. After admitting, she tried saying they did discuss risks & what she meant by a spinal -- and that he forgot from anesthesia. He wanted a peer-review; risk management suddenly dropped him & closed the case; & hospital told him he's not allowed on property even as a patient.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Matthew R Schutz

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . The doctor is the expert you hire to advise and treat you. He or she should answer your questions accurately and truthfully. You may wish to retain a malpractice attorney and have him review the records

  2. Michael David Lindner Jr

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . The general standard of care applicable to an anesthesiologist is for the doctor to get the patient’s informed consent before providing anesthesia treatment. A doctor has a duty to evaluate the relevant information and disclose all courses of treatment that are medically reasonable under the circumstances. In order to obtain the patient's informed consent, the doctor must tell the patient not only about the alternatives that the doctor recommends, but also about all medically reasonable alternatives that the doctor does not recommend. Accordingly, the doctor must discuss all medically reasonable courses of treatment, and the probable risks and outcomes of each alternative. By not discussing these alternatives, the doctor breaches the patient's right to make an informed choice and effectively makes the choice for the patient.

    That said, it is unclear from your question whether any injury occurred. To bring a claim against a doctor, you would need to show that the doctor violated the standard of care (did not give proper informed consent) and that this failure/violation caused some harm or injury to you. Absent some injury to you, there is no legal claim to pursue.

    However, if you feel strongly that the doctor did not properly treat you, an alternative is always to make a report to the Board of Medical Examiners.

    Each case is fact senstive, so all answers should be viewed as general advice only, and should never replace a... more

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