What Do You Do When Your Doctor Recommends Surgery?

A doctor recommends surgery. Some people would agree to whatever their doctor recommends, believing that the doctor is an expert who has their best interests at heart. Other people would want to find out about all the risks for that type of surgery and other ways to treat the problem without surgery before agreeing to something as serious as an operation. What would you do if your doctor recommended surgery? It’s an important question. Different operations pose different kinds of risks that many people would never expect. If you agree to surgery without considering those risks, you might have to live with a permanent harm that could have been avoided.

What Your Doctor Should Tell You Before Surgery

Unless a patient faces a life-threatening medical emergency and there’s no time to wait, a doctor must get a patient’s “informed consent” to surgery before he operates. InIllinois, doctors must tell their patients about the risks from the surgery that they recommend and what alternatives to surgery are available to treat the medical problem.1 In Wisconsin, doctors must tell their patients what a reasonable person in the patients’ position would want to know before agreeing to surgery. Wisconsin law assumes that people want to know about the risk for any significant injury during surgery – even if the risk is small, how the doctor’s training and experience performing the surgery and the other ways the patient’s problem can be treated.2 3 4

What Can Happen If You Don’t Have Enough Information

Consider the case where the doctor does not tell his patient about the most serious risk of harm from the surgery the doctor recommended and never talked about the safe alternatives to surgery. A man notices a decrease in hearing in one ear and his doctor recommends surgery to replace a small bone that turns sound vibrations into hearing. The doctor doesn’t tell the patient that one of the surgical risks is total deafness in the operated ear or that a hearing aid might improve his hearing without surgery. The man goes ahead with surgery and loses all hearing in the ear.

Questions You Need To Ask Your Doctor

You don’t want to live with a permanent harm that could have been avoided if you had been given enough information before agreeing to surgery. Ask your doctor what you need to know to make a smart decision:

  • What can be done to treat the problem without surgery?
  • What can happen if I do nothing?
  • What training and experience do you have to do this surgery?
  • What are the risks of harm for this particular surgery?
  • How many times have you seen this harm occur?
  • How bad can the harm be?
  • Can the harm be fixed?
  • If the harm can’t be fixed, how will it affect me?

Call Us If You Have Any Questions About Your Surgery

If you or a family member were harmed during surgery and would like to discuss your case, call Sean Burke for a free consultation at (847) 604-3970 or send him an email at [email protected].

Thanks for reading our Newsletter. If you would like to receive more information about how to protect yourself and your family, visit our web site at www.seanburkelaw.comand join our mailing list by clicking the “Join Our Mailing List” icon below. If you have friends or family who might be interested, send it to them by clicking the “Forward to a Friend” icon below.