Can I sue the doctors who performed a surgery that caused my husband’s paralysis?

Full Question:

My husband is paralyzed below his neck after he went through a surgery. About 5 months ago, he was diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The doctors had not warned us about the risk. They never specified that paralysis is the probable outcome of the surgery. Also, we were not informed of all his treatment options. There was a possibility of operating only on the part of an aneurysm located in his abdomen. Even though this procedure was more dangerous than the surgery performed, all of the experts whom we consulted stated that it was an option and that it did not carry with it the risk of paralysis. My husband is in a completely vegetative state now. Can I sue the doctors for malpractice?
11/09/2016   |   Category: Negligence   |   State: ALL   |   #26482


Yes, you can sue the doctors for medical malpractice. A doctor who is about to suggest or perform surgery on patients must fully inform their patients regarding the risks involved in the proposed medical procedure. This is done so that the patients decide for themselves whether such proposed medical procedure should be taken up or not.  In medical and legal terms, this is call “informed consent”.

It is generally accepted that informed consent includes a discussion of the following elements:
  1. The nature of the decision/procedure
  2. Reasonable alternatives to the proposed intervention
  3. The relevant risks, benefits, and uncertainties related to each alternative
  4. Assessment of patient understanding
  5. The acceptance of the intervention by the patient
In your case, the doctors had not taken your consent as they did not warn you about the risk of the surgery. They also did not recommend the alternative that all the other experts had stated. Therefore, they may be prosecuted for violating the norms of informed consent.