Can a doctor insert a urinary catheter without your consent?

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Can a doctor insert a urinary catheter without your consent?

Upon the recommendation of my internist, I went to a specialist for a hormone-related problem. When the nurse instructed me to go to the bathroom and leave a urine sample, I told her I didn’t need a urinalysis and culture. Since nobody explained otherwise, I thought that was the end of it. Instead, while I was laying on the exam table and the doctor was supposedly conducting a gynecological exam, she inserted a catheter into my bladder. I just received a bill which includes $337 in additional charges for this procedure which took a minute andwas done without my consent. Under the circumstances, can I be held liablefor the charges? Should I speak with a personal injury attorney?

Asked on May 9, 2011 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As for whether or not this constitutes medical malpractice (generally an action that goes beyond the scope of accepted medical practice) and whether or not there are resulting injuries (other than the charge for the procedure) to give rise to your sustaining a lawsuit is very different from your fundamental right to refuse a procedure - which you did - and which was ignored by the doctor.  The doctor may argue that it was "medically necessary" but I fail to see how that will fly if you had no complaints.  Maybe it is considered part of the entire examination and he or she felt that it was just good medical practice?  But if you refused then the doctor should have had you sign a waiver.  I would dispute the bill.  I would call the office and I would call the lab and I would file a complaint.  Make noise.  Good luck.


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