Can a doctor perform a sterilization without my consent?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a doctor perform a sterilization without my consent?

I gave birth and underwent a
c- section..after surgery,
the doctor informed me that
he tied my tubes. There was
no medical emergency or
reason for doing this and i
did not give my
permission.this happened
about 10 years ago in
california, but i was just
recently informed that it
may be illegal

Asked on June 1, 2018 under Malpractice Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, in a non-emergency situation, a doctor may not perform any medical procedure on you without your consent unelss you were legally incompetent to manage your own affairs (e.g. you were a minor; you were mentally incompetenent due to mental illness or drug addiction), in which case your legal guardian could consent for you.
After 10 years, it may be too late to take any legal action; while your state does allow an action (e.g. a malpractice case) to be brought 1 year after discovery of the cause of action, "discovery" generally means discovering the injury or harm--not discovering that the legalities were not what you though they were. It would be worth it for you to consult with a medical malpractice attorney to see if you could still take legal action (and if you want to check with an attorney and explore this, do so *now*, before more time goes by), but you need to be prepared that too much time may have passed and you might not be allowed to bring any case.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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