What if an eye procedure was performed without consent?

UPDATED: Jul 24, 2010

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What if an eye procedure was performed without consent?

My daughter went to see an eye doctor in with her aunt. The office needed permission to see her and they called me to ask for permission. I told them yes it was OK to go ahead the doctor. Then they asked me if I wanted her to get eyesdilated and I told him no. Well he did it anyway without anyone’s permission or consent. My daughter 16 year old didn’t even know what he was really doing. She called me to tell me that her eyes hurt and that she had a headache. They had to actually go back. No one at the office called me to let me know what was going on or what the results were. Is there a need for concern here or am I just being a mom?

Asked on July 24, 2010 under Malpractice Law, Arizona


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Although the doctor should have obtained your consent, he may have observed something in your daughter's eye that required further examination.  Dilating the eye is harmless.  It consists of putting drops in the eye to enlarge the pupil in order to be able to examine the eye in greater detail.  Some people may be sensitive to bright light after dilation, but this usually only lasts a few hours if it occurs at all.

In order to prove malpractice, you would have to prove negligence based on failing to comply with the standard of care  exercised by other eye doctors in your community. 

If the doctor observed something in your daughter's eye that required further examination, dilating the eye was appropriate.  If the doctor had not done that despite observing something that required further examination, that would have fallen below the standard of care exercised by other eye doctors in your community and would have resulted in a potential malpractice claim if subsequent problems developed.  Taking a precaution to examine your daughter's eye by dilating the pupil is NOT malpractice.

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