What are my rights if a doctor performed a procedure more extensive than the one that I consented to?

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What are my rights if a doctor performed a procedure more extensive than the one that I consented to?

I had 2 obstructions in my urethra. The doctor told me after several examinations that he would make 2 incisions to make the repairs. In the case of the one closest to the tip of my penis he would need to take “a small piece ” of my foreskin “of which I had a lot” to aid in the repair. At no time did he mention circumcision or removal of the entire foreskin. I only found out when I came out of ansthesia. I am 70 years old and never thought I would experience such an extreme loss of sensitivity. Is this grounds for a lawsuit and, if so, what are the odds of winning?

Asked on December 10, 2014 under Malpractice Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If it turned out to be necessary while you were on the operating table that a complete circumscion or foreskin removal be performed (e.g. some diseased or damaged tissue was discovered that required it, or the repairs to the uretha required more removal), then the doctor would seem to have done what was medically necessary and appropriate and there would be no malpractice.

If it was not medically necessary, then given the lack of consent, it may be malpractice. But even if it were, you might not win enough to make the lawsuit worthwhile: you could only recover an amount commensurate with the injury, and since "loss of sensitivity" is subjective and difficult to prove, and some jurors may be skeptical about how much it matters in a man of 70 years, it might not be something you get a large award for--especially since circumscision is a common procedure and there is medical literature that it does not cause any significant issues with sexual performance or enjoyment. Furthermore, for all malpractice cases, you have to hire a medical expert of your own to testify, and such are very expensive; you could spend as much on the lawsuit (or more) then you would recover.


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