Misleading information renders invalid patient consent

Misleading information renders invalid patient consent

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Misleading information provided to patient before operation renders her consent invalid

Julie had a history of suffering from piles and was referred to a specialist by her GP to discuss further treatment options. At her first appointment with the specialist she was advised that the only treatment which would get rid of the bleeding was a surgical haemorrhoidectomy. Although anxious about this surgery, Julie agreed to go on the waiting list for the operation.

Before her scheduled operation, Julie received a letter from the specialist explaining that a more modern technique for a haemorrhoidectomy had recently been developed which used a special stapling device. The specialist informed Julie that a very experienced surgeon in this technique would be visiting the hospital on the date of her proposed operation, and should Julie wish, this surgeon could carry out her haemorrhoidectomy using the new, less painful, technique.

Under the impression that the visiting surgeon would be performing the operation, Julie decided to consent to the operation. However, it turned out that the operation was in fact performed by the original specialist with the visiting surgeon acting as his assistant.

The note from the operation revealed that the initial stapling was insufficient and a second stapling had to be carried out. Julie was left in a lot of pain and discomfort and experienced a number of complications from the procedure. This led to her requiring repeated hospital admissions and a permanent colostomy.

Julie approached Access Legal for assistance in bringing a claim against the hospital. Andrea Rusbridge, her solicitor, helped Julie to successfully argue that her consent for the haemorrhoidectomy was invalid as she had been led to believe that the operation was going to be performed by the visiting surgeon who was experienced in the new technique, whereas this was not in fact the case.

Following mediation Julie received a sum in compensation for the serious injuries that were caused to her as a consequence of the operation.

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