The judges are on a roll. After the ground breaking Montgomery case a couple of years ago, we have seen even more cases where the courts have upheld patients’ rights. At last, the law is sticking up for the individual. The days of doctors being over-protected are well and truly over.

In the last year there has been a steady stream of new cases where the courts have been asked to address the question of patient consent. In other words, when a patient signs the usual form before having an operation, did they really know what they were letting themselves in for?

The issue has been much the same:

  • How much should a patient be told before agreeing to undergo non-essential surgery?
  • Did the doctor enter in to a proper discussion about the potential risks and benefits of the intended surgery?
  • Was everything clearly and fully explained and discussed?
  • Was it in a language that the patient could understand rather than complicated medical jargon?
  • What was said about what might go wrong?
  • What were the chances of success or failure of the procedure?
  • Perhaps most importantly, what other treatment options were available?

Surgery should usually be the last option, not the first option. After all, you can’t undo an operation if it doesn’t go according to plan. The easiest way to prevent CRPS after surgery is not to operate at all! Very often, there are plenty of other treatments to try which do not carry the same risks or dreadful consequences.

The courts are well and truly on your side. CRPS after surgery is no longer just “one of those things that can happen”.

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