What Happens When Your Doctor Performed A Major Procedure Without Consent?

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be bitter affairs because they so often take place subsequent to a major surgery that had big — and unfortunate — impacts on a person’s day to day life thereafter. Sometimes these lawsuits arise after a doctor performs a major medical procedure without informed consent. The argument is that a person was able to provide that consent, and therefore should have been asked.

Performing a major medical procedure without consent is legal, so long as the person’s life was in immediate danger. The counterargument, therefore, is that time was of the essence, and there was no way an unconscious individual could be safely revived long enough to obtain consent. 

If a person is unconscious but his or her life is not in danger, the decision might be kicked over to a spouse or someone with durable power of attorney over the decision-making process. The plaintiff’s argument is usually that this person should have been asked.

The defendant’s counterargument is once again that time was of the essence.

This was the basis of at least eight medical malpractice lawsuits in Virginia after a doctor allegedly performed hysterectomies without informed consent. Javaid Perwaiz, 69, was recently arrested for the alleged crimes of health care fraud and making a false statement to federal investigators, both of which are felonies.

The case arose when one of Perwaiz’s patients was diagnosed with cancer. Perwaiz told the woman she would need a hysterectomy. She said no. She requested that only her ovaries be removed. When she went into the operating room, Perwaiz accidentally made an incision into her bladder, which resulted in life-threatening sepsis.

Even worse, Perwaiz performed the abdominal hysterectomy after his patient had expressly asked him not to. Perwaiz will have a difficult time explaining why the decision was ultimately made, as the patient’s medical records have the operation listed as elective, when clearly it was not.

This was not the first time that Perwaiz performed an operation without consent. In other cases, he scared women into consenting by mentioning the possibility of cancer when no cancer cells had actually been discovered.

He has also been in legal trouble before. He was accused of similar crimes in 1982 at a hospital in Portsmouth. In the years since then, there have been at least eight medical malpractice lawsuits filed against him for unnecessary, life-threatening, or negligent procedures or surgeries subsequent to request for less invasive operations.

It is not yet known whether or not the federal charges filed against him will bolster a possible civil case against him.

The point is this: if a doctor performs a procedure without your consent when your life is not in danger, he has committed a crime. You need to find a medical malpractice attorney and contact the police to file charges or build a lawsuit.