Indexed on: 21 Sep '07Published on: 21 Sep '07Published in: Der Unfallchirurg
Whether an operation is indicated or not is a question that is a frequent subject of discussion between physicians and the legal front. As the state has the duty to protect its citizens, any physical surgical operation is legally seen as a personal injury. Only if the patient completely agrees to the surgery after being carefully informed about it is the element of criminal offense (personal injury) revoked. The obligation to disclose medical information on the surgery applies to information on the operation itself and on the possible consequences to the patient in his/her physical and mental social environment. In particular, the patient must be given all information about the risks that could arise during and after the surgery. The legislative aim of this is not to treat a list of questions and to mention all possible risks, but the legislator wants to oblige physicians to give patients who have reached the age of majority full information on diagnosis and therapy and to enable them to consider the pros and cons of the surgery carefully and then to agree to the operation or to refuse it. Besides the obligation to disclose medical information in emergency cases, the obligation to disclose medical information to minors also makes heavy demands on the physician. Examples of contraindications are given.