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Doctors can’t force you to accept care

| May 21, 2015 | Medical Malpractice

There may come a time when your doctor believes you need medical care in Florida and you don’t want it. When offered the care, you may turn it down. Can your doctor still force it upon you, even though you have made your wishes known?

The fact of the matter is that doctors cannot do this, and they have been barred from doing it for a long time. In 1914, a judge named Benjamin Cardozo said in a ruling that any adult who had a “sound mind” could then make decisions about his or her body, without outside influence. This included declining care, even against a doctor’s best judgment.

Still, this is something that happens from time to time. According to a lawsuit filed in 2008, a construction worker told doctors not to give him a rectal exam. He begged them not to and even got in a physical altercation with them as they tried to pin him down and administer it against his wishes. To force him to comply, the suit said the doctors gave him a sedative and then carried on with the exam.

The man then claimed, among other things, that he had developed a case of post-traumatic stress disorder.

No matter your condition, you always have the right to refuse treatment, and being forced into an exam or any other type of procedure against your will could be medical malpractice. The only exception to this is when it is determined that someone is not of sound mind, meaning he or she can’t make rational decisions, which is why the power of medical attorney may be given to a family member.

If medical care has been forced on you and you’ve suffered an injury like the construction worker above, you may want to seek financial compensation.

Source: Slate, “But I Don’t Want a Rectal Exam!,” Michelle Tsai, accessed May. 21, 2015

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