Doctor does not have to point out the risk of death

A doctor does not always have to point out a possible risk of death

Doctors do not always have to point out a possible risk of death of a patient before an operation. This was decided by the Higher Regional Court (OLG) in Frankfurt am Main. The court dismissed the lawsuit of a daughter whose mother died after an operation.

The Frankfurt Higher Regional Court ruled: Doctors do not have to point out a possible risk of death in every case. According to the judges, it is generally known that any major medical procedure under general anesthesia is associated with considerable risks. In some cases, medical procedures under anesthesia can result in serious damage to the health or even death of the patient. In the specific case, the daughter of a deceased patient had brought an action for damages against the attending doctor. During a medical procedure, the mother's left artery was injured, causing the woman to die during the operation. The applicant complained to the doctor that he had not sufficiently informed the mother about the risks of the operation. In addition, the intervention would have been done incorrectly.
The court did not accept either of the applicant's arguments. Finally, the doctor was able to provide credible evidence that the patient had been informed about the dangers of nerve and vascular injuries as well as bleeding, thrombosis or an embolism. Thus, the doctor informed the deceased about the significant risks for an orthopedic intervention and complied with his obligation to provide information. There are also no findings for malpractice or treatment errors, the court said. The lawsuit was dismissed. The judgment bears the file number: AZ: 8 U 88/10, OLG Frankfurt. (sb)

Image: Peter Kirchhoff /

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