NHS doctor explains special cases where a surgeon doesn’t need consent

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An NHS doctor says there are instances where your surgeon might be able to make decisions and even remove organs without your consent.

In a TikTok video, Dr Karan Rajan responds to a follower who is asking what happens if a surgeon finds something unexpected and “needs to make a cut” without consent.

In response, Dr Karan, himself a general surgeon, says: “These are known as incidental findings.

“The patient is asleep and you can’t wake them up to gain consent, what we’ve found is incidental and unexpected, we didn’t plan for it before and consent for that.

“In these situations, it depends what we’ve found. If it is something life-threatening we will act in your best interests even though we don’t have specific consent for that.



The NHS surgeon explains consent
The NHS surgeon explains consent

“Those are rare and unexpected findings can usually wait until you’re awake so we can discuss options with you.”

As an example of something that might upset a patient and be an ethical issue, Dr Karan says a surgeon could “remove someone’s ovaries on the assumption they’d found a tumour” and later find out they were wrong.

The video was watched more than 430,000 times and people were divided in the comments section, with saying they fully trusted a surgeon to act in their best interests.



Getty Images/iStockphoto
surgeon in an operating room

One user said: “Nah if I’m cut open and you find something by accident just carry on so we don’t need to go back a second time.”

“If I’m cut open and you find something life-threatening I’d rather you deal with it there and then,” a second commented.

Someone else said: “My dad went in for a triple heart bypass and came out with a quadruple heart bypass I think that fits into this.”

A fourth user wrote: “I went in for a lap band my surgeon found a hernia and repaired it.”

Dr Karan also has a YouTube channel and an Instagram page where he shares more medical trivia and videos.