Baltimore Medical Malpractice Law Firm: A Different Kind of Battery

Most people have heard of someone being arrested on charges of assault and battery, and because the phrase usually refers to a criminal charge, it conjures up images of a violent attack. But the words are also used in the field of civil litigation. In this context, assault refers to a threat of physical injury, even if no contact actually occurs. More interestingly, battery does not necessarily mean someone was battered. It simply refers to one person touching another person in any way without his or her consent.

With that definition in mind, it is not hard to see how medical malpractice lawsuits often include a claim of medical battery. It does not mean your doctor beat you up, although you would certainly have grounds for both criminal and civil actions if that were to happen. Claims of medical battery arise when a doctor or other medical practitioner does anything to you for which you did not specifically give permission, regardless of whether there was any injury or negligence involved.

Sometimes, even reviving a patient who is near death can be seen as medical battery if the patient has expressed, via an Advance Directive or a Do Not Resuscitate request, a desire not to be kept alive through artificial means. However, in these situations, Maryland courts have tended to back doctors who err on the side of life. More often, medical battery claims are triggered by:

  • Doctors administering unwanted or unnecessary treatments
  • Physicians failing to provide adequate information to their patients, so that it is unclear exactly what the patient is consenting to
  • Surgeons who, in the midst of a procedure, decide to take an action that is beyond the scope of what the patient has agreed to
  • Surgeons who — believe it or not — perform the wrong procedure or operate on the wrong body part
  • Botched operations performed by someone other than the doctor to whom the patient gave consent

If you believe you are a victim of medical battery, consult an experienced lawyer at the Baltimore medical malpractice law firm of LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. to see what your options are.