Islamic Laws

Rules Regarding Surgery

By: Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei’i
Question 58: A doctor has certainty that performing surgery on a certain patient will not make him live longer. He knows that if the patient has surgery or not he will not live for more than a short period of time. Is it permissible for him to perform surgery because of the insistence of the patient’s family or the rules of the hospital?
Answer: There is no problem, with the condition that it does not have an affect on his death.
Question 59: Some patients are adults and sane and need surgery, but because of fear or any other reason choose to endure pain and refrain from surgery. The patient’s family also does not give permission for surgery. The doctor knows that if the patient does not have surgery he will die or be inflicted with a serious injury. In this case can the doctor perform the surgery?
Answer: If saving his life is dependent on the surgery there is no problem.
Question 60: A woman wants to give birth but a specialist determines that either the mother or child will die in surgery so that one of them will live. Without the surgery both of them will die and with the surgery there is a good chance that one of them will live. Is surgery permissible in this case? If so, which life should be saved?
Answer: As per the question, it is permissible to perform the surgery and which ever person has the better chance of living should be saved.
Question 61: Does a doctor need to explain the side effects that a surgery might have to the patient?
Answer: He does not need to.
Question 62: Sometimes doctors have to tie a child’s legs while performing circumcision, or, due to the baby’s screams, hold the mouth of the baby. All of this could be prevented by putting the baby to sleep and then performing the operation. In this case what should be done?
Answer: as per the question, the opinion of the doctor is important. He should perform the operation in whatever way is easier and the chance of success greater.

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