Doctors and other health care providers go through many years of medical training before they earn their medical licenses and even more training before they can perform surgery. Patients place their lives in the hands of surgeons whenever they undergo a surgical procedure. Unfortunately, mistakes do occur and the consequences can be devastating.
If you suspect a medical error, you should promptly contact an experienced surgical error attorney to discuss your legal options and possible compensation.
What is a Surgical Error?
A surgical error includes any mistake that a surgeon or his or her staff makes before, during, or after the procedure. Before surgery, surgeons and medical staff are obligated to determine if their patient is a safe candidate for the procedure, to discuss all the risk factors with them, and to properly prepare them for the surgery.
Even if no errors were committed during the procedure, the patient still must be adequately cared for during recovery to prevent infections or any other preventable conditions resultant from the procedure.
Common Types of Surgical Errors
Failure to Identify Possible Complications
Not all patients who need a particular operation are physically ready for it or may be unable to endure the process without serious complications. Patients with medical histories including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, allergies to certain medications, or some other ailment, must be thoroughly evaluated to determine if the patient is a viable candidate for the planned procedure.
Through miscommunication, misreading of a chart, an error in scheduling, or plain carelessness, hospitals and doctors occasionally perform the wrong operation. The mistaken removal of a healthy limb does occur, and a victim or his or her family should consult a surgical error attorney immediately to discuss their rights and possible avenues for proper compensation.
Anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists medicate patients to keep them unconscious during surgery or to relieve pregnant women’s pain during labor. Errors can occur when administering the wrong dosage or the wrong medicine, or the anesthesia may be given too late during the process. A mechanical failure or leakage in the equipment can lead to a patient regaining consciousness. Awakening during a procedure also can jeopardize the operation and lead to serious complications, severe pain, and other traumas. Anesthesia errors can also lead to loss of oxygen to the optic nerve resulting in blindness. Many malpractice claims result from this type of error.
Tools Left Behind
Surgeons, or their staff, do leave clamps, sponges, scalpels or other instruments in the patient by mistake on occasion. This occurs more often during emergency procedures when physicians and their staff are under the most stress. There are about 1,500 cases each year, nationwide. In many cases, but not all, the error is discovered, leading to another procedure to remove the instrument and the patient recovers without serious complications. Anyone who has been a victim of an improper surgical procedure should consult with a malpractice attorney to consider whether a claim is warranted or not.
A surgeon who mistakenly cuts into another organ may not have realized the error and the patient can suffer before the error is detected. Usually, the patient must undergo another procedure to correct the error.
Improper Incision and Suturing
An improper incision can lead to excessive bleeding and infection. Not suturing an incision correctly can lead to surgical site infection or reopening of the site. Occasionally, this can lead to scarring or organ damage. Failure to adequately care for a patient who develops an infection or other complication from these errors can also lead to malpractice claims.
Complications from Errors
The list of possible complications from various surgical errors is extensive. Common reactions include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cardiac arrest
- Vision loss
Aftermath of a Surgical Error
Many surgical errors result in physical and mental anguish and can be accompanied by loss of sight, mobility, scarring, pulmonary or lung problems and other complications.
Physical therapy or other rehabilitation measures may be necessary to restore the victim’s mobility or to learn how to deal with a permanent condition such as loss of sight or a limb. For scarring, a plastic surgeon may be able to disguise or repair damaged skin or cartilage.
Compensation and Litigation
Time is of the essence in any personal injury suit. Do not hesitate to contact a surgical error lawyer to discuss any suspicions you have that an error may have occurred during a procedure that has led to serious medical complications.
Medical malpractice claims in New York and New Jersey are guided by particular time sensitive rules regarding when such cases must be brought to court.
Medical malpractice cases, which include surgical errors or mistakes, involve complex issues that only an experienced surgical error attorney can handle to ensure that you receive all the compensation to which you are entitled.
If you or someone you love has suffered from an error caused by surgery, we want to hear your story. Our experienced malpractice attorneys will review the facts and assist you with your case from beginning to end. We know how to investigate and aggressively pursue accident cases and we will fight for your rights.