Medical malpractice cases are a widespread problem in the United States and within that genre of personal injury cases, surgical errors are a relatively frequent occurrence. Each year the number of medical errors that occur in the nation cost approximately $37.6 billion, of which $17 billion is tied to a case involving preventable damage. Sadly, one patient out of every three hundred dies from such horrible negligence on the part of the physicians, nurses, and surgeons. While mistakes can occur within the medical field that results in horrible outcomes, the real tragedy happens when these medical professionals act carelessly and endanger the well-being of their patients.
Negligence vs. Complications
Surgical procedures pose a risk to any patient as they are a delicate process, not to mention that they are being put under for the duration of the surgery. Even the most careful doctor can make a minor error while in surgery that could be life-changing to the individual on the operating table. This is not to be confused with surgical complications. If a patient has a pre-existing health issue, are older in age, have a predisposition for sickness because of a certain disease or other factors when going into surgery, problems that ensue may not be the fault of the surgeon. It is important to realize that not all issues within these kinds of procedures are because of negligent actions. Only in cases where the doctor has lost control of the situation or makes a preventable mistake can a case of medical malpractice be pursued.
Common Causes Resulting in Issues
There are many different ways that individuals can experience malpractice while under the knife, but we have listed a few of the most common below. It is not a comprehensive list and it is best to contact an attorney first before pursuing legal recourse.
- Wrong-site surgery: According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), approximately 1 in every 112,000 non-spinal operations experience wrong-site surgery. This is staggering considering this error entails performing a procedure on the incorrect portion of the body. For a mistake this major, legal action should definitely be taken with the help of a qualified lawyer.
- Performing the wrong procedure: Surgeons can sometimes complete an entire medical procedure on individuals for incorrect medical conditions. This can be extremely detrimental in surgeries that involve removing portions of internal organs or limbs.
- Surgery on the wrong patient: With all of the charts and records that they keep in hospitals and medical offices, you think it would be impossible to mix up a patient's surgical procedure. This is not the case, however, as there are individuals who have experienced receiving a surgery that was not intended for them and their condition. An error as impactful as this could result in additional medical problems or even death in more serious cases. Due to the fact that the surgeon performed a surgery on someone that it was not intended for could mean that the individual who received the procedure was potentially allergic to medications or anesthetics they used. Dire consequences could ensue after a surgical error this enormous.
- Leaving a surgical instrument in the patient's body: This error occurs more often that one would think and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has noted that an estimated 15,000 surgical patients have had this exact error happen during their procedure in recent years. Anything from sponges to retractors that have been left within the patient's body can cause major infection and disease. It may involve another follow-up surgery to remove the item if it creates a dire health issue. Not only is this time consuming and a hassle to deal with, it is an inexcusable error that necessitates legal action.
- Harm caused during a planned procedure: Even if the doctor is performing the correct surgery, on the right individual and with all the right tools, damage can still happen. Accidents may cause torn organs, excessive bleeding, major harm to the nerves and other issues. If a patient was not warned that these possible side effects could occur during his or her surgery, it could be medical malpractice.
Contact Our AV® Rated Firm
With our commitment to each of our clients, treating each case with respect and compassion, it is evident why we have been rated as a "Superb" firm according to Avvo®, the premier legal ranking website. Representing each of our clients in a dignified and honorable way, we seek to bring about the kind of compensation you deserve in an ethical manner. Our commitment to morality paired with our professional manner has earned us an AV® according to the respected Martindale-Hubbell® peer review system.
Always aiming to protect our clients' rights from the beginning of the case all the way through to the end, we can ensure that we will do all that we can to get to the bottom of your medical malpractice case. Gathering evidence through investigations and other methods, our team is prepared to help you in or out of the courtroom. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our office immediately to find out more how we can assist!