Thanks to advanced technology, most of the surgeries performed in the United States go well. However, sometimes serious mistakes occur during surgery caused by the negligence of a medical professional. When this happens, you may be entitled to file a medical malpractice claim and seek monetary compensation for your damages. Considered easy to file but challenging to win, a medical malpractice lawsuit for surgical error often needs the skill and expertise of an experienced legal team to result in compensation for the claimant.
Common Surgical Errors
Even the most routine surgeries carry some risks, and it's important to note that not all surgeries that result in injuries are due to malpractice. For a surgical error to be considered medical malpractice, the mistake needs to cause real and demonstrable harm. It also needs to be caused by a medical professional's failure to provide the accepted standard of care.
Medical errors, including those that occur during surgery, affect as many as 98,000 patients each year, according to a 1999 study published by the Institute of Medicine. Defined as preventable mistakes, surgical errors are one of the most common types of medical malpractice lawsuits brought in the United States. Common surgical errors include:
- Wrong-site surgeries. This happens when the surgeon operates on the wrong body part or removes the wrong organ.
- Wrong patient surgery. This occurs when the wrong patient is admitted to surgery, and that patient undergoes an unnecessary procedure.
- Anesthesiology errors. This occurs if too much or too little medication is administered, or the anesthesiologist fails to properly monitor the patient during or after the surgery.
- Equipment mistakes. This involves leaving sponges or other surgical instruments inside a patient.
Surgical errors can cause a number of dangerous complications such as infections, organ and nerve damage, internal bleeding, scarring or disfigurement, permanent disability, or even death. Patients may also require additional surgeries to correct the original surgical error.
Surgical Errors: Common Causes
Mistakes can happen even when doctors and other medical professionals try their best to follow the appropriate safety procedures during surgery. However, medically negligent surgical errors can be caused by a number of usually preventable factors, including:
- Insufficient pre-operative planning. This occurs when there’s failure to review the patient's complete medical history, discuss reactions to medications, and discuss the potential risks of the surgery.
- Miscommunication. Medical professionals may misidentify a patient, indicate an incorrect surgery site, misread medication dosages or reactions, or fail to account for all of the surgical equipment.
- Fatigue. When medical professionals work long shifts, it can cause them to make mistakes in the operating room.
- Drugs or alcohol. As with any one on the job, a medical professional who takes drugs or alcohol can make critical mistakes.
- Substandard work processes. This can occur if a medical professional skips steps or takes surgical shortcuts.
- Incompetence. This can occur due to inadequate training.
- Neglect. This can occur if medical professionals fail to properly sterilize surgical equipment.
Life After a Serious Surgical Error
Depending on the severity of the surgical mistake you suffered, your life after the error may be nothing like it was before the operation. Surgical errors can cause a number of dangerous conditions and complications and may require additional surgeries to fix. These surgeries can leave you or your injured loved one buried in medical debt. Pursuing compensation for your surgical error-related injuries may make it easier to pay for the care you need to heal.
Do You Have a Surgical Error Medical Malpractice Case?
If you or someone in your family suffered serious injuries due to a surgical error caused by medical negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Let the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Inland Empire Law Group help determine if you’re eligible to receive money for current and future medical bills related to the error, lost wages if you are unable to work, and your physical pain and emotional suffering. Call our office today to discuss your case.