Surgeries are one of the medical treatments being offered to patients today. Depending on your case or condition, your doctor might suggest that you undergo one. However, just like any treatment, all surgical operations have their own set of risks and complications that may arise. That said, aside from recommending you to have surgery, your doctor should also inform and advise you about these complications. That way, you can make an informed decision about the surgery.
Unfortunately, in some cases, instead of contributing to a patient’s recovery, some surgeries end up not being successful instead. It could be due to the risks or surgical errors. That said, if you think that the surgical injury caused by these errors could’ve been avoided, you can sue for damages.
What Is Surgical Malpractice?
Surgical malpractice is a type of medical malpractice that happens due to the negligent, improper, or unethical activity performed by a surgeon, their assistants, anesthesiologist, and other medical professionals, resulting in additional injuries. Unfortunately, it is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.
When Can You Sue For Surgical Malpractice?
Every surgical operation has its own risks, and not all of these are grounds for medical malpractice. However, if you think that you or your loved ones suffer from a surgical mistake, you might need to call an attorney right away. You can file a medical lawsuit against those involved and help you prove your negligence claims. Although, pursuing a lawsuit can be a lengthy and technical process. So, it is best that you get help from malpractice lawyers to guide you.
To help you understand the process, you and your legal team must establish the following key elements to prove negligence resulting to further injury.
To be able to pursue a successful medical malpractice case, there has to be a proven doctor-patient relationship.
Breach Of Duty
This element refers to the failure of your medical physician to practice a reasonable standard of care when treating your case.
You must also establish and prove that the negligent actions or mistakes made by your medical physician made you suffer additional injuries or worsen your current condition
Aside from the physical injury you have sustained, you must also establish that there are other damages, such as economic and non-economic damages, brought by these injuries. These damages can be your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, long-term disability, and more.
What Are The Types Of Surgical Errors?
Surgical errors happen due to various reasons. This includes careless mistakes or incompetence of the surgeon or medical team handling the patient’s operation, miscommunication, unsanitary practices, and more.
That said, here are some of the common types of surgical mistakes and errors:
Wrong Site Surgery
When a person undergoes surgery, it is to address a medical condition concerning a specific body part or organ. The medical team then bears the responsibility of preparing everything needed for the operation, which includes prepping the surgical site.
This error refers to medical physicians operating on the wrong body part. This is a critical mistake since it may put the patient at significant risk, or worse, cause more fatal repercussions.
More so, aside from not being able to treat and address the original medical condition of the patient, this error can also lead to the unnecessary removal of organs.
Unnecessary Surgical Operation
This error refers to conducting a surgical operation that is not necessary. In other words, there might be a case of misdiagnosis, so the recommendation of surgical intervention is non-essential.
One of the worst and irreversible examples of this error is unnecessary amputation. In this case, the medical physician may have given an incorrect diagnosis of your condition that doesn’t need an amputation. Unnecessary surgical operations can not only cause physical injury and harm but may also cause psychological trauma to the patient.
Negligence And Human Errors
Any mistake done in the operating room can potentially harm the patient. In some cases, it can be minor or minimal, while in some, it can cause permanent damage or death. That said, medical practitioners bear the responsibility to practice diligence and care when performing surgeries.
Unfortunately, there are some instances that negligence and human errors in the operating room happen. To name a few, here are some of those common errors.
Injure Or Damage Other Organs
During the operation, the surgeon is usually working within a limited space, as they are confined to work within the surgical site.
That said, there might be instances wherein the adjacent organ might be accidentally punctured with tools like medical scissors or scalpels. This can cause bleeding and if not properly attended, may lead to health risks and complications.
Incorrect Use Of Anesthesia
Anesthesia plays an important role in any surgical operation. When administered with the proper dosage, it can prevent the patient from feeling any pain during the procedure.
This error occurs when the medical team fails to review the patient’s medical history, which could’ve given them information about the patient’s allergies and the current drug medications they’re taking. This can be fatal, especially if the patient experiences a severe reaction from the anesthesia.
More so, this error also occurs when the anesthesiologist fails to give the proper dosage to the patient.
Surgical Tools Left Inside The Patient
This error is one of the worst medical negligence and human error instances that can be prevented. While it is common for surgeons to use sponges or gauzes during the operation, they should be responsible enough to ensure that no tools get left inside the body.
Aside from causing possible health risks and discomfort to the patient, the patient would need to undergo another surgery just to retrieve the medical tools from their body.
What Are The Compensations You Might Receive?
Lawsuits concerning medical negligence or malpractice usually demand economic and non-economic compensations for all the damages and injuries the patient has sustained.
Economic damages will compensate you for your medical bills and lost wages. Your legal team may also demand compensation for future medical expenses in cases wherein the injury result in lifelong and permanent disability. Also, if the family’s breadwinner died because of the malpractice, they might ask for burial and funeral expenses.
On the other hand, non-economic damages will compensate you for your pain, emotional distress, declining mental health, loss of time with loved ones, suffering, and more.
Surgery is one of the critical medical procedures performed to treat various medical conditions. However, there are instances when these surgical operations fail due to the negligence of the medical team assigned to treat you. These may cause you injuries and damages or worsen your current condition.
In the unfortunate event that you or your loved ones experience this, consider getting legal help. As professionals, they can help you and offer you advice on how best to approach your case.