When you undergo a surgical procedure, you want to have confidence in your surgeon. Anything less is unacceptable. So, you do your research; you check with your friends and family about their experience with a particular surgeon; and you check all his or her references. But, if something goes wrong with your surgery, how do you know if the undesirable outcome was a surgical mistake that is considered medical malpractice?
For example, when a surgeon cuts the wrong body part and fails to acknowledge it or address it, the mistake may be a case of negligence. And, if a surgeon cuts you without properly identifying his or her intended cut and cause injury or harm, that may be a case of negligence as well. However, if a surgeon operates on the wrong body part during surgery, immediately recognizes his or her mistake and does everything possible to repair it, negligence may not be so obvious. Very detailed records are dictated during surgery, so you do have a record to consult whenever you think an act of negligence has occurred. Many times surgical errors are apparent in these operative notes. Examination of these dictated operative notes can oftentimes indicate whether or not your surgical procedure followed the expected standard or care or not, the basis for a case of negligence and medical malpractice.
Most Common Causes of Surgical Injuries
Unfortunately, surgical errors happen more often than you might think. Some of the most common causes of surgical injuries include the following.
- Wrong site surgery – when the surgeon operates on the wrong body part.
- Use of the wrong surgical procedure – This may even include removal of the wrong body part, organ, or tissue.
- Leaving of a surgical instrument in the body – The Center for Disease Control estimates that some 15,000 surgical patients have had a surgical instrument left in their body. Some of the instruments include items like retractors, surgical sponges, and surgical towels.
- Performance of a surgical procedure unrelated to the patient’s condition.
- Performance of a surgical procedure unrelated to the patient’s diagnosis.
- Injury that resulted as a result of the surgical procedure that was a risk that the surgeon knew about, but failed to warn the patient about before obtaining consent for the surgery.
Consult with an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer Concerning Your Surgical Error Medical Malpractice Claim
If you have suffered injury at the hands of a surgeon and believe your injury was an act of negligence on the part of that surgeon, his medical team, or the hospital, you may have the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to recoup damages for that injury. Correction of a surgical error or the lifelong challenge that such a mistake can cause is expensive. And, while you may not be able to undo the damage or injury you have suffered as the result of a surgical error, you may be able to receive financial assistance in the form of a settlement or litigation award to help you cope with the situation. To determine if you have a medical malpractice case as the result of a surgical error that caused you injury, contact an experience medical malpractice lawyer for an evaluation of your claim.