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Medical Malpractice Claims Based on Surgical Errors

by onApril 03, 2018

The term “medical malpractice” covers a variety of negligent actions by medical professionals ranging from misdiagnosis to improper administration of anesthesia. While all of these mistakes can have serious and even deadly consequences, surgical errors are perhaps the most dangerous and pervasive type of negligence-based medical error, as victims are often forced to spend thousands of dollars to receive additional medical care to fix the physician’s error, while others remain permanently disabled. If you were injured as a result of a surgical error, it is important to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can help ensure that your claim is filed correctly and on time.

Types of Surgical Errors

Most patients who go in for surgery are aware that there are always risks involved. In fact, before a patient can undergo surgery, he or she must acknowledge and accept those risks, which could include side effects or other dangers. While patients are usually not permitted to file claims based on these accepted risks, there are some surgical errors, attributed purely to the negligence or recklessness of a surgeon or nurse, that patients should never expect. For example, a surgical error involving a medical instrument left inside of a patient’s body is an obvious breach of reasonable care and so can form the basis of a claim for damages. Other common and compensable surgical errors include:

  • Operating on the wrong patient;
  • Operating on the wrong body part;
  • Making a miscalculation while anesthetizing a patient, causing oxygen deprivation;
  • Using a non-sterile surgical instrument; and
  • Failing to use proper surgical techniques.

While some surgical errors can be repaired, others cause permanent damage. For example, anesthesia errors that lead to oxygen deprivation can cause irreparable brain damage and even death.

Demonstrating Fault

It is generally understood by lawmakers and patients alike that surgical procedures require extreme technical precision and are by nature, risky, so hospitals and surgeons cannot be held liable every time a surgery does not have the intended results. To ensure that claims are legitimate, courts require injured patients to provide evidence that a surgeon’s actions fell below the standard of care that another medical professional with the same training would have used in similar circumstances. Plaintiffs must then prove that the surgeon’s actions directly led to their injury. Although this may seem like a daunting task, in many surgical error cases demonstrating fault is a relatively straightforward process, as even non-medical professionals recognize that operating on the wrong patient or body part or failing to remove an instrument from a patient’s body will never satisfy the level of care required of surgeons. Those who are able to demonstrate negligence will be eligible to collect damages to cover the cost of past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning ability, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and funeral/burial costs.

Consult with a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

To speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer about your own surgical error-related injury, please call Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC at 419-241-5500 today.

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