Surgeons have spent decades honing the skills that are necessary to perform critical, and often life-saving, surgical procedures. Despite all the education and training, these doctors do make mistakes, as do other members of the surgical team. Unfortunately, these errors often lead to terrible injuries and fatalities for the victims of the malpractice.
Surgical malpractice is one of the most dramatic forms of medical errors because it usually is very evident that something went wrong at the time of the mistake, or soon after. Other types of malpractice may take weeks, or even months, to diagnose.
Although there are many different types of errors that fall within the classification of surgical mistakes, some of the most common include:
- Harm to internal organs and other tissues – There is a reason why a person who becomes a surgeon must have steady hands. During a surgical procedure, a doctor might inadvertently nick an organ and not realize it during the procedure. If this type of damage is not corrected quickly, it could lead to severe permanent injuries or death.
- Wrong site surgery – Although this does not happen that often, when it does, it has horrific consequences. A person who goes in for surgery to remove a damaged left kidney, but has the healthy right one removed instead may never recover, especially if he requires an organ transplant and the wait time is too long. Even where the outcome is less severe, such as a person needing knee surgery on his right knee gets the procedure on his left because the surgical team made a mistake, it can lead to an extra recovery period and the need to go in for another surgery, with which there always are associated risks.
- Wrong patient surgery – These types of errors also are relatively rare, but can lead to serious harm. If a person is in a hospital or other medical facility for one type of procedure, such as the removal of his gallbladder, and instead receives open heart surgery because the surgical team misidentified the patient, then the long-term harm can be catastrophic for the individual and his family. In cases where the medical facility did not have the proper protocols in place to ensure that the right person received the right treatment, there also may be a cause of action against the facility.
- Anesthesia errors – The anesthesiologist performs a critical function during surgeries, administering the correct dosage and monitoring the patient for signs of negative reactions. If the doctor or those working with him makes a mistake, then it could lead to oxygen deprivation and other severe consequences.
- Operating with unsanitary surgical tools – Unfortunately, this is far more common than many people realize. The introduction of dangerous bacteria and other disease vectors on a person who already has a compromised immune system from the underlying medical condition and/or the stress on the body from the surgery can lead to deadly consequences.
- Surgical tools left in the body – It is imperative for a surgical team to keep track of all tools used during a surgery, including gauze, sponges, and surgical tools. If the medical professionals involved in a surgery do not pay attention, then the foreign objects left in a patient can cause severe complications.
- Nerve damage – There are several different ways for a patient to suffer nerve damage during a surgical procedure, but often this type of damage is caused by inadvertent nicking during the surgery or the improper administration of anesthesia, leading to serious and long-term nerve damage.
If a person has been injured during surgery and the error did not have to happen if the doctor or other medical professional had exercised reasonable care, then it may be possible to bring a medical malpractice case against the healthcare professional. This does not mean that it always is possible to bring suit if a surgery does not have the anticipated results. It is necessary to take a close look at what happened in order to determine whether the medical professional is liable for the harm that was done. This is done by comparing what a reasonable surgeon or other healthcare provider with similar education, training, and experience would have done under the same circumstances. If the actions that were taken diverge significantly from the established standard of care, then it is possible to bring a successful medical malpractice case.
Stern Law, PLLC Fights for Those Injured During Surgery
When a person has been injured as the result of a mistake made during surgery, the long-term harm may be severe, leading to terrible pain and suffering and terrible financial consequences for the injured patient and his or her family. At Stern Law, PLLC, our attorney understands how far-reaching the impact of a surgical mistake can be; we have spent more than 30 years fighting for the rights of those who have been injured as the result of a medical professional making a preventable mistake. In addition, Stern Law, PLLC has compassionate and knowledgeable staff members available to answer any questions relating to medical malpractice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of whether or not you are a client. Call us at 1-844-808-7529 or fill out an online contact form in order to learn how we can help you get through this difficult time.