Surgical errors can have devastating consequences for patients. When these errors are the result of negligence, a medical malpractice claim may be filed to recover compensation for damages.
The Cincinnati medical malpractice attorneys of O’Connor, Acciani & Levy have detailed what you need to know about surgical errors and medical malpractice. We are prepared to assist you throughout the legal process to fight for the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free, no obligation consultation today.
Elements Of A Medical Malpractice Claim
Health care providers cannot be held liable for medical malpractice unless the victim and his or her attorney establish the following four elements of malpractice:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed at the time the error occurred. When a surgeon provides treatment, the doctor-patient relationship is typically established. Once the doctor-patient relationship takes effect, surgeons and other physicians are required to deliver care that meets accepted medical standards for the situation.
- There was a breach of the accepted standard of care for the situation. This means that the physician in question did not deliver the quality of care that any reasonably competent physician would have in similar circumstances.
- The patient was harmed as a result of the physician’s negligence. A patient must have suffered harm directly caused by the negligent action for a claim to be valid – simply committing an error that does not result in harm is not medical malpractice.
- The patient’s injury resulted in specific damages. Damages resulting from a surgical error may include physical pain and mental anguish, additional medical expenses and lost wages or earning capacity.
What Is A Surgical Error?
A surgical error is any error that takes place during surgery that could have been prevented. While all surgeries carry risk, these errors go beyond the risks that could be expected to happen during a procedure.
Causes Of Surgical Errors
Surgical errors can be caused by a number of things, including:
- Incompetence of the surgeon
- Poor preoperative planning
- Incorrect work processes during surgery
- Poor communication between medical staff
- Surgeon fatigue
- Surgeon’s drug or alcohol use
- Poor sanitation and sterilization
Types Of Surgical Errors
There are many types of errors that can occur during a surgical procedure. Common types of surgical errors include:
- Operating on the wrong part of the body – If the wrong body part or side of the body is operated on, the patient receives unnecessary incisions, increasing risk of infection while causing scarring. If the error is not caught, an organ could be removed unnecessarily or other body parts may be damaged.
- Accidental incisions – If the wrong body part is marked for a surgical procedure or the initial incision is not made close enough to the surgical area, the patient will receive unnecessary incisions and scarring.
- Performing the wrong surgery – Miscommunication or misdiagnosis is often the cause when the wrong type of surgery is performed. No matter the cause, performing the wrong type of surgery can cause unnecessary injury for the patient.
- Foreign objects left inside the body – A surgical instrument or tool left in the body cavity during surgery can cause the patient pain and other complications, including requiring additional surgery to remove the object.
- Using incorrect surgical instruments – The use of improper surgical equipment can increase infection risk and result in other complications likes excessive scarring. This is typically caused by poor training and planning prior to a surgical procedure.
- Medical or anesthesia complications – If inappropriate amounts of anesthesia are administered during surgery, patient vitals are not correctly monitored, or the patient’s medical history is not reviewed for allergies or possible drug interactions, serious and even fatal medical complications can occur.
- Improper monitoring of vital signs – When a patient’s vital signs are not correctly monitored throughout the surgery, unnecessary complications, longer surgery times and life-threatening surgical emergencies may result.
- Nerve or tissue damage – The nerves and/or tissue around the surgical site can be damaged if the surgeon is inexperienced or careless during the operation. This damage can result in complications such as paralysis.
Speak With An Experienced Cincinnati Attorney Today
If you sustained harm due to a surgical error, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our Cincinnati medical malpractice lawyers will review your case and help you pursue the maximized compensation you deserve.
Request a free, no obligation consultation today and learn what legal options may be available for pursuing compensation of your injuries. We charge no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.