Medical Malpractice Claims Involving Surgical Errors: What You Need To Know - O'Connor Acciani & Levy

Medical Malpractice Claims Involving Surgical Errors: What You Need To Know

June 26, 2017 | By O'Connor Acciani & Levy
Medical Malpractice Claims Involving Surgical Errors: What You Need To Know

Surgical errors can cause a variety of severe injuries and complications, from internal damage and excessive bleeding to nerve damage and permanent disfigurement. Sadly, many of these errors were caused by negligence before or during the procedure and could have been prevented. In these situations, victims may be able to obtain compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Below, the Cincinnati medical malpractice attorneys of O’Connor, Acciani & Levy review some of the things you need to know about these cases.

Types Of Surgical Errors

The simplest definition of a surgical error is a preventable mistake made during any type of surgical procedure. There are three main types of surgical errors:

Wrong-Site Surgery

This is when an operation is performed on the wrong part of the body. This could include:
  • Operating on the wrong side of the body
  • Removing body parts from the incorrect side of the body
  • Making an incision in the wrong area
These errors are quite rare, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Wrong-Procedure Surgery

This is when the surgeon performs a procedure the patient did not consent to, such as removing an organ or limb that should not have been removed.

Wrong-Patient Surgery

This occurs when a surgeon performs a procedure on one patient when the procedure was intended for another patient. This type of surgical error may occur due to patients having similar names and the hospital staff’s negligence in following protocols to prevent such an occurrence.

Reasons For Surgical Errors

Surgical errors result from many issues, including:
  • Poor planning
  • Following improper work processes during surgery
  • Lack of or improper communication among hospital staff
  • Physician fatigue
  • Physician incompetence or negligence
  • A physician who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs

How To Prove Malpractice For A Surgical Error

Suffering a surgical error alone is not enough to establish medical malpractice. The following elements of medical malpractice must be established and supported by evidence:

Existence Of A Doctor-Patient Relationship

This is often established by a patient hiring a surgeon to perform an operation and the surgeon agreeing to treat the patient. Once a doctor-patient relationship is established, the physician owes the patient a duty of care to act responsibly and uphold accepted medical standards.

Breach Of Duty Of Care

The surgeon must breach the duty of care owed to the patient. When the physician does not uphold accepted medical standards given the situation and his or her training, the duty is breached. Evidence of the breach is often provided through expert testimony assessing what a similarly trained, competent medical professional would have done in a similar situation. Your attorney must prove that your injury was directly caused by the physician's breach of duty of care.

Existence Of Damages

The victim must have sustained damages due to the physician’s breach of duty of care and subsequent injury. Damages may be monetary, physical, emotional or psychological, such as medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering. A medical malpractice attorney works to gather evidence that supports these elements. Without proper investigation and evidence, a medical malpractice claim will not be successful.

Contact Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys Right Now

If you were the victim of a surgical error, our Cincinnati medical malpractice attorneys may be able to pursue a claim. We have many years of experience holding negligent healthcare providers accountable for the harm they have caused victims. Our firm offers a free, no obligation legal consultation to review your claim. If we determine you have a viable claim, and you decide to proceed, we will not charge legal fees unless you recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and the other damages you have suffered.