Four Surprisingly Common Surgical Errors

May 10, 2018 | David Abels
Four Surprisingly Common Surgical Errors All medical procedures, including surgeries, have associated risks. Although surgeons and other health care providers are expected to take all of the necessary measures and precautions to avoid surgical mishaps, serious mistakes still sometimes happen. When those errors and omissions cause injuries and damages, the parties responsible can be held accountable under the law. Some of the most likely causes of surgical errors include neglect, poor communication between doctors and nurses, misdiagnosis, surgeon incompetence, and botched procedures. When a doctor, operating room nurse, or other health care provider makes a surgical error, it usually falls under the umbrella of medical malpractice. When a surgeon makes a preventable error during a surgical procedure, the injured patient may be able to file a malpractice claim against the negligent surgeon, as well as the hospital or medical facility where the malpractice occurred. In some cases, the hospital or medical facility may be vicariously liable for the surgical error that occurred. This is especially true if the surgeon committed errors in the past or had numerous prior patient complaints that the facility failed to address. If you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries and damages as a result of a surgical mistake, the law may entitle you to monetary recovery of your costs. You may also be able to recover non-economic damages in your case, including compensation for pain and suffering, loss of use of a body part, or loss of enjoyment of life. The medical malpractice lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. can meet with you to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case and evaluate whether we may be able to pursue money damages on your behalf.

Failing to Properly Maintain Surgical Instruments

Viruses and germs—including antibiotic-resistant bacteria—are commonplace in hospitals and other medical facilities. Consequently, when it comes to surgeries and other medical procedures, the importance of cleanliness and sterilization cannot be overlooked. It is extremely important that surgeons and their staff ensure that all surgical equipment, including scalpels, forceps, and other instruments are properly maintained and sterilized. Failure to do so can result in patient infection and serious complications. If you suffer a secondary infection after surgery, review of your case by an independent medical provider may reveal that the surgeon or hospital staff failed to properly sterilize surgical equipment and establish a viable medical malpractice claim.

Misdiagnosing a Patient’s Medical Condition

In order to properly perform a surgical procedure, the health care provider must first correctly diagnose the patient’s medical condition. Failure to accurately diagnose symptoms may result in an unnecessary or incorrect surgical procedure. The injured patient may be forced to endure additional corrective surgeries, or other costly procedures with long recovery times. When this occurs, the injured patient may have a valid medical malpractice claim.

Botched Surgical Procedures

Medical doctors, including surgeons, are held to a high standard of care. In most cases, doctors are held to the standard of care of a “reasonable doctor” in the geographical area where the medical care and treatment took place. Specialists, such as orthopedists and neurosurgeons, are typically held to a national standard of care. In order to prove medical or surgical malpractice, the injured patient must establish that the surgeon breached – or violated – the reasonableness standard of care. The patient must also be able to show that the surgical error directly resulted in the claimed injuries and damages. Following the applicable standard of care requires that surgeons perform their duties carefully and that they perform a surgical procedure correctly. This includes ensuring that no sponges, towels, surgical instruments, or other foreign objects are left inside a patient’s body prior to closing it up after the surgery, as well as properly cleaning and treating the surgical wound. In addition, surgical errors can result from surgeon inexperience – and in some cases, surgeon fatigue. This is especially true when surgeons are expected to work for hours on end with little or no rest. If you suffer a botched surgical procedure, your lawyer may investigate whether your surgeon had sufficient experience to perform your surgery and how many hours your surgeon had worked before your procedure.

Performing Unnecessary Surgeries

Prior to performing a surgery or other serious medical procedure, a patient must ordinarily provide written consent. After providing the proper consent, the surgeon is responsible for ensuring that the correct body part is properly marked—and that the correct surgical procedure is performed. In some cases, the surgeon performs a medical procedure on the wrong body part or performs a different procedure altogether, resulting in a valid medical malpractice claim.

Call a Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case

When a surgeon commits an error, injured patients may be entitled to recover compensation under Illinois law. However, an injured patient must ordinarily file a surgical malpractice claim or lawsuit within two years of the date on which he or she discovered – or reasonably should have discovered – the surgical injury. Some exceptions apply to this deadline, and time may be of the essence in your case. If you suspect that a surgeon committed a serious error and you have sustained injuries and damages as a result, you should call a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Insurance companies vigorously defend surgical malpractice claims, and surgeons and hospitals have powerful lawyers on their side. You should too. The medical malpractice lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. can meet with you to determine whether or not you have a viable claim for surgical malpractice. If you have a viable claim, our team of attorneys can pursue monetary compensation on your behalf and take your case to trial if necessary.

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