Surgical procedures are often frightening enough for patients without considering the odds of a hospital staff member making a mistake. When you lie on an operating table, the last thing you’d expect is to leave with a different injury or worsened prognosis. In the worst cases, surgical errors result in permanent disability or death. While not all surgical complications are malpractice, some are flagrant examples of what surgeons, anesthesiologists, and hospitals can do wrong during a procedure. If you suspect malpractice after suffering unexpected harms from a recent surgical procedure, discuss your case with an experienced attorney in Fort Lauderdale.
Types of Surgery Errors
A “surgical error” can describe any type of mistake during surgery (or during pre-operative and post-operative care) that results in harm or death to the patient due to negligence from the surgeon, another staff member, or the hospital. It is a form of medical malpractice that can result in extremely serious injuries to the patient, from preventable surgical complications and uncontrollable bleeding to amputation of the wrong limb. Surgical errors can come in many forms, but there are a few that are more common than others:
- Errors from negligence. A nicked artery or surgical tools left behind in the body cavity are examples of negligence-related surgical mistakes. A careless or sloppy surgeon can cause preventable complications during surgery or worsen the patient’s outcome from errors during the procedure. Surgeons must take due care to prevent these mistakes by adequately preparing for the procedure, communicating well with the rest of the surgical team, and performing the operating according to industry standards.
- Wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient errors (WSPEs). These are some of the most extreme examples of surgical malpractice. One study found that wrong-side errors took place in 59% of orthopedic surgeries in a six-month period. Operating on the wrong patient or body part can be catastrophic. Poor communication is the driving force behind these surgical errors.
- Anesthesia errors. An incompetent, inexperienced, or negligent anesthesiologist can make mistakes during surgery that lead to patient harms such as brain damage from too much anesthesia or “anesthesia awareness,” being alert but unable to talk or move during surgery, from too little anesthesia. Proper care and patient history research can help prevent anesthesia mistakes.
Before going under the knife, patients give their “informed consent” to the surgery. This is a legally binding agreement that you understand the known risks of your specific surgery. This form does not, however, protect the hospital in the event of risks that stem from negligence. It only safeguards the hospital from liability regarding foreseeable or reasonably possible risks that may occur during or as a result of the procedure. Surgical errors are unexpected and preventable. A discussion with an attorney can help you understand the difference between expected errors and those that stem from negligence.
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What to Do After a Surgical Error
As soon as you suspect malpractice contributed to your surgery injuries or a loved one’s death, discuss the circumstances of your case with a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney who understand malpractice law. Jason and Debi Chalik want to hear your story. Call the Law Offices of Chalik & Chalik today for a free, no obligation consultation today.
Call or text Chalik & Chalik (954) 476-1000