When you put your life in the hands of a surgical team, there is always a risk, even during the most minor procedures. When it comes to operations, they are all potentially dangerous, and even the most commonly administered procedures can go wrong. In the U.S., patients have come to rely upon the state of the art medical knowledge and professional staff to help them through any medical issues. However, mistakes made by surgeons and their support staff happen on occasion, and the results can be devastating.
If you believe that you have been a victim of medical malpractice or neglect, it’s important that you know your rights and when you may be at risk. Injury or loss at the hands of medical professionals is a serious issue and one that can cause loss and health complications for the rest of your life.
To be able to determine if you have been a victim of medical malpractice it is critical to understand the definition.
“Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider—a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital or hospital worker—whose performance of duties departs from a standard of practice of those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient or patients.” — American Bar Association
When it comes to surgical errors, it’s often fairly simple to prove that your treatment was below the accepted standard of care. To have a viable malpractice case, you will need to prove that this mistake or error has caused you harm or loss.
What Causes Surgical Errors?
All surgeries are simple, even if the procedure has been performed thousands of times on different patients. Each patient and circumstance is different and can present many variables in the operating room. However, there are still some commonalities in situations where surgical mistakes are made:
- Doctors and their medical support staff often work extremely long shifts under enormous pressure causing fatigue which can result in errors in judgement and mistakes.
Lack of Planning
- Each surgical procedure must be planned out and reviewed with each team member. A failure to properly outline a procedure can be the cause of errors.
- A lack of experience or education can cause a surgical error.
- A surgeon or team member is not as careful as they should be and causes an unintentional injury or makes a mistake.
Although surgical mistakes are fairly rare, they can still happen, so it’s important to know what kind of errors or the most common.
- Too much or too little medication during surgery or prescribing incorrect medication following the procedure.
- Following a procedure, it can be found that a piece of medical equipment like a clamp or a sponge has been left inside a patient.
- A surgical procedure is performed on the wrong part of the body, like operating on the wrong arm or leg.
- Initial incision location is miscalculated, making the rest of the procedure more complicated and invasive.
Every time you go under the knife, you are taking a risk with your life. It’s important to thoroughly review your entire surgical procedure and recovery with your doctor before going into the operating room. If you suspect that you have been a victim of medical malpractice, get a second opinion, and talk to a lawyer for the best advice.