In August of 2012, The New York Times reported that one Florida hospital had been accused of performing unnecessary cardiac procedures on patients. The facility was associated with HCA, a for-profit hospital chain with 163 facilities. When their chief ethics officer conducted an investigation into the accusations, it was determined that as many as half of heart procedures performed had not been needed.

Unfortunately, this Florida healthcare facility is not the only one where unnecessary surgeries are performed. In some cases, doctors and hospitals like the HCA-affiliated Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Florida recommend and perform unnecessary procedures because of the financial gains from providing the care. In other cases, unnecessary surgeries are performed not for financial gain but as a result of sheer incompetence or carelessness.

Regardless of the reason for the unnecessary surgery, patients can suffer a great deal when forced to undergo a procedure they do not need. Surgery always presents some risk, from the dangers associated with anesthesia to the risk of infection, and, in some cases, the outcome of an unnecessary surgery can have life-changing effects.

If you or a loved one had an unnecessary surgery performed, you may wish to consult with an Alpharetta medical malpractice attorney. You may be entitled to recover compensation for losses caused by the surgery including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress or even wrongful death damages.

The Dangers of Unnecessary Surgery

Unnecessary surgery can occur for many different reasons. For example:
  • A patient may be told he needs surgery even if he/she doesn't because it is profitable for the hospital to perform the procedure.
  • A patient may be told he needs surgery even if there are other less invasive treatment methods that might work just as well. In these cases, the patient may give consent but it is not truly informed consent.
  • A patient may have surgery performed on him/or herself as a result of misdiagnosis when no surgery is required at all.
  • A patient may have surgery performed on him as a result of mistaken identity (i.e. a doctor might confuse one patient for another and perform surgery on the wrong person)
These and other situations that result in unnecessary surgery can have devastating consequences. The specific outcome of the unnecessary surgery is going to depend upon the patient's condition, the type of surgery performed and the effects of the surgery. For example, in the New York Times article about the unnecessary procedures being performed in Florida, one 44-year-old patient suffered a punctured blood vessel and a near-fatal irregular heartbeat after his treatment.

Other patients who undergo unnecessary surgery may even lose body parts. For example, the New York Times also reported on another study of 6,000 doctors who self-reported surgical errors. This study indicated that doctors had operated on the wrong patient in 25 cases including performing three prostatectomies.

Other side effects and consequences, ranging from simple discomfort to serious infection to death, may also occur as a result of unnecessary surgeries.

An Alpharetta Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help in Unnecessary Surgery Cases

When unnecessary surgery is performed, this may be a form of medical malpractice for which you are entitled to compensation. In order to make a claim for medical malpractice, you will need to show that a doctor or health care provider did something wrong. Failure to obtain informed consent, for example, is a breach of a doctor's duty to a patient. When no reasonable doctor would have provided the substandard care that you received, this is also an example of a breach of duty and can lead to malpractice. Finally, if a doctor intentionally recommends an unnecessary surgery or operates on the wrong patient, this can be an especially egregious example of medical negligence.

An Alpharetta medical malpractice lawyer can help you to understand whether your doctor behaved below the standard of care imposed on him. If so, your Alpharetta malpractice lawyer will help you to prove it so you can settle your case or prevail in court and collect damages.

Have You Been The Victim Of Medical Malpractice?

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a medical error you need to speak with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 855.GA.INJURY or 404.991.5950 to schedule your free consultation.

David M. Van Sant
Atlanta personal injury lawyer dedicated to helping clients throughout GA get the compensation they deserve.
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