Surgical Errors that Lead to Medical Malpractice
The New York Times published an article in October 2010 in which the magazine reported on a study that revealed surgical errors occur in one out of every 110,000 procedures. While this may not seem high, the number of surgical errors may be increasing and may occur more often than is reported. Unfortunately, as the Georgia medical malpractice attorneys at Van Sant Law, know, even one surgical error is too many given the life-altering and catastrophic consequences that such a mistake can have on a victim and his or her family.
Surgical errors are preventable with the correct procedures and if a healthcare provider operates with the appropriate level of care.
If you or someone you love has sustained an injury due to surgical error, you may have legal recourse. The personal injury attorneys at Van Sant Law, can provide you with a free, comprehensive case evaluation and work to help you to seek the compensation to which you may be entitled, including medical bills, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If the surgical error results in a death, surviving family members may also be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent.Dangers of Surgical Errors
A surgical error can occur any time a healthcare provider or physician makes a negligent or careless mistake that results in the injury or death of the patient. These errors can include:
- Leaving instruments inside patients. If a surgeon is careless and not paying attention to the procedure, he or she may inadvertently leave surgical tools, sponges, gauze, and other instruments inside the patients and unknowingly sew up the patient to finish the surgery.
- Operating on the incorrect patient. According to the New York Times article, out of the 27,720 self-reported malpractice cases against 6,000 physicians, 25 operations were performed on the incorrect patients, three of which included prostatectomies.
- Operating on the incorrect body part. A study analyzing more than 6,000 doctors between 2002 and 2008 found 107 incidents in which a surgeon operated on the incorrect body part. Additionally, reported cases of surgical errors on the incorrect body part include a physician inserting a chest tube into the wrong lung, resulting in the death of the patient. In another case, a surgeon removed a healthy ovary. Other cases include a physician fusing the wrong vertebrae, a doctor operating on the incorrect side of the brain, and physicians performing surgeries on the incorrect elbows, hands, knees, feet, and eyes.
Surgical errors may happen for a number of reasons, including physicians incorrectly holding a patient’s X-rays, patients with similar names, or health conditions. However, regardless of the cause of surgical errors, those who have been injured may be entitled to hold the healthcare providers or medical facility responsible if the law determines that they had acted out of negligence.
For a physician, negligence is defined as performing medical care that falls below the standard level of care that a reasonable physician with the same medical background would provide. For healthcare providers, negligence is determined based on whether the policies of the facility are reasonably prudent.
Proving a case of medical malpractice and receiving compensation for injuries sustained due to medical malpractice can be difficult. In instances of surgical error, however, victims may find it relatively easy to demonstrate that a surgeon left instruments inside the body or that the victim underwent a surgery that was not intended for him or her.
Still, it is often in a victim’s best interest to seek legal representation because physicians or hospitals may attempt to rush victims into a fast and unfair settlement. In order to protect your legal rights and receive the maximum compensation to which you may be entitled, consider working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.Do You Need Help From a Georgia Malpractice Attorney?
A medical malpractice attorney in Georgia can assist you with all aspects of a medical malpractice claim arising from surgical errors. The attorneys at Van Sant Law, can help prove your case, negotiate a settlement on your behalf, and represent you in court in an attempt to maximize the compensation to which you may be entitled. We have experience representing clients throughout Georgia who have allegedly been harmed as a result of surgical error. Fill out our free, no-obligation online contact form, or call us today at 404-991-5950 and let us put our legal expertise to work for you.