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Surgery Errors and Medical Malpractice

Filing a lawsuit if you or loved ones are injured by surgery errors

The definition of medical malpractice includes any action or inaction which causes direct or indirect harm to a patient. This can include, for example, something physically harmful, such as a hastily-written prescription which conflicts with drugs the patient is already taking, endangering the patient’s life; or a medical misdiagnosis which causes the patient to incur high medical bills and lose wages. In such cases, the patient is within his or her rights to file a lawsuit against their physician and/or the medical center or hospital they represent to obtain financial compensation.

According to WebMD in 2012, more than four thousand preventable surgery errors happen every year in the United States, and these errors cost the medical industry over $1.3 billion in malpractice payouts. Given that there are 51.4 million surgical procedures performed in the United States every year (according to the CDC), only one in 12,850 Americans will ever experience a surgical mistake firsthand. Still, this is an unacceptably high number.

Surgeons are human beings and they occasionally make mistakes. Examples of surgery errors might include operating on or removing the wrong body part; accidentally leaving a piece of surgical equipment inside a person’s body cavity; or injuring an organ or artery and causing more harm. And not only surgeons are capable of making surgery errors—the nursing staff of a hospital or surgical facility might also demonstrate negligence during post-op care. They might fail to monitor the patient’s vital signs properly, mix or mislabel medications, use improper care methods and create infections or complications, or even neglect to give the patient the correct postoperative care instructions.

Surgery Errors: Notorious Mistakes in the Operating Room

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in June 2015, roughly 1 out of 100,000 surgeries involves a “wrong site” surgical mistake. Perhaps the doctor operates on the wrong side of the patient’s body, for example, or even the wrong individual. “Left item” mistakes—where a surgical implement or tool or piece of gauze is left inside a person after the surgery is complete—occur in 1 out of roughly 10,000 procedures.

As recently as February 2016, a surgeon mistakenly operated on the wrong newborn baby at a medical center in Tennessee. A child was due to receive a frenulectomy (an oral surgery involving the tongue), but the infants were mixed up and the wrong child wound up receiving the procedure, angering the parents.

Researchers put the majority of these mistakes down to bad communication in the operating room. But that accounts for only part of the total number of surgery errors in the United States—and there’s no clear way to prevent them completely. “Never events” as doctors call them (because they should never, ever happen) occur with distressing frequency in American hospitals, but are still rare enough that there just isn’t enough scientific or statistical data available on them.

Surgery Errors and Liability Law

If you or loved ones have been harmed or even killed by a surgeon’s negligence, you should get in touch with a competent surgery errors lawyer straight away. If you can prove that a reasonably competent surgeon would not have made the same mistake under similar circumstances, then you may be entitled to a cash settlement for the pain and suffering incurred by the botched surgical procedure.

That being said, you will need a competent surgery errors attorney to help you with your case. Medical law can be very complex, and personal injury cases are usually hotly contested. Your lawyer must be aggressive enough to be unintimidated by taking on a large business such as a hospital, confident enough not to settle for anything less than you deserve, and experienced enough to successfully represent you in court if necessary.

It will be your lawyer’s task to prove that your surgeon was negligent during the surgical procedure, or that the nursing staff erred in some aspect of their postoperative care. Not only that, but the negligence demonstrated by the medical center staff caused you some sort of harm or inconvenience—either you were physically injured or you lost wages or precious money to medical bills and hospital stays.

That is the key to successful personal injury cases: proving negligence. When a jury is deliberating about whether or not to award you the money you deserve, what they examine is whether or not the surgeon in your case lived up to the appropriate standard of care. To determine whether or not the mistake was preventable, your lawyer will bring in other surgeons who specialize in the same types of procedures and ask them to provide testimony. This establishes the proper standard of care for your case. If the jury then decides that your surgeon did not take the proper precautions or was otherwise negligent in your procedure, you will be awarded a financial settlement.

Why You Require a Surgery Errors Lawyer

It takes an assertive, confident attorney to successfully represent a victim in a surgery errors case. If you want that kind of legal representation, get in touch with Estey Bomberger today. Their award-winning brand of litigation has netted their satisfied clients millions of dollars in compensation. They specialize in cases like yours—medical malpractice and other types of personal injury cases. It’s vital that you act quickly, however—evidence may be lost, witnesses missed, or other essential evidence neglected if you wait too long to hire an attorney. For the best shot at getting the settlement you deserve, contact Estey Bomberger at 1.800.925.0723 or go to www.ebtrialattorneys.com.