Patients undergo surgery to treat illnesses or injuries and expect their surgeon and medical provider to help them, not hurt them. Unfortunately, surgical errors happen every year. When a medical professional’s surgical error causes a patient to become injured, the patient may have a legal compensation claim.
At CDH Law PLLC, we represent clients injured due to surgical errors. We are committed to holding at-fault surgeons and other medical professionals accountable for their negligence and recklessness. Our firm has extensive experience handling these complex, technical claims. When you work with CDH Law PLLC, you can rest assured we will handle every aspect of your claim so you can focus on your recovery.
Common Surgical Errors
As patients, we’d like to imagine medical professionals performing surgery are always safe, alert, well-trained, and focused. Unfortunately, thousands of patients die because of surgical errors every year. The majority of surgical errors are caused by negligence. When doctors are overly fatigued, not focused on the surgery, intoxicated, or lack proper training, they are more likely to engage in preventable surgical errors.
A Surgical Error Can Cause a Devastating Injury
Surgical errors can cause tragedy and turmoil for unsuspecting victims who must endure the consequences. Recovery from surgical errors can be painful, and expensive. They can leave a victim unable to work and engage in the activities he or she loves. In other cases, the results of surgical errors are more serious, resulting in the loss of a loved one.
Many surgical injuries cause severe damage to internal organs and other body parts. While a surgeon may be able to repair the damage quickly, in many cases, the damage causes long-lasting injuries. Continued negligence can lead to serious injury or even death.
Surgical Injury to a Patient’s Organs or Body Parts
Surgical procedures involve delicately operating on an injured or diseased body part. Unfortunately, when otherwise healthy body parts or organs are nicked, punctured, or cut, patients can hemorrhage. The patient may require additional surgeries to repair the damage. Examples of surgical errors involving accidental nicking or cutting include the following:
- Nicking an artery, vein, or blood vessel
- Damaging the patient’s nerves around the surgical site
- Accidentally cutting tendons, muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissue
- Broken or fractured bones
- Perforating the colon or bowel or lacerating the bladder
Errors involving anesthesia are a common type of surgical error that can cause catastrophic harm to the patient. When a patient receives too little anesthesia, he or she can wake up during surgery, resulting in a traumatizing experience and putting him or her at further risk of injury. When the anesthesiologist administers too much anesthesia, the patient can experience a lack of oxygen, resulting in brain damage or even wrongful death.
Anaesthesiologists have an obligation to take the time to gain a full patient history ahead of the surgery. Without taking the time to obtain a full patient history, the anesthesiologist may administer a drug to which the patient is allergic, causing a dangerous and potentially fatal medication interaction.
Permanent Nerve Damage
Millions of nerves run through a person’s body. When a patient’s nerves become damaged due to a surgical error, the patient can suffer pain, loss of strength, numbness, loss of mobility, and even long-term disability. Permanent nerve damage can be excruciating and debilitating, leaving a patient unable to work and engage in activities he or she once loved.
Leaving a Surgical Object Inside the Patient
One of the most common, preventable surgical errors involves a surgeon leaving a foreign object in a patient’s body. When a surgeon fails to look closely inside the body cavity or keep a careful count of all surgical sponges used and recovered, he or she may leave a foreign object in the patient’s body. Leaving one of the following surgical objects in a patient’s body can cause significant pain and discomfort:
- Surgical clamps
In some cases, surgical instruments can move through a patient’s body and cause additional internal injuries, such as damage to organs, bleeding, abdominal tumors, intestinal obstruction, inflammation, and abscesses.
Preventable Post-Surgical Infections
Even when the surgery goes according to plan, medical professionals must monitor patients for signs of post-surgical infection. A post-operative infection can constitute medical malpractice when the medical professional or his or her staff fails to implement industry-standard protocols for preventing infections or they unreasonably delay the diagnosis and treatment of the infection.
Proving Liability in a Surgical Error Case
Surgeons, hospitals, and other medical staff are legally required to use reasonable care to prevent surgical errors. When a medical professional fails to use reasonable care by deviating from standard operating procedures, the injured patient has a right to hold him or her accountable. There are common risks associated with any surgery, but just because a patient assumes some risks and consents to the surgery doesn’t mean he or she gives up the right to pursue a medical malpractice claim.
For example, common risks associated with surgery include anesthesia, trouble healing, and infections. These risks can occur when the surgeon and the rest of the medical team use reasonable care. They can occur absent any negligence on the part of the medical team. There is a significant difference between common risks associated with surgery and preventable surgical errors medical staff commit.
Preventable surgical errors are the surgeon’s fault, making him or her legally responsible for injuries caused by negligence in the operating room. If you have questions about whether you have a valid medical malpractice claim for compensation, the attorneys at CDH Law PLLC are prepared to review your case and help you understand your legal options.
Discuss Your Case with a Surgical Error Attorney in Syracuse
If you or your loved one have endured the painful results of a surgical error, the attorneys at CDH Law PLLC are prepared to help you. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical expenses, mental anguish, loss of income, disability, pain, suffering, and more. Our Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys have extensive experience in obtaining compensation for victims of surgical errors. Don’t hesitate to contact CDH Law PLLC to schedule a complimentary case evaluation and learn more about how we can fight for you.