Holding Doctors Responsible For Surgical Errors
We put a great deal of trust in our medical professionals, who we expect to use their expertise, experience, and training in diagnosing, advising, and treating us. Often, this trust is repaid by careful diagnosis, treatment, and eventual recovery. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and some patients find themselves treated by careless or even reckless doctors, sustaining serious injuries and enduring significant pain and suffering as a result. In some tragic cases, a person could even end up losing his or her life because of a physician’s negligence.
While any type of mistake made during the diagnosis and treatment process can wreak havoc on a person’s health, surgical errors tend to be particularly dangerous. Fortunately, it is possible to hold negligent surgeons accountable for their failure to provide adequate care, so if you or a loved one were injured by the carelessness of a medical professional, you should reach out to an experienced Florida surgical error lawyer for help.
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What Qualifies as a Surgical Error?
Surgery is complicated and often, there is no guarantee of success. For this reason, patients who are undergoing an operation are required to acknowledge the risk that complications could arise during or after the procedure. Some complications, however, when they are the result of negligent or reckless conduct, do not fall under this category. Instead, this a breach of the standard of care, which means that injured parties could be entitled to compensation for their losses.
There are a variety of surgical error claims. Some studies, however, have indicated that as many as 75 percent of surgical errors occur during the procedures themselves and involve:
- Leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient’s body;
- Operating on the wrong patient;
- Operating on the wrong body part;
- Making anesthesia errors, causing a lack of oxygen and subsequent brain damage;
- Using non-sterilized surgical instruments, resulting in an infection;
- Failing to use the proper surgical procedures; or
- Failing to provide adequate post-operative care to a patient.
Some of these problems may only result in a minor injury, like an infection, that can easily be treated if diagnosed early enough. Others, however, including anesthesia errors, could end up causing permanent disability or even death.
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To collect compensation for a surgical error, an injured party must be able to prove that the injury in question would not have been the reasonably foreseeable result of the procedure if another competent surgeon had performed the same procedure using the current standard of care. Often, this burden is relatively easy to meet. Is it obvious, for instance, even to laymen, that leaving an instrument inside a person’s body or operating on the wrong person is negligent? In more complicated cases, it is typically necessary to obtain the opinion of an expert who can testify as to the proper standard of care.
To speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney about filing a medical malpractice claim, please call us at 305-371-2692 today.