Surgical errors, which are mistakes made by healthcare professionals during a surgical treatment, are one type of medical malpractice. Surgeons who make careless mistakes in the middle of surgery could seriously injure their patients, and in some cases, the mistakes could be fatal.
Medical malpractice cases can be complex, so it’s important to understand what a surgical error is, and when you are able to hold the surgeon liable for your injuries.
Surgical Errors and Medical Malpractice
Not every surgical error will automatically be considered medical malpractice. A surgical error is medical malpractice if it can be proven that the surgeon’s performance fell below the accepted standard of care, and an injury occurred as a result of this sub-standard performance.
The “accepted standard of care” is defined as the type of care that another reasonable, competent surgeon would provide to you under similar circumstances. Basically, if it can be proven that another surgeon would not have made the same mistake, it may be considered medical malpractice.
Common Types of Surgical Errors
A number of different errors can be made while a patient is undergoing surgery, including:
- The patient receives the wrong medication or incorrect dosage of medication
- The surgeon performs the surgery on the wrong part of the body or on the wrong patient
- The surgeon accidentally causes nerve damage while performing the surgery
- The surgeon leaves a surgical tool inside the patient
- The surgeon performs a surgery that is unnecessary
How Do Surgical Errors Occur?
Every surgical error case is unique, however many of these errors are caused by one of the following:
Surgeons who have multiple surgeries back-to-back may not be thinking clearly and may make mistakes because they are tired.
Failure to Communicate
Surgeons must clearly communicate with the patient and their team of nurses and other healthcare professionals that will assist them during the procedure. Everyone who will be a part of the procedure should understand what kind of surgery is being performed, where it is being performed on the patient, what tools will be needed, and what medications should be administered before, during and after treatment.
Surgeons may make mistakes because they are simply acting careless. For example, a surgeon who is distracted by talking to a nurse about something unrelated may make a mistake during the procedure. Surgeons can also make mistakes when they carelessly choose to take shortcuts to speed up the surgery.
It’s important to find a surgeon who has experience performing the type of surgery you need. If you don’t, the surgeon may end up making an error because of his inexperience.
Surgeons and their teams must be prepared to react quickly to any complications that the patient may experience from during the surgery. If the surgeon fails to plan for these complications, the patient may suffer as a result. Preoperative planning mistakes can also be made by nurses and medical assistants who fail to secure or sterilize the necessary surgical tools.
There are many other ways that surgical errors can occur. An attorney can investigate your case to determine why the error occurred and who should be held liable.
Legal Help For Victims of Surgical Errors
There are risks associated with every type of surgery, but surgical errors are preventable mistakes outside of these risks. If you have been injured due to a surgical error, contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, and Rowley today to discuss your case. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by your injuries.