Legal Medicine

It may be hard to believe, but surgical errors still occur. In fact, according to Johns Hopkins researchers, within the past 20 years, 80-thousand surgical errors have occurred in United States hospitals.

Scary, isn’t it?

Surgical errors are not intentional, but are the result of doctor or hospital negligence. No two surgeries are identical, and there is no such thing as minor surgery.

Some of the most common types of surgical error include:

  • Anesthesia error. Administering too much or too little medication, or the wrong medication.
  • Removing the wrong body part
  • Leaving a surgical instrument or other foreign object inside the patient
  • Accidentally cutting or tearing an organ
  • Performing the wrong surgery.
  • Performing surgery on the wrong patient.

Why do surgical errors happen?

  • Drug or alcohol use by the surgeon.
  • Inexperience. Perhaps the doctor has not often performed the procedure.
  • Neglect by the surgeon.
  • Improper work process. The surgeon may take shortcuts.
  • Poor communication. A surgeon may mark the wrong spot for the surgery, or fail to communicate the exact tools he will need for the procedure.
  • Fatigue. This is more common than you may think. Surgeons traditionally work long hours, which leads to fatigue, which can lead to mistakes.

Surgical mistakes can lead to other surgeries, infections and even death, if the mistake is not discovered in time to be treated or corrected.

Does this mean that you have a medical malpractice case? Not necessarily. The treatment has to meet a medical standard of care, and if it does, and you were not injured, you don’t have a case.

If you have questions about whether or not you have a medical malpractice lawsuit, contact an attorney experienced in medical malpractice claims. These are very difficult cases to navigate, and you’re going to want an attorney who has experience handling these types of cases.

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