Surgical errors are defined as preventable and avoidable mistakes that doctors make during a surgical procedure. Such errors fall outside of the element of risk that you consent to when you choose to have a surgical procedure. But do all surgical errors equate to medical malpractice? Not necessarily.
Just because there was a mistake made during surgery, or it resulted in a bad outcome, doesn’t mean that you have a meritorious medical malpractice case. Proving a malpractice case requires that you show the accepted standard of care, that the doctor or hospital staff failed to follow it, and that their failure to follow it is what caused the harm.
What are some examples of surgical errors?
There are numerous types of errors that can happen during surgical procedures. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Damaging a nerve
- Giving too much or too little anesthesia before surgery, causing excruciating pain for the patient who wasn’t completely unconscious during the procedure
- Negligently cutting at the wrong place
- Negligent surgical approach
- Failure to obtain informed consent
- Failure to ensure that the patient is safe before closure
- Leaving a foreign object inside someone’s body, like a sponge or a piece of surgical equipment
- Performing surgery on the wrong body part
Why do surgical errors happen?
There are many reasons why surgical errors happen, and each case is unique. Here are some of the more common reasons for mistakes in the operating room:
- Inexperience – If the surgeon has not done the procedure very many times before, then he or she might not have fully developed the skill set that’s needed.
- Lack of pre-op planning – Sometimes, a surgeon isn’t fully prepared for complications that could come during surgery. He or she also might not have communicated properly with nurses and/or techs to make sure all the necessary equipment was in the room.
- Lack of communication among the treatment team
- Missed steps – A surgeon might have missed a critical step in the surgical process, which could have led to injury.
- Overworked surgeons – Surgeons and physicians in general are known to work very long hours. This lack of sleep can contribute to mistakes in the operating room.
What should you do if you were the victim of a surgical error?
If you or someone you love was the victim of a surgical error that resulted in injury, you need the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney, who must obtain your records and have them carefully reviewed.
Contact Kara Samuels’ office today for help.