All surgery has risks, including from the administration of anesthesia and the operation itself, and unforeseen complications can arise during the surgery or while in post-operative care. As a patient, you should be fully informed of the risks associated with the surgery, along with its benefits, alternative options and the consequences of not having the surgery. Only then can you give your informed consent to the procedure. Just because you have consented to a medical procedure, however, that does not mean you have given up your rights to compensation for surgical mistakes. Surgery errors are a form of medical malpractice that can be very serious and even deadly, and the associated costs on you and your family can be exorbitant. The lawyers at Palmer | Lopez help victims of surgical errors and their families hold doctors and hospitals accountable for their mistakes and obtain the full amount of compensation needed for their extra medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and more.
Surgery Errors are a Common Form of Medical Malpractice
As much as 65% of all hospital mistakes are surgical errors. This percentage includes “never events,” which result in permanent injury nearly one-third of the time. Some of the most common surgical errors are listed below. It may be hard to believe these mistakes actually happen in the operating room, but they probably occur more often than you think.
- A foreign object is left behind and sewn up inside the patient’s body, such as a sponge, clamp, or hemostat. These objects can go unnoticed for an extended period until they start to cause pain or complications in the patient.
- Surgery is performed on the wrong body part. Given our symmetrical body plans, a simple mix-up on a chart can cause surgery to be conducted on the wrong side of the body. The worst part of this error is that it delays the time before the patient is ready to undertake the correct surgery, and all the while the patient’s condition may worsen.
- Wrong surgery is performed on the wrong patient. A mix-up on patient charts or in computer systems can send the wrong person into the OR for the wrong surgery. This error can be easily prevented by double-checking and verifying patient information before starting the procedure. Something as simple as verbally confirming the patient’s identity and procedure with the patient before anesthesia is applied can prevent this serious and costly error.
- Unnecessary surgery is performed. Surgeons operate for a living and are most likely to recommend a surgical intervention to treat a problem. Before agreeing to surgery, seek out a second opinion about whether surgery is really necessary or if other treatment options would be more beneficial.
- Surgical care is negligent or substandard. Mistakes during surgery can include unintentionally nicking an organ, artery or vein, or even starting a fire in the OR. Anesthesia errors are another considerable risk of harm during surgery. Negligent wound closure and other aftercare errors can lead to a serious or life-threatening infection. Some patients are too high a risk for surgery in the first place; this fact must be carefully considered and explained to the patient before undergoing a procedure.
Surgical Errors Put Patients at Risk of Abundant Costs and Serious Harm
The costs of a surgery error can include the cost of a revision surgery to repair the damage done, which means more hospital costs and a longer recovery time, including more time off work for the patient and family members. Surgical errors also may involve serious injury including sepsis, internal bleeding, organ damage, nerve damage and even wrongful death from medical malpractice. Hospitals hide behind the normal risks of surgery and the lack of knowledge held by patients and families about what actually occurred. This is why it is essential to talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after a mysterious or unexplained unsuccessful surgery. Your lawyer will get to work interviewing health care providers who were present in the OR, reviewing medical records, and preventing the destruction of evidence by those in charge.
Help is Available with Surgical Errors from Experienced Tampa Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you believe that you or a loved one may have been the victim of a surgical error in a Tampa hospital, surgery center or outpatient clinic, call Palmer | Lopez at 813-506-5651 for a free consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced Tampa medical malpractice lawyer.