Whether a surgery has been planned for months or is taking place because of a medical emergency, doctors, nurses, and other medical providers in and out of the operating room have a responsibility to ensure patients receive the best care possible. When that doesn’t happen, our Philadelphia surgical error lawyers are here to provide you with the legal guidance you need to hold the negligent party responsible for their actions and your injuries.
According to the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), approximately 1 of 112,000 surgical procedures result in errors that cause injuries. These mistakes, which can be referred to as instances of medical malpractice, occur for a number of reasons; however, those reasons do not excuse the negligent medical professionals. Patients have rights that allow them to hold those individuals accountable for preventable errors. We can explain those rights to you.
What Types of Surgical Errors Are Common?
Wrong Site Procedures. This is one of the most common surgical injuries and errors. It happens when a patient receives surgery on a healthy part of their body, instead of the part that needs the procedure. This most often happens when surgeries are completed on the wrong side of the body. In the most severe cases, patients may have healthy organs removed.
Wrong Patient Surgeries. Communication between doctors, nurses, and other medical staff is imperative. When charts are neglected, or patient confirmations do not happen prior to procedures, it’s possible a patient could undergo a surgery that was meant for someone else.
Anesthesia Errors. The anesthesiologist is responsible for ensuring a patient receives the proper dosage of medication for whatever procedure they’re having. If too much is administered, brain damage could result. If too little is given, the patient could wake up during the procedure or experience unnecessary pain. The anesthesiologist also needs to take into consideration age, weight, and medication allergies, to ensure the patient does not have any adverse reactions while unconscious.
Other common surgical errors include:
- Incorrect use of surgical tools
- Negligent sanitation preparation
- Performing unnecessary surgeries
- Leaving surgical instruments, sponges, or towels inside a patient
- Nerve damage
- Prematurely discharging a patient
- Failing to follow up with a patient after surgery
If you believe you’ve suffered wrongfully after a medical procedure or operation, our surgical injury lawyers in Philadelphia, PA are prepared to represent you. We can investigate your case to show why the surgical mistake occurred and how negligence is a factor.
Why Do Surgical Mistakes Occur?
Because every surgery is unique, so is every surgical error. There are, however, identifiable patterns as to why surgical mistakes happen:
- Poor Communication. Failure to communicate can result in a number of errors, including wrong site or wrong side surgeries. Surgeons also need to make sure all the medical equipment they need is present before the surgery starts. If they fail to inform a nurse of what’s missing, complications during the procedure could arise.
- Inadequate Training. Unfortunately, not every medical practitioner we come in contact with is as qualified for their job as they should be. If your surgeon has not performed your procedure before or if they lack the knowledge needed to do it, the surgery could be unsuccessful in a number of ways.
- Fatigue. It’s no secret that many doctors and nurses are overworked. If a surgeon has an especially long shift and is asked to complete an emergency procedure, they may be more likely to make mistakes if they’re tired.
- Neglect. If a doctor fails to ensure the medical equipment is sterilized or verify a patient, or actively chooses to use surgical equipment that is known to be defective, the patient can suffer.
What Consequences Are Associated with Errors During Surgery?
Even when surgeons implement safety procedures, mistakes can happen. Some patients may think the symptoms they’re experiencing after surgery are normal; however, if you find yourself experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible:
- Sharp pains near surgical site
- Abdominal pain
- Redness or swelling near surgical wound
Those symptoms could indicate an infection. While infections can be treated if recognized in a timely manner, there’s a good chance the infection should not have happened in the first place. If the infection is resulting from a piece of medical equipment left in the body, the patient will need to undergo additional surgeries to remedy the mistake – which puts them at risk for even more complications.
Of the errors we discussed above, anesthesia errors are often the deadliest. Unfortunately, brain death may result before any medical intervention can occur.
How Can an Attorney Help Me Prove a Preventable Surgical Mistake Occurred?
There are always risks associated with any type of operation, especially given the complicated nature of invasive procedures; however, when a healthcare professional deviates from the expected standard of care and injuries result, our Philadelphia surgical error attorneys can help you build a successful medical malpractice claim.
There are three essential elements to a successful claim:
- Breach. The medical professional’s work fell below the accepted and expected owed duty of care.
- Injury. The patient’s injury resulted from the doctor’s breach.
- Damages. The resulting injury has had a negative impact, whether physically, financially, emotionally, or psychologically on the patient.
As every case and claim is unique, employing the help of an experienced law firm is in your best interest. At Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco, we are prepared to investigate your surgical injuries and prove you deserve compensation for what you’ve been through. You may be eligible for compensation to cover your medical expenses, the cost of future care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. For more information on your legal options, reach out to us today.