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What You Should Know About Surgical Errors and Medical Malpractice

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Medical issues are stressful and frightening for many different reasons. Concerns over how the condition will affect you long-term, how the issue may affect your family and how you’ll pay for the treatment are just a few of a very long list of concerns. Unfortunately, concerns over mistakes made during surgery is another major concern for many patients. If you believe that a mistake was made during your operation that resulted in further harm to you, consult a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.

What is Medical Malpractice?

The concept of medical malpractice is based on the idea of a standard of care. The standard of care maintains that all patients deserve and should expect a certain level of care from their physicians. Generally, that standard is defined as the level of care that any similarly trained healthcare professional would provide in the same community and under comparable circumstances.

When this standard of care is violated, resulting in harm to the patient, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice case. In order for a case to be considered medical malpractice, the physician must have made a surgical error or violated the standard of care in some way, and this must result in harm to the patient. In other words, if a physician makes an error that doesn’t harm the patient, it is not medical malpractice. By the same token, if you are harmed, but the physician did uphold the appropriate standard of care, you may not have a malpractice case.

Surgical Errors

As you can see, not all surgical errors lead to medical malpractice. A surgical error is defined as a preventable mistake that is made during surgery that does not fall under the expected risks associated with the procedure. All surgeries come with an element of risk, which patients acknowledge by signing an “informed consent” form prior to the operation. Surgical errors are mistakes that are made that do not fall under the known risks outlined in the consent form.

Examples of surgical errors include leaving sponges or other tools and instruments inside the patient, injuring a nerve during the operation and administering too much or too little anesthesia or other medication. Additionally, performing surgery on the wrong patient or the wrong body part on the right patient and performing an incision at the incorrect place are also among the most common errors made during surgery.

Mistakes That Lead to Surgical Errors

There are many different factors that can cause a physician to make a mistake during surgery. Because of the long work hours and strenuous emotional and physical toll of performing surgeries, fatigue, alcohol, and drugs are common reasons why physicians may make mistakes while holding a scalpel. Other times, it may be neglect or incompetence that leads to an error if the physician is not as careful as they should be or if they are not qualified for the procedure.

Even if the physician is qualified, surgeries can still take hours of preoperative preparation. So if a physician fails to prepare properly and plan for the procedure, this can also lead to surgical mistakes. Improper work processes like taking shortcuts and poor communication with the patient and fellow doctors can also result in an error.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

While we look to physicians to heal us and take our pain away, they are not infallible. Like any other human, they are subject to error. If you or someone you love has been harmed as a result of a surgical error, you may have a case for medical malpractice. An experienced personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Peter Davis can help you better understand your legal options and fight for the compensation that you deserve. Contact your local Paterson, New Jersey personal injury attorney today.