Like any doctor, surgeons have a legal duty to perform in accordance with the proper standard of care. This means they must use their training, skills, and knowledge in a way that is consistent with accepted standards of practice in their particular field.
When a surgeon operates on a patient, he or she must handle the procedure in a reasonable, professional way. Surgeons also have an obligation to follow up with patients to ensure the patient does not experience complications following the surgery. Complications are a possibility with any type of surgery. Patients are counseled about their risks prior to any procedure. However, surgeons who cause injury due to incompetence or failure to adhere to the appropriate standard of care should be held accountable for the injuries they cause.
Contact US to speak to an experienced Washington, D.C. surgical error lawyer about your case. We offer free initial consultations; call (888) 695-2963 today.
An Attorney Who Is Also a Medical Professional
No matter what type of surgery you have, human error is always a risk. Even a relatively simple procedure can result in serious complications if a doctor fails to deliver the appropriate level of care before, during, or after the surgery.
If you have been injured by a doctor’s or surgeon’s mistake, the surgical error lawyers at LawMD can help. Many of our lawyers are also doctors, and we use that medical and legal background to stand up for patients who have been injured due to a doctor’s carelessness or a hospital’s negligence.
Why Do Surgical Mistakes Happen?
Surgical mistakes can occur during any surgical procedure, whether you’re having a triple bypass or a tonsillectomy. They also happen in a variety of settings, from in-office procedures and urgent care centers to emergency rooms and operating suites. Surgical mistakes occur in a range of circumstances; however, there are some situations that tend to happen with more frequency than others.
Some common causes of surgical errors include:
- Inexperience: Most people are taught from an early age to trust doctors. Physicians are revered for their knowledge, education, and commitment to helping people. However, they are still human, and no doctor is an expert at every procedure. A doctor’s inexperience can lead to mistakes, especially when a doctor is determined to try a new technique or procedure despite lacking the skill or training hours to perform it properly.
- Improper preoperative procedures: Surgeries are meticulously planned events—and for good reason. Even a small mistake, such as a missed allergy or failure to check for drug interactions, can be disastrous. When doctors and their teams fail to observe the proper protocol, they can make serious missteps.
- Miscommunication: Communication is key in any medical setting, whether you’re in a doctor’s office or an operating room. The medical professionals on duty must operate as a team. When communication errors happen, patients can be seriously injured. Depending on the type of surgery being performed, the average patient may deal with a dozen or more medical professionals, with each one making notes or recording information in the patient’s chart. A single mistake during charting or patient care can be devastating.
- Doctor fatigue: Many doctors work long hours. Depending on their area of practice, they may be called in during late nights or early mornings to perform emergency procedures. A lack of sleep can throw anyone off their game. When surgeons function on too little rest, they can make catastrophic errors.
- Substance abuse: Being a doctor is a demanding and stressful job. Sadly, some doctors turn to drugs or alcohol to relieve the strain. The problem is that substance abuse impairs a person’s judgment, motor skills, reaction time, and ability to reason. Researchers at the University of Washington published a report stating that 15 percent of surgeons have an alcohol problem. The report also found that surgeons who admitted to abusing alcohol were 45 percent more likely to admit to making a major medical mistake within the past three months.
- Distractions: Doctors are human beings, and they deal with the same relationship problems, work conflicts, and personal issues as anyone else. In some cases, problems at home or work can spill over into their professional life—with patients paying the price.
Common Surgical Mistakes
No surgery is entirely risk-free. Even a fairly routine procedure can quickly deteriorate into a life-threatening situation. Surgeons, operating room nurses, and anesthesiologists are trained to handle these cases.
These health professionals are also trained to treat patients with professionalism and skill. Surgery is a demanding field of medicine, and for good reason. Surgeons literally have patients’ lives in their hands. When they make mistakes, people can die.
At LawMD, we handle a wide range of surgical malpractice cases. These cases include:
- Surgery on the wrong part of the body
- Surgery performed on the wrong patient
- A surgical instrument, sponge, or other foreign material left in the body
- Blood typing mistakes during surgery
- Anesthesia errors
- Improper use of laparoscopic or robotic surgery
- Obstetric errors and surgical birth injuries
Surgical errors can be devastating for patients and their families. In some cases, a surgeon’s mistake leads to a cascade of problems that cause a patient to suffer unnecessary interventions, distress, and emotional harm.
For example, a surgeon’s failure to control bleeding can result in a life-threatening condition called disseminated intravascular coagulation, in which small blood clots develop in a patient’s bloodstream, blocking blood vessels. In other cases, a surgeon mismanages a patient’s case, leading to a life-changing result. For example, a surgeon’s failure to control bleeding after a C-section could result in hysterectomy, rendering an otherwise healthy woman unable to have more children.
Surgeons have also left instruments, sponges, and other materials inside a patient’s body, creating months and sometimes even years of health problems.
Anesthesia & Nurse Anesthetist Errors
Anesthesia mistakes can also result in disastrous consequences for patients. Anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists are responsible for overseeing the patient’s safety and pain management throughout the surgical procedure. When they administer the wrong medication or the wrong dosage, they can cause serious and fatal health complications, including brain damage, coma, and organ failure.
Patients can also suffer harm due to allergic reactions to anesthesia. When anesthesiologists fail to respond rapidly and effectively, patients can suffer anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal health condition.
Delays Can Hurt Your Case
You have a narrow window of opportunity for filing a medical malpractice case for a surgical error. The law limits the amount of time in which you have to file a claim. These time limits are known as “statutes of limitation.” If you fail to file on time, your case could be barred forever. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as you suspect you have been a victim of a surgical mistake. Your health is too important to leave to chance.
Suffered a Surgical Error? Our Attorney Can Help.
If you have been injured by a doctor’s negligence, you need an experienced Washington, D.C. surgical error lawyer in your corner today. Don’t wait to speak to an attorney. The surgical error lawyers at LawMD are available to talk to you for free.
Our physician-attorneys have helped people just like you get the justice, vindication, and compensation they deserve. If you have experienced a surgical error, you need a powerful advocate on your side. We will listen to you, and we will help you fight for the best result possible in your case.
Call US today at (888) 695-2963 or contact us online to speak to a medical malpractice lawyer about your case.