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Surgical Error Claims and Medical Malpractice Law

According to data in the New England Journal of Medicine, medical errors are now the third-leading cause of death in the United States. In a survey of members of the American College of Surgeons conducted by the Mayo Clinic, 8.9% of surgeons reported that they might have made an error in the past three months. Most medical professionals have your best interests at heart, but they can make mistakes just like everyone else. Sometimes, these mistakes have severe consequences. If you or a loved one has been affected by malpractice during surgery, Leav & Steinberg LLP can help you seek the financial compensation you deserve.

Determining If You Have a Surgical Error Claim

Mistakes by medical practitioners resulted in more than $4 billion of medical malpractice claims in 2018. According to research by LeverageRx, a medical insurance provider, about 21% of that amount was paid out to patients who had claims related to surgery. Many surgical errors are preventable. When someone is harmed by a preventable surgical error, they may have a viable malpractice claim. A strong claim typically involves an error that has significant, permanent, or deadly consequences. With such high stakes, you should consult medical malpractice attorneys who are prepared to handle complex claims.

Though undergoing surgery always involves some risk, it’s the job of doctors, the medical facility, the professional staff, and other healthcare providers to minimize these risks whenever possible. Though a doctor may say that an error was an unavoidable surgical risk, an experienced attorney may be able to build a case that shows that the mistake was caused by negligence.

Surgical Error Cases

Studies show that about 4,000 preventable mistakes occur during surgeries each year. Some common surgical errors that come up in medical malpractice cases include the following:

  • Injuring a nerve during surgery
  • Administering the wrong amount or type of medication
  • Operating on the wrong part of the body
  • Leaving a piece of surgical equipment inside of the body
  • Operating on the wrong person

These errors may occur because of improper pre-operative planning, overworked doctors and staff, faulty communication among medical personnel, or other factors. Discussing your case with a medical malpractice attorney is critical to identifying the errors that were made, their significance, and how they could have been prevented.

Most medical providers have patient safety procedures and protocols to prevent surgical errors, such as the following:

  • Mandatory breaks for employees who have worked a certain number of hours
  • Double-checking that the medical records and surgical plans match those of the patient
  • Having the patient identify themselves and the procedure they are having numerous times to different personnel members before their surgery
  • Performing an inventory check of medical equipment and sponges before and after surgery
  • Marking surgical sites with a permanent marker

Despite all of these safety measures, surgical errors still happen. If these preventive steps were not taken during your surgery, make sure to take note of this because it can strengthen your claim.

How Leav & Steinberg Can Help You

Not every surgical error will result in a viable malpractice claim, but you should consult an attorney if mistakes were made during your surgery. The associates at Leav & Steinberg have experience handling medical malpractice cases and are well equipped to take on complex claims. We have won several multimillion-dollar settlements for our medical malpractice clients. We serve people in all five boroughs of New York, as well as other parts of the Tri-state area. To schedule a free consultation with our firm, call 212-766-5222 or contact us online.