It is estimated that there are nearly 50 million surgeries performed in the United States every year. Studies have shown that more than 4,000 preventable mistakes occur during surgery every year. Now while it may seem that 4,000 errors is a relatively small number compared to the amount of surgeries performed, the gravity of these errors are magnified. Many times a surgical error results in a significant, permanent, or even deadly consequence. These mistakes result in more than $1.3 billion being paid out in medical malpractice claims. Unfortunately, many surgical errors are preventable. When someone is harmed by a preventable surgical error, they may have a viable medical malpractice claim. Usually a claim will exist when the error leads to a significant, permanent, or a deadly consequence. With such high stakes, it is important to consult with medical malpractice attorneys who are prepared to handle such complex claims.
While all surgeries have some risks associated with them, it is the job of the doctors, their medical facilities, professional staff, and other healthcare providers to minimize those risks wherever possible. While a doctor may respond that a surgical error was a common risk of a particular surgery that could not be avoided, a skilled medical malpractice attorney may be able to prove that what a doctor did was malpractice rather than a routine result from a common risk.
Common surgical errors include injuring a nerve during surgery, administering the wrong amount or type of medication, operating in the wrong location, leaving a piece of surgical equipment inside the body, or even operating on the wrong person. These errors can occur as the result of improper pre-operative planning, tired and fatigued doctors and staff, faulty communication among medical personnel, or simply just in being negligent. Discussing your case with a well-trained medical malpractice attorney is critical to identifying the type of error, the significance of it, and if and how it could have been prevented.
Most medical providers have patient safety procedures and protocols that have been developed to prevent surgical errors. These procedures and protocols include mandatory breaks for fatigued employees; taking time within the operating room to ensure that medical records and surgical plans match the patient who is being operated on; having the patient identify themselves and what procedure they are having numerous times to different personnel before surgery occurs; performing an inventory of medical equipment and sponges before and after surgery, utilizing checklists, and marking surgical sites with permanent marker. Nevertheless, despite additional safety measures that are taken by doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers; surgical errors still happen.
Not all instances where there is an error during surgery will result in a viable claim, however, it is important to consult with an attorney who can ensure that your rights are protected. The lawyers at Leav and Steinberg specialize in all types of medical malpractice cases and are well equipped to handle even the most challenging and complicated matters. We are here to help you win your case even against the toughest opponents.