Undergoing surgery only to find the results are incorrect, flawed, or even harmful can be devastating. In these cases, many patients may qualify to file a medical malpractice suit.
What Qualifies as Medical Malpractice?
Although malpractice is any negligent or illegal activity in medical treatment, not all mistakes qualify for medical malpractice suits. In general, mistakes are only considered malpractice when they cause harm or additional injury to a patient. These injuries may be the result of errors or negligence in diagnosis, treatment, or aftercare, but only the following are generally considered to be surgical malpractice.
Wrong-Site or Wrong-Patient Surgery
In some cases, malpractice can be very clear cut. When the surgeon performs the surgery on the wrong part of the body or the wrong organ, wrong-site malpractice has occurred. Additionally, when surgeons perform unnecessary surgery on the wrong patient, it is also considered malpractice. These mistakes may happen due to errors with patient records or files, and can often result in a lifetime of complications for the patients.
Foreign Object Mistakes
After a surgery is completed, some patients may find that surgeons have accidentally left a foreign object in the site of surgery during the procedure. Some patients may only discover this after complications from the foreign object have arisen. Because this can lead to additional injury and surgery, it is considered surgical malpractice.
Nerve or Organ Damage
Additionally, surgical errors resulting in nerve or organ damage may be eligible for malpractice suits. Nerve damage may occur if the surgeon clips a nerve during the procedure, or if the anesthesiologist makes a mistake. Organ or tissue damage may be the result of improper perforation or puncturing of organs that may result in life-threatening health complications.
Reasons for Surgical Mistakes
There are a number of reasons for surgical errors that result in malpractice. These include circumstantial errors such as lack of planning or communication among surgeons and staff, as well as fundamental incompetence on the part of the surgeon. Additionally, surgeons may be guilty of substance abuse, excessive fatigue, or neglect, which may cause mistakes.
Experiencing medical malpractice can be a life-altering event for which victims often seek compensation. If you believe you’ve experienced surgical malpractice, request your free consultation with Leav & Steinberg LLP by calling us at 212-766-5222 today.