Which Surgical Errors Are Medical Malpractice?
It is an unsettling fact that surgical errors cause injury to patients at a startling rate in the U.S. According to a 2016 study at Johns Hopkins Medicine, medical error is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., behind heart disease and cancer.
Some medical errors happen prior to, during or after surgery. Medical teams must meet high standards of care in order to prevent surgical error. Anything less may be an instance of surgical malpractice, for which you can take legal action.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical professionals are expected to meet or exceed standards of competence and sound judgment when treating patients. These standards apply to nurses and doctors. In addition, the clinic or hospital where treatment took place may be vicariously liable for the actions of those medical professionals.
In surgical malpractice cases, the main question asked is who is at fault for the harm the patient suffered. Surgical errors — such as operating on the wrong body part, operating without permission, administering the wrong medication or failure to take into account risk factors specific to the patient — are all potential instances of medical malpractice.
What Causes Surgical Errors?
Surgery is a high-pressure environment, both during and leading up to the procedure. However, just because medical teams are under strain does not mean substandard care is acceptable.
Among the common causes of surgical errors are:
- Fatigue among team members
- Improper or substandard internal procedures
- Professional incompetence
- Lack of proper communication with the patient or family members
Although patients are expected to take on some risk when they undergo surgery, the medical team nonetheless has a responsibility to provide a certain standard of care. In other words, you are not barred from suing just because you signed a waiver.
Mistakes that fall outside the acceptable realm of risk may include:
- Nerve injury
- Incorrect incision location
- Incorrect medication or incorrect dose
- Items left inside the body
- Insufficient post-operative treatment
What Are Your Legal Options?
If you have questions about your surgical treatment, you can discuss the matter with a surgical errors lawyer. As an advocate, your lawyer can take an objective view of your case in order to assess whether you or a loved one may have experienced surgical malpractice.
FDS Law is a well-established and respected firm of personal injury and surgical malpractice lawyers in Ohio. Talk to us. We can help.
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