What makes a surgical error Medical malpractice?

If we talk about the surgical procedures, then every procedure carries some element of risk. The doctors also discuss the general risks of surgery and some risks involved in the procedure before you go under anesthesia. All-time hospitals, doctors, and medical staff do their best to move patients from surgery and recovery as soon as possible in order to tend to more patients and increase revenue.

The rate of surgical errors depends on practice like some minor, some much more critical, and some fatal. Doctors also make mistakes despite their years of training and preparation, but because a surgical procedure has an unfavorable outcome does not give rise to a cause of action for medical malpractice.

Surgery errors are known as some of the most common types of medical malpractice lawsuits in the USA. If the surgical injury is the result of a long injury or death, the injured party has the legal right to sue for monetary damages.

Reasons for surgical errors

There are different reasons for surgical errors. Here are some of the following reasons that may cause the surgical error:

• Incompetence – If the surgeon is new and has not completed the particular surgery, then he or she may not know how to handle the surgery.

• Lack of planning – Planning is very important or a surgeon should plan before opening up the patient. He should consider the complications that may occur and also how to handle them. Additionally, surgeons should have knowledge of a patient’s complete medical history and know what actions he should perform before the surgery occurs.

• Failure to communicate – Communication is very important as a surgeon needs to communicate information to relevant parties because miscommunication is often the reason for a wrong-site or wrong-patient surgery. It is possible with handwritten information; health care providers may misread the dosage for a drug or the patient’s information.

• Fatigue – Fatigue can be the reason for mistakes because many surgeons work long hours with limited periods of rest.

• Substance abuse – Because of stressful careers and access to pharmaceuticals, some surgeons turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. If at that time they perform surgery, they may make a mistake due to their impairment.

• Neglect – A surgical mistake may occur because a surgeon or maybe the instruments are safe as it should be. For example, they do not make sure that surgical instruments are properly cleaned and sanitized.

Most common types of surgery errors

While there are many types of surgical errors here is a closer look at the six most common surgical mistakes:

Wrong-site surgery

Wrong-site surgery occurs when surgery is performed on the wrong body part or organ of the patient. There are a fair number of instances in which patients had the wrong surgery and it resulted in major injury.

Wrong patient/unnecessary surgery

Well, this type of surgery is not common as wrong-site surgery has still been known to occur. In this type of surgery, a patient is subjected to unneeded surgery, and this can result in negative consequences.

Infection

This is the most common type of surgery which is due to the use of unsanitary surgical instruments during surgery which can be the result of cross-contamination of disease. If the patient is already suffering from a weak immune system then the results can be infection which can be deadly.

Surgical instruments left in the body

It’s common for any surgical instruments to be left inside the body after surgery which makes it important that hospitals require to count all the instruments, even sponges after the surgery. Serious complications and infection can arise from a surgical instrument that is left inside the body.

Damage to internal organs

During a particular surgery, it is possible that a neighboring organ can be accidentally perforated or punctured with scissors, or laser. Damage in internal organs occurrence can lead to severe and lasting health issues.

Nerve damage

A surgeon’s physical error or a mistake in giving the anesthesia can cause the patient to suffer nerve damage.

What makes a surgical mistake medical malpractice?

There are accepted standards of care which doctors or any medical staff should follow. When a doctor, nurse or another medical professional’s actions or failure to act violates the standard of care then it can be considered as medical malpractice. There are different elements to a surgical malpractice claim which should be met for the claim to have the merit required for legal action:

  • A doctor patient relationship
  • The doctor’s action not followed the accepted standard of care
  • The action was a direct or proximate cause of the patient’s injury
  • The injury resulted in damages for the patient

To prove medical malpractice, your lawyer should have knowledge about services and contact with an expert medical witness who has experience in the same medical specialty and who can give information about the standard of care.

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