Surgical Errors

Surgical errors are one of the most common grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. A surgical error is simply defined as a preventable mistake during a surgery. Every surgery involves a factor of risk, however, malpractice has occurred only if the surgeon deviates from the standard of care. Deviations from the standard of care that can result in surgical errors include:

  • Incompetence- the surgeon may be inexperienced in performing a certain type of surgery
  • Improper surgical procedure- the surgeon may have skipped a step or taken the improper steps in performing a certain procedure that leads to an error
  • Fatigue- the surgeon may have been negligent due to exhaustion or fatigue.
  • Negligence- some surgeons may not be as careful as others and are more likely to be negligent

If a surgeon deviates from the standard of care, resulting in a surgical error, please contact an attorney today for more assistance 

Non-Sterile Instruments

Sterilization is the process of removing any bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms from medical instruments.. When instruments such as forceps, clamps, or surgical scissors are not sterilized, it may lead to the transmission of bacteria to patients. This can put patients in danger of long-term illness and provide them with the basis for a medical malpractice claim. One of the potential consequences of non-sterile equipment is spreadable infection. Sterilization is crucial in hospitals, especially when dealing with immuno-compromised patients.. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, all physicians and medical care providers must follow certain guidelines to properly sterilize medical instruments. Failure to do so may result in substandard care and/or malpractice. 

Wrong Site Surgery

Surgery can sometimes be a scary idea. A surgeon is getting ready to perform on you to fix or remove something, all while you are under anesthesia. You are going into a surgery assuming that the doctor will operate with the proper standard of care. Usually, you wake up and have a certain time period to let the incisions heal. However, there are cases when the anesthesia wears off, you wake up, and you realize the doctor operated on the wrong body part. If you have experienced an error like this, you may have a case for medical malpractice. If a doctor performs surgery on the incorrect body part (Ex. the right leg instead of the left leg), it is almost always due to negligence. This means that the doctor deviated from the reasonable standard of care. Reasons why this happened may include:

 

  • A mix up of medical charts

  • Someone may have written down the wrong information

  • improper pre-op care

 

Prior to performing surgery, there is a universal protocol that needs to be followed. This protocol allows your provider to take the necessary steps to verify surgery specifics. These steps include.

 

  • Verification: Prior to the surgery, the surgeon may ask you some questions regarding the area of operation, the surgery itself, and personal details such as name and birthdate. The medical care provider should also be looking at medical documents thoroughly to properly confirm the details of the surgery. This step should involve the patient.

  • Marking the location: Marking the surgical site is always a requirement prior to any procedure. . Though it may seem redundant, this step is necessary to avoid critical errors.  The patient must know the exact area of operation prior to being put under anesthesia.

  • Time out: Once everything is discussed,marked, and answered, a “time out” should be taken prior to starting the operation. This time out is the last opportunity for both the surgeon and the patient to discuss the key points of the procedure. This information should be verified and checked numerous times for both parties to ensure that the correct procedure is being performed.

 

Performing surgery on the wrong site would be considered medical malpractice. Your doctor must take the necessary precautions  to prevent wrong site surgical mistakes from happening. If an error like this has occurred, you may have a case for medical malpractice and should contact an attorney.