Although there are risks inherent with having surgery, sometimes otherwise avoidable injuries occur due to surgical errors made by medical providers.
It can be traumatic to have to recover physically and emotionally from a surgical mistake.
If you have been the victim of a surgical error, contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico, LLC.
Contact us today to get started.
What Are Some Typical Surgical Errors?
Common types of surgical errors include, but are not limited to the following:
- Failure to monitor;
- Mistakes during a procedure;
- Anesthesia errors; and
- Communication errors.
With any surgical error, the plaintiff, or the party filing the lawsuit, is required to prove the opposing party was negligent. Our team outlines the ways negligence can arise in these different types of surgical errors below.
Failure to Monitor
When patients check into a healthcare facility, they must be monitored closely to avoid unanticipated reactions and erratic vital signs. When a patient starts deteriorating, medical personnel must recognize it and respond quickly to prevent fatal consequences. Research indicates that between 10% and 13% of patient hospital deaths can be attributed to inaction or the lack of recognition of deterioration. Monitoring is especially crucial after a major surgical operation or childbirth. This type of negligence may involve a failure to:
- Check a patient’s vital signs,
- Evaluate surgical wounds for signs of infection,
- Review the prescriptions a patient is taking,
- Evaluate a patient’s lab or test results, or
- React to signs of distress.
A medical professional cannot keep their eyes on one patient for every second of their shift. However, certain patients may need extra monitoring depending on the severity of their symptoms, the complexity of their diagnosis, or their risk of infection.
If a provider negligently fails to monitor a patient’s condition and causes additional injuries or existing ones, they may be liable for medical malpractice.
Mistakes During a Procedure
Surgeries are inherently risky, but some avoidable errors during surgery by medical personnel can give rise to a medical malpractice claim.
The most common surgery errors in the United States are operating on the incorrect body part, performing the wrong procedure, using improper methods, or performing the procedure on the wrong patient.
For example, a neurosurgeon may incorrectly operate on the left side of the brain instead of the right. These “wrong-site, wrong-procedure, wrong-patient errors” (WSPEs) are called “never events” because they should never occur in an operating room and indicate underlying safety concerns.
Research indicates that WSPEs happen in an estimated one out of every 112,000 surgical procedures performed in an operating room. Although surgeries have inherent risks, negligent hospital workers create additional concerns.
If your loved one suffered a complication in surgery that caused their death, contact a Maryland surgical error lawyer to discuss your case.
Many patients receive anesthesia during surgical operations to put them to sleep and prevent them from feeling pain. Anesthesia is typically administered through a breathing tube, inhaled through a mask, or injected through an IV.
In some cases, the anesthesiologist may give you the incorrect dose of anesthesia, or your body may react to the anesthesia unexpectedly. Some patients develop confusion and memory issues that last longer than a few days, affecting long-term memory and causing learning issues.
In rare cases, anesthesia can cause a patient to suffer malignant hypothermia. Additionally, your doctor or nurse should give clear instructions about preparing for surgery and coming out of anesthesia.
Approximately 17,116 anesthetic errors resulting in 131 deaths were reported between 2007 and 2014.
Anesthesiologists are trained to administer the correct dosage of medication and monitor patients during surgery.
If the anesthesiologist makes mistakes during the surgery that a similarly trained professional would not have made in a similar situation, they may be liable for subsequent losses.
Our Maryland surgical error lawyers can build a strategy to demonstrate your anesthesiologist’s negligence.
Communication errors are a major cause of inadequate medical care and future medical malpractice claims. Breakdowns in communication between doctors, nurses, surgeons, and other support staff can cause a patient to “slip through the cracks” and suffer medical complications as a result.
A 2022 study by the Journal of Patient Safety found communication failures in 49% of the 50 medical malpractice cases it reviewed.
For example, a nurse evaluates a patient and sees obvious signs of internal bleeding. The nurse finishes her shift without notifying anyone of her discovery.
By the time another nurse evaluates the patient, the internal bleeding inflicts irreversible damage. This is a case where a communication error caused additional or worsening medical issues.
Hospital staff must follow guidelines about relaying important client information through proper channels. Failure to do so can result in communication issues that lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
How Do I Prove a Surgical Error?
To prove medical malpractice, the plaintiff must show that you suffered injuries due to the medical provider’s negligence. To prove negligence, the plaintiff must show:
- The plaintiff was in a doctor-patient relationship with the defendant that imposed a duty of care to act as a similarly trained professional would under the same or similar circumstances;
- The defendant breached their duty of care by deviating from the generally accepted standard of care;
- The plaintiff suffered injuries due to the medical provider’s breach; and
- The defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff losses.
Before you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must file a certificate from a qualified medical expert verifying that they reviewed your claim and determined the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries.
Our team will find a qualified medical professional to testify to the validity of your claim.
How Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help You
At Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico, we dedicate the majority of our practice to representing clients in medical malpractice claims.
We therefore have extensive experience and know what it takes to prove a medical professional’s negligence and recover compensation for a client’s losses. An attorney at our firm can help you by:
- Compiling invoices and financial documents to calculate the value of your losses;
- Locating a qualified medical professional to testify as an expert witness;
- Determining which party is liable for your losses;
- Interviewing nurses and doctors involved with your medical treatment;
- Requesting hospital records and surveillance footage
- Negotiating on your behalf with the defendants and their insurance companies; and
- Preparing your case for trial, if necessary.
Our team has extensive courtroom experience and is not afraid to take your case to trial if the opposing party does not give you a fair settlement offer.
How Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help You
For more information on how we can help you, contact our surgical error attorneys at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico, LLC.
We can help you recover the compensation you deserve.