Surgical Errors as Medical Malpractice

July 25, 2023
Surgical Errors as Medical Malpractice

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional causes an injury to a patient as a result of negligence or omission on the healthcare professional’s part. It involves a medical error that occurred during any stage of patient care such as diagnosis, treatment, aftercare, health management, and medication administration.

Individual healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, technicians, surgeons, etc. are usually the ones at fault for medical malpractice, however, it is entirely possible for the burden to also include medical institutions such as hospitals and clinics.

Surgical Errors as Medical Malpractice

Every surgery, big or small, involves some level of risk, and there are chances that a patient goes into surgery to resolve an issue and comes out further injured. All surgical patients assume the risk attached to surgeries that follow proper standards of care. Therefore, it is important to note that not all surgical errors can be classified as medical malpractice. To be considered medical malpractice, surgical errors must have occurred as a result of the surgeon doing the surgery failing to follow proper procedures and standard of care, and any harm to a patient must be the direct result of this failure.

If your surgery had an error, but you weren’t harmed by it, then it is unlikely that you would be successful in bringing a medical malpractice claim against the surgeon. If you were injured during a surgery, even after the surgeon took all the proper measures, then this also likely wouldn’t be considered medical malpractice. As mentioned before, you consent to this risk prior to undergoing surgery.

Examples of surgical errors that may be considered medical malpractice include:

  • Performing surgery on the wrong body part
  • Leaving surgical equipment inside patient’s body
  • Improper dosage of anesthesia
  • Damaging a nerve
  • Improper post-surgery treatment

Surgical errors can happen for many reasons such as:

  • Incompetence of surgeon
  • Fatigued surgeon
  • Poor communication between surgeon and nurses
  • Substance abuse by surgeon
  • Neglect by surgeon

How To Claim Medical Malpractice

In surgical error cases, the crucial point is determining whether another healthcare professional with the same training and experience would provide a similar treatment. If a mistake or a decision is something that another surgeon wouldn’t make under similar circumstances, then the patient did not receive a proper standard of care.

If you suspect that you are a victim of a surgical error, it’s important to have proof that 1) the medical treatment provided to you was below the proper standard of care, and 2) this below standard treatment was the reason for your injury. It is only with these pieces of information that you can claim medical malpractice due to a surgical error.

It is in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer who can assist you in filing a case against the responsible parties since medical malpractice cases are complex and fact-specific. Our lawyers at Ball Eggleston have extensive experience in fighting for our clients in medical malpractice cases. We will work with you to prepare the ultimate case to receive compensation for the damages from the surgery and for the pain and suffering caused by the surgical error.