Surgical Errors and Medical Malpractice

There is no such thing as a minor surgery.  Every surgical procedure, from having your appendix removed to a quadruple bypass, is a serious matter.  No one wants to hear after their surgery that there was an error.  However, simply because an error occurred does not necessarily mean that medical malpractice was involved.

Medical Malpractice

 

The mere occurrence of a surgical error does not necessarily mean that someone is liable for medical malpractice.  When receiving any form of medical treatment, that treatment must adhere to an accepted medical standard of care, and should you receive sub-standard care you must have been harmed for it to be considered medical malpractice.

If care did not fall below the medical standard, or you were not harmed by sub-standard care, then you are not the victim of medical malpractice.  Generally, standard of care is considered to be “the type and level of care an ordinary, prudent, health care professional, with the same training and experience, would provide under similar circumstances in the same community.”

Surgical Errors

A surgical error is defined as a preventable mistake made during surgery.  There is a certain amount of risk with every surgery.  Therefore, it is typical that a patient will sign a form prior to surgery that he or she understands the risks involved.  This is known as informed consent.  However, surgical errors are beyond the known risks of surgery because they are unexpected.

There are several different reasons why surgical errors occur including:

  • Incompetence (a surgeon may not have performed the procedure very many times and therefore lacks the skill to perform the surgery successfully)
  • Improper work process (a surgeon may determine that certain steps during a surgery are not necessary when they are)
  • Insufficient preoperative planning (it is important that a surgeon review and prepare for any complications that may occur during surgery)
  • Fatigue
  • Drugs/Alcohol
  • Poor communication
  • Neglect (there are times when a surgeon is not as careful as he or she should be)

Some of the most common types of surgical errors include:

  • Administering too much or too little medication
  • Injuring a nerve
  • Leaving a piece of surgical equipment behind
  • Performing an incision in the wrong place
  • Operating on the wrong body part
  • Operating on the wrong patient

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com

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