unnecessary surgery

When Is Unnecessary Surgery A Form Of Medical Malpractice?

There is growing evidence that doctors are pushing their patients into getting surgeries that they may not need, rather than considering alternative – and safer – forms of treatment. Every surgery, including a relatively minor one, carries a number of risks for the patient. And if an unnecessary surgery turns out to injure the patient, he or she may have a legal claim of medical malpractice.

Malpractice lawsuits are complex matters that are best handled by experienced attorneys. If you or a family member in Illinois were injured by medical malpractice, talk to Hale & Monico.

Whether surgery is truly unnecessary depends almost entirely on the individual circumstances. As a general rule, however, surgery may be considered unnecessary if an alternative (such as medication) would be considered as or more effective. In other words, all things being equal, the doctor should recommend the least dangerous course of treatment.

Risks Of Unnecessary Surgery

The risks of surgery are many. Even a minor procedure can go wrong and cause unexpected complications that can lead to permanent injury or death. A few of the most common risks of surgery include:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Internal organ damage
  • Accidental amputation
  • Surgical removal of the wrong part of the body
  • Infection
  • Risks from anesthesia
  • Post-surgical medication that can cause injury
  • Death

Some examples of surgeries that may be unnecessary are:

  • Cesarean section (C-section)
  • Hysterectomy
  • Angioplasty
  • Implantation of a pacemaker
  • Coronary artery bypass
  • Cardiac catheterization

Of course, surgery sometimes is necessary. But a responsible doctor will explore alternatives that don’t involve so much risk.

Why Do Unnecessary Surgeries Happen?

Understanding the cause is critical to establishing negligence in a subsequent medical malpractice lawsuit. A patient may be operated on unnecessarily due to:

  • Understaffing or the doctor having too many patients
  • Inexperience or lack of training
  • Financial incentive to perform an operation
  • Misdiagnosis of a disease or condition
  • Mixed up medical records

These and other factors may lead a patient to an unnecessary procedure. If the patient becomes injured during the operation, he or she could have a legal claim of medical malpractice. To establish malpractice in Illinois, the injured patient must prove the following:

  • Duty of care, usually shown by demonstrating the existence of a doctor-patient relationship
  • Breach, meaning by some act of negligence the doctor violated the duty of care
  • Causation, which means the breach actually caused injury to the patient
  • Damages, meaning that as a result of the above elements, the patient suffered losses for which he or she may seek monetary compensation

Available Damages

Damages vary from one case to another. In an unnecessary surgery malpractice claim, the damages may include:

  • Medical bills due to having to treat injuries stemming from the surgery
  • Prescription drug medications to help treat the injury
  • Lost wages because of the time needed to recover
  • Lost future earnings if the patient can no longer work the same job
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Wrongful death in the event the patient dies during surgery

Medical malpractice claims are always challenging, and you can be sure the doctor will be defended vigorously by his or her lawyers and malpractice insurance carrier. You deserve someone in your corner who’s experienced in fighting for the legal rights of Illinois medical malpractice victims. You deserve Hale & Monico. Let us discuss your case now.