All surgeries carry a risk of serious injury or death. But we trust that the doctors who operate on us, and the healthcare providers who help, will know what they are doing. When medical professionals make mistakes, patients suffer, sometimes permanently. There’s no guarantee that your surgeon won’t commit a surgical error. However, healthcare providers are required to perform their jobs with reasonable care and diligence. Those who don’t are liable for medical malpractice and the attorneys of Hale & Monico will fight to hold them accountable.
Common Surgical Errors
Surgical errors are not as rare as you might think. There are a broad range of mistakes that your doctor may commit in the course of a surgery, or immediately before and after. They include the following:
- Unnecessary surgery. While we assume that recommended surgery is vital to our health or even our lives, many unnecessary operations are performed every year. These expose the patient to avoidable risk and long-term complications.
- Performing the wrong surgery. Even if the correct procedure is prescribed, that’s no guarantee the surgeon will carry it out. Not only will the patient need to recover from the incorrect operation, the underlying condition will not have been treated.
- Wrong-site surgery. Procedures, including amputations, are often carried out on the wrong part of the body because of incorrect patient records or failure to follow the right steps before the surgery. Doing this also presents the added danger of not addressing the underlying condition.
- Leaving surgical tools in the body. Clamps and other tools, commonly used by surgeons, are occasionally left in the body. This mistake may cause pain or lead to dangerous infections.
- Surgical anesthesia errors. Anesthesia is necessary to manage pain, but is dangerous if not handled properly. Too much, too little, or failing to monitor the patient’s vital signs while under anesthesia, can lead to serious, permanent injuries or death.
- Infections. Unsanitary medical equipment or improper use of antiseptic can lead to infections, even in relatively minor surgeries. This can lead to a host of problems, including sepsis and organ failure.
- Other complications. Besides infections, there are often complications stemming from breathing difficulties, excessive bleeding, and other problems. Failure to address these can lead to further injuries.
Causes Of Surgical Errors
Victims of surgical errors need to understand why these mistakes occur in the first place. Learning the causes of these errors can help them hold the doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional responsible. Some of those causes are:
- Inadequate preoperative planning. There’s a lot that goes into surgery, and doctors have to be prepared. Having the right equipment, reviewing the patient’s records, and preparing for possible complications are all part of that planning.
- Not following all required steps. Surgery is a delicate process that requires patience and diligence. Skipping necessary procedures, trying to rush the operation, and making shortcuts can all lead to costly errors.
- Incompetence. Not all surgeons have the necessary experience or skill set to perform certain operations. They may have performed unrelated surgeries that did not prepare them for the one in question.
- Communication errors. There are many medical professionals involved in your surgery, from the doctors and nurses to the hospital or clinic staff. Unfortunately, this can lead to multiple communication mistakes about the patient or the procedure.
- Fatigue. Doctors and nurses are known for working long shifts. Fatigue can lead to misjudgments and missteps in the surgery.
Proving Surgical Error Malpractice
Holding your healthcare provider liable for surgical errors is not as simple as demonstrating that mistakes were made. Malpractice, which is negligence involving your surgery, has to be proven. That requires showing that your surgeon, nurse, or other individual failed to perform the procedure according to the appropriate standard of care.
The “standard of care” is that which a reasonably prudent healthcare professional, given his or her experience and training, would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. In other words, the error must be considered unreasonable to meet the legal definition of malpractice. If the error caused injury to the patient – and other requirements are met – the surgeon may be held accountable.
How A Surgical Error Attorney Can Help
An experienced attorney will understand the complexities of Illinois malpractice law and how they apply to your case. That means anticipating how the defendant will answer the allegations and being prepared to respond.
Doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers and institutions have the resources it takes to defend themselves. And they have seasoned attorneys at their disposal who vigorously defend against allegations of malpractice. Not only can a judgment of liability cost them substantial sums of money, it can damage their reputations. With so much on the line, they will not back down from a fight.
Part of your case will require bringing in expert witnesses who can testify about complicated medical topics and shed light on how the defendant violated his or her duty of care. We have a network of such witnesses, and we know how to prove liability in court.
Finally, the objective of a malpractice lawsuit is to restore the victim to the state they were in before the error. To do that, it’s imperative to understand the full extent of your damages. Surgical errors can cause victims not only pain and suffering but require costly medical bills to undo the mistake. Victims often need months or even years of treatment, and in some cases their disabilities are permanent. We thoroughly examine each case to determine the nature and amount of damages our clients need to get back to their lives.
Contact Our Chicago Surgical Error Attorney Today
Malpractice cases are never easy to win, but we don’t take no for an answer. If you or a loved one suffered from surgical errors and would like to explore your legal options, call Hale & Monico today.