An amputation can be a life-saving measure to fight a spreading infection or mitigate the consequences from a traumatic injury. However, unnecessary, or negligent amputation can also be medical malpractice.
If you suspect your recent loss of limb was due to amputation procedure malpractice, you are likely considering legal representation. If you are looking for more information, you might consider contacting the experienced legal team at Janet, Janet & Suggs, who can help you navigate the complex legal process and seek the justice you deserve.
What Is Amputation Medical Malpractice?
Malpractice relating to amputations generally falls into two categories:
- Surgical errors: While rare, surgical errors can result in amputation due to damage to the surrounding tissue, foreign objects left behind in the patient after surgery, or infection caused by negligence during or after the surgery.
- Failure to diagnosis: Infection, clots, and peripheral artery diseases (PAD) are some of the medical conditions that may lead to a preventable amputation if diagnosed and managed appropriately before amputation is necessary.
In some cases of surgical errors, the amputation may be inevitable but still results in errors or complications as a result of a healthcare professional’s negligence. These can be a larger portion of a limb needing to be removed, greater tissue damage, a more severe infection, or a longer recovery period. In the case of failure to diagnose amputation malpractice cases, the amputation likely would have been preventable had the healthcare professional in question not negligently missed a serious health concern that ended up resulting in amputation, such as a blood clot.
Specifically, medical malpractice involving amputation may include situations in which:
- The amputation results from compartment syndrome, which can result from an improperly applied cast, trauma, compression, and other causes. This is swelling in an extremity which increases pressure in the tissue that causes decreased circulation.
- A medical professional fails to diagnose and treat an infection before it worsens, resulting in preventable amputation.
- A medical professional improperly provides wound care, causing infection that results in amputation.
- The medical professional operates on the wrong limb or damages a limb during surgery.
- Surgical complications arise, and medical professionals fail to adhere to the standard of care.
The last thing anyone wants is to lose a limb without cause. Amputation of a limb is a major surgery, which comes with a substantial recovery time. Additionally, patients will need to learn to navigate their existing lives without the limb or with the use of a prosthetic.
Surgical expenses, physical therapy, and prosthetics are not only all serious consequences of amputation but are expensive. In the event that medical malpractice played a role in the need for a limb’s amputation, you may be able to recover these expenses with the help of an experienced attorney.
What Do You Need to Prove in a Malpractice Case Involving Amputation?
In order to prove that you have been the victim of amputation medical malpractice, your situation must meet the following basic criteria for general malpractice:
- Duty of care. The healthcare provider you are considering suing were responsible for your or your loved one’s care.
- Violation of standard of care. The healthcare provider was negligent (“violated the standard of care”), meaning he or she did not act as a reasonably prudent health care provider would act under the same or similar circumstances.
- Injuries. The healthcare provider’s negligence or error resulted in injury.
- Damages. The injury has resulted in negative financial, emotional, or similar consequences.
If malpractice did occur, it is likely to have involved one or more recognizable errors. You should familiarize yourself with these errors to determine if your situation seems to meet the criteria before deciding to pursue a malpractice claim. If you are unsure of any of these, seek further guidance from an injury lawyer near you.
Notable experiences of patients who may have a medical malpractice claim include, but are not limited to:
- Compartment syndrome and the resulting damage to a limb
- Failure to diagnose or treat an infection in a timely manner
- Infection caused by improper care by a medical professional
- Failure to adhere to proper care standards after surgical complications
- Amputation of the wrong limb during surgery
- Failure of emergency room staff to recognize and treat blood clots
- Mismanagement of medication leading to clotting
- Spread of infection due to misdiagnosed medical condition
- Infection caused by leaving surgical equipment in the patient’s body
Any time a patient experiences devastating health consequences, the cost of care may grow exponentially. Longer hospital stays, home healthcare, and other long-term treatments resulting from amputation for limb-threatening injuries all add up quickly. The lost income during recovery and future lost wages as a result of the amputation, as well as the pain and suffering experienced by the patient, will all be a factor in calculating the amount of recovery sought in a medical malpractice claim.
How Are Amputation Malpractice Cases Resolved?
Depending on your situation, the statute of limitations—the period during which you are able to file a lawsuit—can be short. Even if you are unsure whether you want to pursue a malpractice lawsuit, it’s important to reach out for a consultation as soon as possible so you can get all the facts you need to make your decision.
If your potential claim can be pursued as a medical malpractice case, JJS malpractice lawyers will work to get you justice, whether that is a settlement or a trial verdict in your favor. Compensation for these cases will vary depending on a few factors:
- Doctor and hospital bills—past, current, and future
- Lost income—past, current, and future
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Quality of life concerns
Why Should You Choose Janet, Janet & Suggs?
Though the circumstances of your case will determine the amount of potential compensation, JJS’s commitment to fighting for a win holds steady for all our clients. Partner Howard A. Janet has over 40 years of experience representing victims of malpractice and has achieved hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation during that time. When you work with JJS, you work with a team that is widely recognized among the top medical malpractice attorneys in the country.
Our aim is to champion those impacted by the errors of healthcare professionals, achieving hundreds of millions of dollars in record-breaking verdicts and settlements for our clients. Our experienced attorneys and network of expert witnesses will help you find your way through the complex process of your medical malpractice case to seek justice and fair compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case review.
William R. “Topper” Cramer, RN, MBA, MS, CCRN, CFRN, EMT-P
Legal Nurse Consultant | Nurse Paralegal
Topper has been involved in emergency, transport, and critical care medicine since 1978 when he became an EMT in high school. A United States Air Force veteran, he remains active as a pre-hospital RN/paramedic, certified flight nurse, and critical care nurse. In addition to his professional role as a nurse consultant/nurse paralegal, he is the Chief of Operations at Walkersville Volunteer Rescue in Frederick County, Maryland. READ FULL BIO