Some common postoperative complications caused by medical malpractice, such as postoperative fever, shock, hemorrhaging, atelectasis, wound infection, embolism and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism or other lung complications, urinary retention or an adverse reaction to anesthesia can lead to serious injuries. Most of these complications occur 1-3 days after an operation with severe debilitating or life-threatening effects. Reaching out to an experienced medical malpractice attorney may be your next best step forward in seeking both justice and compensation for your suffering. Read on to learn what qualifies as medical malpractice and what to expect from the process if you think you have a legal case.
How Do Postoperative Complications Occur?
Surgery is always a difficult undertaking. Even the most straightforward operations require an expert surgeon and thorough care before, during, and after the surgery. While complications can arise in the aftermath of even a successful procedure, it is also possible for complications to occur due to negligence.
Usually, malpractice involving postoperative complications falls into one of a handful of scenarios, including:
- Failure to recognize indicators of complication before the surgery (was surgery done on a patient who wasn’t a good candidate for that procedure?)
- Failure to recognize signs of infection or bleeding after a surgery
- Failure to provide an adequately sanitary environment during or following the surgery
Any complications that arise due to surgery should be recognized and treated immediately, but sometimes healthcare professionals fail to provide treatment even when a patient complains of discomfort. Unfortunately, complications following a surgery can result in shock, blood clots, infection (including sepsis), and even death.
If you or a loved one has experienced severe postoperative complications that led to serious personal injury or potentially warrant significant damages, it’s possible that a doctor should have recognized the signs before dismissing you from care. Building a case that demonstrates failure on behalf of your medical provider to detect or diagnose these complications may qualify as malpractice with implications that may make you eligible to receive just compensation.
What Do You Need to Prove in a Malpractice Case Involving Postoperative Complications?
In order to prove that you have been the victim of medical malpractice, your situation must meet the following basic criteria for general malpractice:
- Duty of care. The medical professionals you are considering suing were responsible for your or your loved one’s care.
- Violation of standard of care. The healthcare provider violated processes or procedures that the general medical community would consider standard.
- Injuries. That negligence or error resulted in injury.
- Causation. That negligence or error was the actual and proximate cause of the injury or injuries.
- Damages. The injury has resulted in negative financial, emotional, or similar consequences.
If malpractice did occur, it likely involved a medical professional’s failure to recognize the symptoms of an issue listed above after surgery. If you experienced infection, or a more serious condition like sepsis, immediately following your surgery, there’s a chance that your condition occurred due to negligence. Additionally, if you experience any of the following symptoms, it may indicate that you have postoperative bleeding, a common complication from surgery:
- Blurred vision
- Change in blood pressure or heart rate
- Bleeding, oozing, swelling, or bruising near the surgical site
- Difficulty breathing
- Fever-like symptoms, such as pain, fatigue, or pale/clammy skin
If you experience any such symptoms, reach out to a medical professional right away. Chances are these are issues a doctor should have already identified, so it might be time to think about legal action.
How Are Malpractice Cases Involving Postoperative Complications Resolved?
The first step in resolving any medical malpractice case is to find an experienced malpractice law firm and set up an appointment. Any case involving surgical malpractice is likely to be complex and can add stress on top of your injury. Having experienced legal support on your side will ensure that a difficult process doesn’t become harder than it has to be.
Depending on your situation, the statute of limitations—the period of time in which you may file a lawsuit—can be short. That’s why it is imperative for those who believe they are victims of postoperative medical malpractice to act swiftly and decidedly, ensuring that all evidence is gathered to build the strongest case possible.
If your case is appropriate for pursuing legal liability, your malpractice lawyers will work to get you justice, whether that is a settlement or a verdict in your favor. Settlement and judgment amounts vary, taking into account the following 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
Janet, Janet & Suggs Can Fight for Your Rights
Janet, Janet & Suggs has over 40 years of experience with medical malpractice lawsuits. We provide expert witnesses and attorneys to support clients through the complex process of a medical malpractice case involving postoperative complications.
In a case against a government-employed healthcare provider, JJS reached a settlement of $13 million after poor postoperative care led to brain damage and cerebral palsy. We have experience with this type of case, and you can put that expertise to work in your favor. Our nationally recognized track record of successful verdicts demonstrates our commitment to working for justice and fair compensation. We fight for victims of medical malpractice, and there are no fees until your case is won. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn about your rights.
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