When are Surgical Errors Considered Medical Malpractice?

Surgeon in operating room performing procedure with cartoon-style thought bubble that reads, in very small letters,

Surgical errors are some of the most egregious mistakes that can occur in a health care setting. They can result in severe injury, painful complications and even death.

If you have been the victim of a surgical error, the medical malpractice attorneys at Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC may be able to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for the damages you have suffered.

Review the information below to learn more about these types of claims:

Examples of Surgical Errors

No matter what type of surgical error you suffered, it probably falls under one of three categories, including:

Wrong-Site Surgical Errors

These occur when a surgeon operates on the wrong body part. Examples include:

  • Operating on the wrong arm or leg
  • Operating on the wrong side of the body
  • Removing part of an organ when the cancerous tumor that needs to be removed is on a different part of the organ

These types of errors are relatively rare, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Wrong-Procedure Surgical Mistakes

This refers to a situation where the surgeon performs a procedure the patient did not provide consent for. An example would be removing a limb or operating on an internal organ when the patient consented to a completely different procedure.

In some cases, a patient who received the wrong procedure might not realize it until a follow-up appointment with his or her doctor.

This type of surgical error could lead to infections and other side effects that require rehabilitation, medications and other expensive treatments

Wrong-Patient Surgical Errors

This is when a surgeon performs a procedure on one patient that is intended for another. This often occurs because patients have similar names and hospital staff failed to take appropriate steps to prevent it from happening.

One of the worst parts about these errors is that they affect two patients, not just one.

How to Establish Malpractice

Surgical errors are often caused by:

  • Communication breakdowns between hospital staff and doctors
  • Fatigue on the part of doctors or other staff members
  • Incompetence
  • Failing to follow safety protocols
  • Poor planning

However, these errors by themselves do not provide the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit. You must establish these four things:

  • Doctor-patient relationship – This is established when a doctor provides treatment or agrees to provide treatment. Once this relationship is established, the doctor is held to a duty of care. This is a legal obligation to provide care that fits accepted medical standards for the situation and his or her medical training.
  • The duty of care was breached – This is when the surgeon does not uphold the accepted standard of care for the situation. This is often established using testimony from medical experts.
  • The breach of duty of care caused an injury – You must be able to show that the injury you suffered was directly caused by the breach of duty of care.
  • Your injury resulted in damages – This means that your injury created medical bills, lost wages or other physical, financial or emotional effects.  

Consult Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys Today

Our law firm has more than 30 years of experience serving clients who have been the victims of negligence, including medical malpractice.

We recognize how an injury can impact your life and that is why we are committed to fighting for the fair compensation you deserve.

Schedule a free, no obligation legal consultation today to find out if we can help you. If you have a case, and you decide to proceed, we will immediately begin a comprehensive investigation to build a strong case.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form or call 1-877-692-3862 right now.


Our Lawyers Don’t Stop Fighting for Your Medical Malpractice Settlement Until Justice Is Served

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