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Back June 24, 2020

Did Your Surgeon Make a Serious Mistake?

Did Your Surgeon Make a Serious Mistake

Surgery is a risky procedure no matter which medical facility or surgeon you select. There are many inherent risks that surgical patients consent to when they agree to have surgery. Thankfully, the chances of those risks coming to fruition are slim. Sometimes the surgeon, the hospital, or other medical staff make mistakes that increase the chances of an adverse outcome. If you or someone you love suffered a poor surgical outcome, you are not alone. The Matthews medical malpractice lawyers at the Panchenko Law Firm are here to help.  

Is a Surgical Mistake Medical Malpractice?

Like all personal injury claims, a medical malpractice claim must meet specific requirements to be viable. If those requirements do not exist, you will lose your case. When you meet with skilled Matthews medical malpractice lawyers, they will be looking to see if the following conditions exist within your case:

A breach of the standard of care—The standard of care is determined by what is recognized by what other experts in the profession agree is adequate medical care. If your surgeon took action or failed to take action in a way that a reasonably prudent surgeon in similar circumstances would not have, they have breached their duty to you.

Injury arising from negligence—Violating the standard of care is never acceptable. However, it is only when that violation gives rise to an injury that a legal claim can exist. The patient needs to show that they sustained an injury that would otherwise not have occurred if it were not for the negligence of the surgeon.

Injury resulting in substantial damages—Medical malpractice lawsuits are inherently one of the most expensive types of lawsuits. They demand the testimony of many expert witnesses and hours of depositions. If your damages are minimal, your case may not be worth pursuing as the cost of litigation could be even more than your eventual settlement or court award. Injuries that result in disability, loss of income, unusual or continued pain, suffering, and hardship, or significant past and future medical bills are typically the ones worth litigating. However, it is always advisable to schedule a case review with a Matthews medical malpractice attorney who can determine if your case is worth pursuing or not.

Examples of Surgical Errors

There are dozens of different types of surgical errors that can occur when a patient consents to surgery. The most common ones are:

  • Causing nerve damage during surgery
  • Administering too much or too little medication, such as an anesthesia error
  • Placing the surgical incision at the incorrect location
  • Leaving a piece of surgical equipment, such as surgical sponges or instruments, inside a patient after surgery
  • Performing surgery on the wrong body part
  • Performing surgery on the wrong patient
  • Perforation of the bowel
  • Lacerated bladder or colon
  • Performing surgery that is unnecessary
  • Improperly sterilized surgical instruments
  • Failing to provide adequate monitoring before, during, and after surgery
  • Puncturing or severing an artery or internal organ
  • Failing to provide all information required for the patient to make an informed decision about surgery
  • Failing to obtain surgical consent (in non-emergency situations)

Patients who believe they have suffered significant damages due to a surgical error should contact a well-versed Matthews medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Waiting to seek legal advice can reduce the chances that you will receive fair compensation for your damages.

What Causes Surgical Errors?

Each surgery and patient is unique, which also means that every surgical error and its underlying cause are different. Even though there is a broad range of differences, most surgical errors arise from one of the following:

  • Incompetence—It is possible that your surgeon is not experienced in your type of surgery or does not have the skills necessary to perform surgery competently
  • Lack of Preoperative Planning—Much planning must go into even a simple or routine procedure. Surgeons must be familiar and comfortable with any medical conditions their patient has, as well as any complications that could potentially arise. Nurses and operating room staff must also be prepared by having the necessary equipment and baseline knowledge of the patient and the surgery.
  • Not Following Proper Work Processes—Sometimes, surgeons make errors by assuming specific surgical steps are not essential and taking shortcuts. 
  • Lack of Adequate Communications—Multiple critical errors can occur if surgeons and the surgical staff do not appropriately communicate. It is imperative that surgeons and all of the involved staff communicate about the patient, the type of surgery, the surgical site, and medications.
  • Fatigue—Working long shifts is quite common in the medical field, including surgeons and surgical staff. Tired individuals are more likely to make mistakes, whereas those who are well-rested.
  • Alcohol and Drug Use—There is no denying that surgeons are under tremendous stress. Unfortunately, they sometimes turn to drugs or alcohol as an outlet for this stress. 
  • Neglect—There are situations in which surgeons are, for whatever reason, not as careful as they should be. They may be rushing to get somewhere, or they could even have their mind on other things. Failing to avoid known defective surgical equipment or to use properly sanitized equipment are examples of neglect.

You do not have to know or determine the cause of your surgeon’s error. When you hire Matthews medical malpractice lawyers, they will examine all of the evidence and make a determination that will be used to settle or litigate your case.

Reach Out to Experienced Matthews Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Anyone can make a mistake on the job. However, surgeons and other health caregivers are appropriately held to a higher standard. Even one small mistake has the potential to change lives forever. Easy steps such as checklists, redundant verification of procedures, and paying closer attention to the matter at hand can all lead to a reduction in common surgical errors. Failing to take these steps to protect surgical patients like yourself is inexcusable. If you are ready to pursue a legal claim, we are ready to advocate for you. Call the Panchenko Law Firm today at (704) 900-7675 or complete an online contact request to receive your legal consultation with one of our experienced Matthews medical malpractice lawyers.


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