Approximately 400,000 hospitalized patients in the United States experience some type of preventable injury each year. Many of these come in the form of surgical errors.
Surgeons perform some of the riskiest and life-threatening work in the world by operating on their patients. Unfortunately, not every surgeon executes their duties with the anticipated and required level of care. Even if the surgical error isn’t fatal, it might mean a lifetime of substantial and irreparable injuries. If the surgical error resulted from negligence, the Palm Beach County surgical error lawyers at the Iscoe Law Firm could garner the compensation you or your loved one deserves.
What is a Surgical Error?
The simple definition of a surgical error is that it’s a preventable mistake during surgery. It’s one type of medical malpractice. All operations come with some level of risk. For that reason, unless you are having emergency surgery, you are asked to sign a form before undergoing surgery that states you understand the known involved risks of your procedure. This is known as “informed consent.” However, surgical errors surpass the known risks of surgery. They aren’t unexpected.
Defining Medical Malpractice
Just because a surgical error happens doesn’t mean that anyone is liable for medical malpractice. The medical treatment or surgical procedure in question must adhere to the accepted medical standard of care. If you received substandard treatment, it must result in harm to you.
In other words, it’s only medical malpractice if:
- The error fell below the medical standard of care
- You were injured by it
The standard of care is the type and level of care that ordinary, prudent health care professionals with the same training and experience would provide in similar circumstances in the same general location. If you believe the surgical error you were subjected to constitutes medical malpractice, seek the counsel of an experienced Palm Beach County surgical error lawyer as soon as possible.
Common Florida Surgical Errors
There are many types of surgical errors that can happen in Florida. The most common include the following:
- Inappropriate or unnecessary surgeries
- Anesthesia errors— such as administering too much or not being mindful of a patient’s drug allergies
- Cutting or otherwise injuring an organ or another part of the body by mistake
- Instruments and other foreign objects such as towels or sponges left inside patients
- Pre- or postoperative errors, such as failure to handle complications resulting from a surgery
These and other mistakes can be fatal to a patient. Even if they aren’t, there’s a possibility that the patient will need emergency and sometimes risky treatments to attempt to reverse the error. Surgical mistakes can cause permanent damage and consequences such as paralysis, brain injury, and other severe and life-altering complications.
How Surgical Errors Happen
Medical malpractice cases, which include surgical errors, are based on a legal theory of negligence. Some injured patients and their families are often surprised to learn that not every medical error results from malpractice. Surgeons are human; they aren’t perfect; to their benefit, the law doesn’t expect them to be. To prove any malpractice case in Florida, the injured party or their family must establish that the surgical error was unreasonable in light of the situation. It involves demonstrating that the surgeon displayed some type of negligent act or omission. For instance:
Suppose a surgeon isn’t adequately trained or not trained to handle the specific operation involved. In that case, they are incompetent and shouldn’t execute the procedure. It might seem like common sense, but multiple surgeons commit malpractice each year because they overestimate their skill to perform the operation successfully.
Sometimes the mistake is related to the lack of enough support staff, including operating room nurses and others who are responsible for patient care. Staffing errors can also injure the patient before or after the procedure. For example, a nurse may be overworked and fail to check on the status of a patient after surgery. Or they may forget to chart a patient’s allergies before the surgery.
Surgeons are often overworked and don’t get the necessary rest to perform any surgeries safely. Operations necessitate absolute attention and focus, which is lacking if the body and mind aren’t fully rested.
Alcohol or Drugs
Sadly, an alarming number of surgeons are under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they perform surgical procedures. This clearly is irresponsible conduct and is nearly indisputable evidence of medical malpractice.
Lack of Medical Staff Communication
Errors often happen in the medical field because of poor communication among doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. What might seem like a minor error, such as not comprehensively documenting a patient’s allergies, can have tragic consequences in the operating room. Errors like these are often due to negligence.
Prescription Medication Errors
Patients often must take prescription medications before or after their operations. Frequently, these medications are required to help prevent infections after the surgical procedure or to prevent or reduce post-surgical pain. However, prescription drugs always carry the risk that a patient can be harmed.
These are only a handful of the possible causes of surgical errors. When filing a claim for surgical error medical malpractice, it’s critical to understand why the mistake happened in the first place. Establishing these and other circumstances will be imperative to assert that malpractice was the ultimate cause of the error. When you hire a knowledgeable Palm Beach County surgical error attorney, they can help you establish how and why the error occurred and who is liable.
Examples of Surgical Errors
Many surgical errors can occur as well. Some of the most common our Palm Beach County surgical error attorneys encounter are:
- Damaging a nerve during surgery
- Giving too much or too little medication
- Making an incision at the incorrect area
- Leaving a piece of surgical equipment, sponges, or instruments, inside a patient and closing them up
- Operating on the wrong patient
- Operating on the right patient but the wrong body part
Contact a Well-Versed Palm Beach County Surgical Error Lawyer for Help Today
Learning that you’ve been injured by a surgical error can come as quite a shock. It can be devastating and painful. It’s common to wonder what your rights are and if you have any legal recourse. By contacting a well-versed Palm Beach County surgical error attorney, you can learn more about your legal rights and the next steps you should take. You can learn more and receive a free case review at the Iscoe Law Firm by calling 800 800-6500 or contact us online. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year.