A surgical error is any preventable mistake that a surgeon makes during surgery and, as such, they are a major cause of medical malpractice lawsuits. Experts estimate that surgeons commit over 4,000 preventable mistakes every year, which cost the medical industry more than $1.3 billion in malpractice payouts. Surgical errors can result in very serious injuries and even, in some cases, death. Whenever a surgeon commits medical malpractice, you need a skilled attorney to represent you and work towards recovering compensation for damages incurred.
The attorneys at Slappey & Sadd have extensive experience representing victims of medical malpractice, including surgical errors, and will vigorously protect your interests in the event that you are injured on the operating table.Types of Surgical Errors We See
We represent clients who have suffered all types of surgical errors, but there are certain surgical errors that we commonly see:
- Causing nerve and nerve tissue damage;
- Making anesthesia errors;
- Performing an incision at the wrong location;
- Leaving a piece of equipment inside a patient;
- Operating on the wrong body part; and
- Operating on the wrong patient.
Research reveals that there were approximately 10,000 malpractice settlements and judgments for surgical errors between 1990 and 2010. Their analysis estimates that all surgeons combined make common errors at specific rates:
- Leave a foreign object (like a sponge or a towel) inside a patient’s body after an operation 39 times per week;
- Perform the wrong procedure on a patient 20 times per week; and
- Operate on the wrong body part 20 times per week.
As these numbers demonstrate, surgical errors are not uncommon occurrences, and they represent a significant risk for any patient who must undergo surgery.A Surgeon’s Liability for Errors
If a surgeon makes a mistake that results in injury to the patient, that surgeon is liable for medical malpractice. However, just because a surgeon makes a mistake does not mean that he or she has committed medical malpractice. In order to establish liability, you must show that the surgeon’s behavior fell below the medical standard of care and that you were harmed by the error. For example, if a surgeon leaves a small towel inside you after surgery but you never notice it or suffer any ill effects because of it, the doctor’s behavior fell below the medical standard of care but he or she did not commit malpractice because you were not harmed. If, however, a surgeon accidentally amputates your right arm when he or she should have amputated your left arm, the surgeon has engaged in malpractice because his or her behavior fell below the medical standard of care and caused you injury. Such a case would enable you to bring a medical malpractice claim against the surgeon.