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Surgery Errors that Lead to Malpractice Claims

Today, hospitals and medical providers try to get patients through the surgical process and subsequent recovery as quickly as possible. Although there is merit in wanting to get patients back to health as soon as possible, moving so quickly also invites the risk of surgical errors that can injure a patient. Surgical errors are some of the most common medical malpractice cases in the country, and more frequently lead to fatal outcomes for patients than other kinds of medical malpractice. If a patient is the victim of a surgical error, he, she or their family may have a viable medical malpractice claim for compensation.

Common Types of Surgical Errors

Although there are likely limitless examples of surgical errors, some of the most common types of errors include:

  • Wrong site surgery, which occurs when a surgery is performed on the wrong part of the body — this most often occurs to body parts that come in pairs, such as limbs, eyes, lungs, or kidneys
  • Wrong patient, which involves surgery being performed on the wrong patient, usually the result of paperwork mix-ups and failure to confirm the patient’s identity before surgery.
  • Unnecessary surgery, when an unneeded surgery is performed on a patient
  • Infections, which occur when surgical instruments are not sterile or surgical staff fail to properly scrub in; infections can be especially deadly when a patient is already suffering from a compromised immune system or some other underlying medical condition
  • Equipment left in the body, which typically occurs because surgical staff fail to account for all equipment used in the surgery prior to closing the patient
  • Physical damage, including damage to internal organs or damage to nerve tissue, which can be accidentally perforated by scalpels or other surgical instruments
  • Anesthesia errors, when a patient is given too much (or too little) anesthesia or given anesthesia that has a negative interaction with other medication the patient takes

Making a Legal Claim Following a Surgical Error

Some surgical errors are very clearly medical malpractice, such as leaving instruments or equipment inside a patient or performing surgery on the wrong site or the wrong patient. However, some surgical errors are much less clear-cut, such as an infection or an anesthesia error. When a surgical error arises because a medical professional fails to act according to the applicable standard of care, the error may be the result of medical malpractice.

It is important to note that almost all surgical errors are not malicious. Doctors and other medical providers are human, and can be fatigued from being overworked or could be sick themselves. Instead, the question in any surgical care is simply whether the treatment that was rendered fell below the applicable standard of care — the acts that another reasonable medical provider of similar training and experience would have undertaken in identical circumstances. 

Unfortunately, surgical errors can lead to serious damages for a patient, including further expensive medical treatment, missed time from work, and pain and suffering. In serious cases, the patient’s health will never be as good as it was or as good as it could have been absent the surgical error. Thus, the victim of a surgical error and their family may be entitled to pursue a medical malpractice claim that will provide compensation for economic losses, pain and suffering, and lost quality of life.

Contact a Brick Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Surgical Error Case in New Jersey

Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in New Jersey? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Red Bank surgical error attorneys at Drazin & Warshaw, P.C. are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists in Brick, Stafford Township, Toms River, Point Pleasant and throughout Ocean County, Middlesex County and Monmouth County, New Jersey. Call Drazin & Warshaw, P.C. today at (732) 576-8860 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our main office is located at 25 Reckless Place, Red Bank, NJ 07701, and we also have offices in Hazlet and Brick.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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