Every year, hundreds of thousands of people across the country go “under the knife” for a surgical procedure. While the vast majority of them will be better off for their surgeries, thousands will be worse for it due to a preventable surgical error. Based on research from multiple safety groups and medical associations, there are at least 4,000 preventable surgery mistakes every year. While this number might seem small, you have to keep in mind that those errors are huge problems for the victims.
Two Categories of Surgical Errors
All surgical mistakes can be sorted into one of two categories:
- Inaction: While avoiding mistakes is important, it can be just as harmful to do nothing at all in certain situations. For example, failing to notice the signs of a surgery patient in distress and doing nothing to address their condition can be life-threatening.
- Incorrect action: On the other hand, a surgeon or assistant medical technician does something incorrectly, it can be even more dangerous, like cutting a blood vessel or nerve during the operation.
Some of the most common surgical mistakes in either category are:
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Injuring uninvolved soft tissues or organs
- Administering the incorrect amount of anesthesia
- Failing to disinfect the surgery site
- Sending the patient home too soon after surgery
- Leaving a medical instrument inside the patient’s body
How Do You Prove a Surgical Error Occurred?
A surgical error is a type of medical malpractice specific to the negligence of surgeons and other related hospital staff members. Just like in any medical malpractice case, the plaintiff in a surgical error case has a steep evidential burden to overcome. Laws and medical industry regulations tend to favor the medical provider, which makes it more difficult to sue them if something goes wrong.
To start, a surgical error case needs to establish four elements:
- Duty: The surgeon and the patient must have an established doctor-patient relationship in which the surgeon owed them the highest standard of medical care.
- Deviance: At some point, the surgeon must have done something that deviated from that standard of medical care. In other words, they must have done something that another surgeon would have reasonably not done in the same situation.
- Direct causation: The difference in medical care must be the direct cause of the patient’s pain, suffering, and disability.
- Damage: The patient must have experienced damage due to the mistake, like more medical bills or prolonged pain. If the mistake was readily fixed and the patient was mostly unbothered by it, then there might not be grounds for a case.
If these four elements can be established in your surgical error claim, then you can work with an attorney to move onto evidence use and collection. You will want to back your case with as much concrete and convincing evidence as possible because speculation often does not work in a medical malpractice case. Additionally, you might be required by the court to back your claim with the testimony of a medical expert, like another surgeon who reviewed your medical records and the surgery case file for issues.
Damages Your Surgery Error Case Can Include
The purpose of a surgery error claim is to help you financially recover from the surgeon’s mistakes and try to move past this painful chapter in your life. Understandably, the more financial compensation you can recover, the easier it will be for you to get back to something close to “normal.” Your surgery error attorney can work on your case to ensure that no damages owed to you are overlooked and left unclaimed.
Surgery error patients can sue for damages that help pay for:
- Future medical care
- Medical costs associated with the erroneous surgery
- Wages unearned due to missing work
- Permanent disability needs
- Pain and suffering
With everything considered, surgery errors are medical mistakes that should almost never happen when medical providers are prioritizing safety. When they do occur, an injured patient should not hesitate to explore their legal options.
Surgery Mistake Attorneys in Tampa
Gunn Law Group, P.A. offers our legal assistance to patients in Tampa who have been seriously injured or who lost a loved one due to a surgeon’s carelessness. Our surgery error lawyers are backed by 75 years of combined experience and hundreds of client success stories. To make matters simpler for you as our client, you don’t pay any attorney fees unless we win your case.
Call our Tampa surgery error attorneys at (813) 993-1448 now to schedule a FREE consultation.