Patients and medical boards alike hold surgeons to very high standards. This is due to the very nature of their jobs, where even small mistakes can have lifelong repercussions for patients. Although most surgeons are highly trained professionals who rise to this challenge, there are many who don’t, and in those cases, botched surgeries can occur. The Philadelphia surgical mistake lawyers of Lowenthal & Abrams, Injury Attorneys strongly believe that negligent surgeons need to face the consequences of their errors. And in our legal system, that consequence is a financial one through a medical malpractice claim. If you experienced a surgical error that lead to serious harm or to the death of a loved one, please contact us today for help.
Why Do Surgical Mistakes Happen?
Surgical mistakes are often blamed on understaffed hospitals and poor communication between medical workers. The bottom line is that surgeons and their assistants have a duty to keep their patients safe. Surgical injuries are sometimes, but not always, caused by negligence which can form the basis of a lawsuit.
Some surgical complications are to be expected. They are a risk of surgery. All surgeries have risks. But, when the complication is the result of a violation of the medical standard of care and causes you serious injury, you might have a claim for negligence against the doctor, nurses and hospital involved in your procedure. A lawyer in Philadelphia could help someone who suffered losses as a result of a surgical mistake.
When a surgeon is careless with his instruments, he can cut, puncture or tear the wrong body part. This can result in serious damage requiring future surgeries; especially if the doctor fails to notice his error while you are on the table and does not repair it before your initial surgery is concluded. A common surgery where we see an incorrect cut is during gallbladder surgery when a doctor nicks the bile duct or small intestine. In addition, if the doctor gets too close to an organ, you could end up having an organ removed when that was not part of the original surgery. We see this most commonly when a doctor is removing a malignant tumor. Sometimes, once the doctor opens you up he sees that he has to cut more than expected. But sometimes the doctor is overzealous or did not warn you of the potential for loss of an organ ahead of time. In such a surgical errors case, he failed to obtain your informed consent and you should see an attorney in Philadelphia.
The Wrong Surgery
Amazing as it might seem, there are times when a patient receives the wrong surgery. Why does this happen? Most of the time it occurs due to incorrect paperwork or a failure to review the paperwork. The way to decrease your chances of experiencing this kind of a mistake is to speak with your doctor and nurses prior to your surgery and to confirm that they know what surgery you are having.
Operating on the Wrong Site
This cause of this kind of surgical mistake is much the same as for wrong surgery. One of the reasons that doctors draw on you before surgery is to make certain that they will be cutting the correct part of your body. But, if the doctor reads the chart wrong or if the chart is incorrect, you could end up having the wrong part of your body operated on. This is a surprisingly common error and there is no excuse for it. The solution is the same as for wrong surgery. Talk with the doctor and nurses and make sure they are aware of what is being done to you.
Retained Surgical Instruments
If you ever watch tv shows about hospitals, you probably have seen episodes where the doctors panic about not being able to find something. The reason for this is that there are many instruments, sponges and other items used during surgery. It is easy, if proper procedures are not followed, for an item to be left in your body. If you suffer from a retained instrument, you will likely need additional surgery to remove it. When hospitals follow the proper protocol they do not leave instruments in your body. This should never happen. This is why it is called a “never event.” A Philadelphia attorney could help someone take legal action if a surgeon made a mistake and left a foreign object inside of you.
Consequences of Surgical Errors
Mistakes made during surgery can lead to serious health complications. Of course the symptoms caused will vary according to the error made and the patient’s overall health, but some of the more common results of surgical error include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Persistent pain
- Fever unrelated to the original diagnosis
- Lung, kidney, or heart failure
- Necessity for additional surgery
If they are not immediately addressed, these symptoms can worsen and lead to disability, chronic pain, and even death. A lawyer in Philadelphia could help someone pursue compensation after suffering a surgical mistake.
Contact a Philadelphia Surgical Mistake Attorney
We at Lowenthal & Abrams, Injury Attorneys are committed to helping victims of negligent surgeons receive the compensation they deserve. Share your story with our Philadelphia surgical mistake lawyers today and learn more about how we may be able to help.