Complications Involving Surgical Errors
There is always a chance that complications will arise from certain surgical procedures, despite the best efforts of a surgeon. A complication only becomes a surgical error if it is the result of a surgical mistake, meaning that there was a lapse in control or quality by the surgeon out of line with normal standards of care. For instance, a properly performed routine surgery that causes injuries to abnormally positioned internal organ is a complication, if the surgeon performed the procedure within the accepted standard of care and could not have reasonably known about the mispositioned organ. If however, a surgeon makes an incision or insertion at the wrong location for that specific procedure and causes damage to an internal organ, this is clearly a surgical error.
If a surgeon fails to inform a patient of potential complications that could arise from a procedure, then any complication that arises from the surgery could be reasonably considered a surgical error* combined with a lack of informed consent.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of surgical errors identified in malpractice claims result in serious injury. According to a recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health, as much as one quarter of surgical errors lead to death.*
Victims of surgical errors and their families must often deal with devastating long-term complications, such as:
- Additional surgeries to correct the original surgical error
- Organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Internal bleeding
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Permanent disability
If you believe you or someone you know has been the victim of a surgical error, it is important you contact one of our experienced attorneys to help you understand your rights.
In this surgical error case, Partner James Cardea recalls the case of a 55-year old man who came to the ER with abdominal pain. After a diagnosis of low blood pressure, a Resident placed a venous line under the attending physician’s supervision. The venous line was improperly placed by the Resident, which caused the patient to experience many complications which ultimately resulting in his death. This is a clear case of a surgical error that would not have occurred if standard of care had been followed. Click to hear about the details of this case.
Let the Attorneys and Medical Investigators at Schochor, Federico and Staton Help You
Schochor, Federico and Staton’s surgical errors practice focuses on medical negligence during surgical procedures. Since our firm has been handling medical malpractice cases since our founding in 1984, we have a thorough understanding of how to build strong cases to help plaintiffs pursue the maximum compensation possible for injuries that are the result of surgical errors. We have filed more medical negligence cases than any other law firm in Maryland and have won more than $1 billion in settlements and verdicts.
Contact us online or call us today at 410-234-1000 to speak with one of our attorneys about your case. You pay nothing unless we make a recovery on your behalf.
Additional surgery is often needed to correct a surgical error, and various therapies and treatments may be prescribed to address permanent disabilities.
Surgical errors often cause serious injuries, and it is crucial that you take conscious measures to prevent errors wherever possible. There are a variety of simple things you can do to prevent certain mistakes, including:
- Thoroughly discussing the planned surgery with your doctor to understand the purpose and method of the operation
- Making sure that your doctor initials your surgery site
- Confirming your surgery site with your doctor immediately before your procedure
- Training your friends or family members to confirm your surgery information with your doctor
- Use a surgical error prevention checklist like the one found at CampaignZero to make sure you have taken all the steps necessary to prevent an unnecessary surgical error
Maryland Department of Disabilities
Johns Hopkins Health Library
CampaignZero – Delivers safety strategies to patients and their family-member advocates to prevent medical errors.
Institute for Safe Medicine Practice
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – Getting Safer Care
Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons – Information on eliminating surgical errors and improving physician-patient communication
Alliance For Safety Awareness For Patients – How to avoid surgical errors