San Francisco Surgical Errors Lawyer
Surgeries carry inherent risks to patients; however, every surgery should be performed free of preventable errors. Unfortunately, thousands of patients are injured every year as a result of surgical errors. Due to the degree of risk involved in surgery, a deviation from an established medical standard of care—medical malpractice–can lead to severe injuries or death. If you, or someone you love, were injured due to a surgical error or surgery performed on the wrong part of your body, you may have a strong claim to receive compensation in a medical malpractice claim.
What is a Surgical Error?
A surgical errors is any mistake that occurs during a surgical procedure that could have been avoided and violates professional medical standards of care. Surgeries carry with them an inherent risk simply because of the nature of the medical procedure, and patients are required to sign consent forms indicating that they understand that the surgery involves potential risks. However, patients never agree to risks associated with the possibility of a deviation from an accepted standard of professional care by their physician or other medical provider during the course of a surgical procedure and hospitalization.
Common Types of Surgical Errors
Surgical errors can result in minor inconveniences, such as a patient taking a bit longer to heal, or in more severe cases like paralysis or death. Some of the common types of surgical errors include leaving surgical equipment of any kind inside of a person, nerve damage during surgery, cutting the wrong area of a patient, and using too little or too much anesthesia. Any surgery has a risk of unintended damage to adjacent body structures, but this does not mean that it is not malpractice when this occurs. The type of injury, the location of the injury, and other factors will determine what cases will be seen as malpractice rather than just an inherent risk of the procedure.
Common Reasons for Surgical Errors
There are many reasons that surgical errors or wrong-site surgeries occur. Some of the most common reasons include the following:
- Fatigue – Doctors are often fatigued, leading to surgical errors that could have been prevented.
- Improper Work Process – If a doctor takes shortcuts during a medical procedure or surgery, they may be medically negligent for any resulting injuries. Oftentimes, improper work process leads to wrong-site surgeries, as the surgical site is not correctly identified.
- Incompetence – If a doctor has not received proper training or experience with respect to the medical procedure or surgery, you may have a medical malpractice claim against them from any injuries caused by their negligence.
- Insufficient planning – This would include the lack of proper care of ensuring that all medical equipment is ready and available to all surgical staff during surgery.
- Poor Communication – Any errors in communication among the surgical staff can lead to medical negligence and surgical errors.
- Drugs or Alcohol – Unfortunately, there are cases where medical professionals have been found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol during a surgical procedure.
Medical Malpractice and Surgical Errors
If a surgeon fails to perform a procedure according to accepted medical standards of care, he or she has committed medical malpractice. This is also known as medical negligence. Typically, a court will hear from medical expert witnesses regarding what would be considered reasonable practice to determine if the standard of care was violated. Surgeons and medical professionals have a duty to provide an acceptable and established standard of medical care to their patients. If they breach that duty and directly cause any kind of actual damages (either physical, emotional, or financial), they have committed medical malpractice. It is important to note that not liking the outcome of surgery or suffering injuries that are considered known, inherent risks of a surgery will like be seen as medical malpractice. Of course a wrong-site error is always malpractice.
Establishing Doctor Negligence
Evidence must be introduced to prove that your surgical error or wrong-site surgery resulted in medical complications, injuries, or pain and suffering. This evidence must show that the doctor breached applicable standards of care for the procedure they performed and directly caused your injuries. Medical records, expert opinions, and eyewitnesses are generally necessary to build a strong medical malpractice case. However persons who are injured from a surgery often do not know how the injury occurred.
Contact an Experienced Surgical Errors Attorney in San Francisco
If you were injured due to a surgical error or wrong-site surgery, you may have a strong medical malpractice claim. Proving a medical malpractice claim requires navigating complex laws and deadlines, hiring medical expert witnesses, and obtaining the testimony of witnesses who attended the surgery, such as nurses or other medical professionals. A medical expert’s review is typically needed to tell whether or not a case is viable.
If you believe you were injured as a result of a surgical error or wrong-site surgery, contact our team of experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Callaway & Wolf by calling 415-541-0300 to schedule a free personal consultation in our San Francisco office. Or, if you prefer, send us a confidential message on our contact page, and you will receive a prompt response.