Common Surgical Errors and Your Legal Rights: How an Attorney Can Fight for Your Compensation

BIKLaw Medical Malpractice Lawyer > Surgical Errors > Common Surgical Errors and Your Legal Rights: How an Attorney Can Fight for Your Compensation

As many as 1.87 million surgical procedures were performed in the United States in 2022 alone — about 5,100 procedures per day. Most of these operations are completed without significant adverse consequences because most surgeons exercise their skills and pay careful attention in the operating room.

Unfortunately, not all surgeons exercise this level of care; therefore, not all surgeries go according to plan. Surgical errors are more than an inconvenience. Depending on the type of error, you might experience pain, infection, loss or restriction of use of the affected body part, and other consequences.

Take a closer look at some of the most common surgical errors that occur in the United States.

Leaving a Foreign Object in the Body

Surgeries require a copious amount of surgical tools and supplies, such as forceps, sponges, and scalpels. The operating room can be a chaotic place, so the surgeon and his team must have procedures in place that account for every tool and supply used during the procedure. Otherwise, the surgeon may risk leaving some foreign object inside the patient’s body.

Depending on the object and where it is left, a foreign object or tool can cause damage to organs and tissue and lead to infection. The longer the object is left in the body, the greater the risk of these and other complications. You would need to undergo an additional procedure to remove the foreign object.

Operating on the Wrong Body Part

A surgeon may perform multiple procedures in a day, which can lead them to become confused or forgetful about what procedure they are performing. It is easy for a rushed surgeon to forget to double-check whether they are supposed to work on the right knee or the left knee.

If the surgery is negligently performed, you could have to undergo reparative surgeries before you receive the original procedure you were supposed to obtain. You would have to wait until you are healed enough to undergo a second procedure on the correct body part, followed by a second recovery period.

Even if this surgery on the wrong body part is successful, these surgical errors cannot be undone.

Making Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia is a common feature of routine and complex surgical procedures, from dental procedures and routine outpatient surgeries to invasive extractions and operations.

Anesthesia not only calms you and keeps you from experiencing pain during the operation, but the effects of anesthesia also keep you still and make it safer for your doctor to operate on you.

Trained anesthesiologists must administer most anesthesia and monitor your vital signs while you are under anesthesia. Otherwise, your heart rate or oxygen levels could drop to dangerously low levels. This is a life-threatening situation that could lead to a hypoxic-ischemic brain injury or other adverse outcomes.

Causing Nerve Damage

Your surgeon’s duty to exercise care does not stop with ensuring they operate on the right body part or collect all of their tools and supplies from your body. Throughout the procedure, your surgeon must exercise care to ensure they do not damage other tissues or nerves while operating on you.

Nerves can be especially easy to damage during a procedure, and once damaged, they may be impossible to repair. This can lead to pain or numbness in minor cases and a loss of the full use of a body part in severe cases.

Because the effects you experience as a result of nerve damage are often irreparable, these surgical errors can lead to significant financial and emotional damage.

Failing to Keep a Sterile Environment

When your body is opened up for surgery, it is vital that the operating room be kept as sterile as possible. This means that the tools used are sterilized, your skin is properly cleaned and disinfected before an incision is made, and any contaminants are kept out of the operating room.

Serious, sometimes deadly infections can result if cleaning and sterilization procedures are not followed. Aside from the threat to your life that these infections pose, they can also prolong your hospital stay, and recovery will almost always require additional medical care to treat.

How to Seek Compensation Following Surgical Errors

If you are the victim of these or other surgical errors, you may have the right to financial compensation through a medical malpractice suit in California. The experienced team at The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. can fight to protect your rights and secure the justice you deserve.

Dr. Kramer is both a physician and a medical malpractice lawyer, which means that he is uniquely positioned to evaluate the care you receive and understand how best to move forward. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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