Surgical procedures come with inherent risks, however, this does not justify surgical mistakes that result in injuries and fatalities. If a preventable surgical mistake causes harm to a patient, the victim has a right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to recover compensation. If you or a loved one has been injured by a surgeon or hospital’s negligence, you should consult an aggressive medical malpractice attorney.
Cooper Schall and Levy represents surgical malpractice victims throughout the Philadelphia area, including Delaware, Montgomery, Chester, Lancaster and Philadelphia Counties, as well as New Jersey. Despite the fact that most surgeons are well-educated and highly skilled, surgical errors are not uncommon. When a surgical mistake is the result of a surgeon’s negligence or incompetence, we work to hold the negligent party accountable. When you become our client, you will have peace of mind knowing that your surgical malpractice claim is in good hands.
Our legal team has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients in settlements and favorable jury verdicts. Don’t suffer in silence after a surgical mistake. Let our surgical malpractice attorneys be your voice. Reach out to our office today for a free evaluation of your case.
What is surgical malpractice?
A surgical error is broadly defined as a preventable mistake that occurs during surgery. Nloøpot every error that occurs during surgery is grounds for a surgical malpractice lawsuit, however. To have a valid claim, you must be able to demonstrate that the surgeon, medical team, or hospital provided you with treatment that fell below the accepted medical standard of care.
In addition, surgeons in Pennsylvania have a legal obligation to inform a patient of the potential risks and benefits of, and alternatives to any surgical procedure. The surgeon must also obtain the patient’s written permission to proceed. This obligation is referred to as “informed consent.” If a surgeon failed to obtain your informed consent and a surgical mistake subsequently caused you harm, you may have a basis for a surgical malpractice lawsuit.
Common Surgical Errors
Surgical errors that may occur during routine, as well as serious procedures include:
- Nerve Injuries — Because surgeons are frequently required to operate next to nerves, surgical instruments can sever or slice a nerve or cause inflammation. A patient can also sustain a pinched nerve during the administration of anesthesia if he or she is in an awkward position.
- Anesthesia Errors — A patient who is given too much anesthesia may not receive sufficient oxygen and sustain brain damage. If insufficient anesthesia is provided, on the other hand, a patient can awaken during surgery and suffer tremendous pain.
- Surgical Equipment Left Inside a Patient — Scalpels, clamps, sponges and other surgical equipment can be inadvertently left in a patient’s body by the surgical team, causing extreme pain, severe infections, and even fatalities. Surgeons are required to follow proper protocols, however, such as a “standard materials checklist,” to prevent this from happening.
- Wrong Body Part Surgery — More commonly referred to as “wrong side” surgery, these errors can lead to the removal of a healthy organ instead of a diseased one or the amputation of the wrong limb.
- Wrong Patient Surgery — If there is a lack of preoperative verification or poor hospital protocol, patients may undergo the wrong surgery and/or have healthy organs unnecessarily removed.
Reasons for Surgical Errors
Surgical errors, though preventable, are caused by a wide variety of factors such as:
- Incompetence — Inexperienced surgeons often lack the necessary skill level to perform certain surgical procedures successfully.
- Insufficient Preoperative Planning — A surgeon must be prepared in advance for a procedure by not only reviewing the patient’s medical record but also anticipating potential complications. In addition, the surgical team has a responsibility to ensure that all the necessary equipment is ready and available as needed by the surgeon.
- Improper Procedures — A surgeon who takes shortcuts or skips certain steps during a surgical procedure can cause injury to a patient.
- Poor Communication — Failing to communicate among members of the surgical team during a procedure can lead to surgical errors, such as wrong-site surgery, failing to verify all surgical equipment is available or mistaking the dosage of a patient’s medication.
- Fatigue — Surgeons who work long shifts and/or perform multiple operations are susceptible to fatigue — a leading cause of surgical errors.
- Drugs/Alcohol — Some surgeons abuse drugs and alcohol to “self-medicate” or cope with stress, which can affect their performance during an operation and result in a surgical error.
- Neglect — Surgeons who fail to act with due care by failing to make sure instruments have been properly sterilized or by using outdated surgical equipment can also be held liable for surgical malpractice.
Given the inherent risks in all medical procedures, even minor surgeries, surgical malpractice claims are complicated. The best decision you can make to protect yourself is to consult Cooper Schall and Levy. We will stand by you every step of the way and never stop fighting for you.
Contact Our Philadelphia Surgical Malpractice Attorney
At Cooper Schall and Levy, we are dedicated to helping victims of surgical malpractice in Montgomery County and the greater Philadelphia area. We have a well-earned reputation for providing our clients with powerful representation and fighting tirelessly for their rights. When you consult us, we will leverage our skills and experience to show how the surgeon, medical team or hospital was negligent and make sure you receive just compensation. Please contact our office today to set up a free consultation.