Errors During Surgical Procedures

By Peter DePaolis

medical-malpracticeSurgical mistakes often require corrective procedures and longer hospital stays, potentially costing a patient thousands in unnecessary medical bills and lost wages. Furthermore, patients can suffer permanent scarring, disfigurement, or mental or physical impairments because of errors made during surgery. When negligence is to blame for a surgery mistake, that is, the care you received deviated from accepted standards of practice, you may be entitled to compensation under medical malpractice law. The Maryland medical error attorneys at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P. can explain your legal rights and help you obtain the fair and just compensation you deserve.

Examples of Errors During Surgical Procedures

The surgical errors handled by our firm include:

  • Wrong-site surgery
  • Retained surgical object
  • Operating on the wrong patient
  • Anesthesia mistakes
  • Failing to perform surgery quickly enough
  • Providing inadequate post-operative care
  • Surgical site infections
  • Puncturing an organ
  • Severing a nerve
  • Failing to properly monitor a patient during all stages of surgery, including pre-op and post-op
  • Using blood or organs from an improper donor

Wrong-site Surgery

The issue of wrong-site surgery may be getting worse. In 2010, the Joint Commission received 93 reports of this surgical mistake, up from 49 reports in 2004. Because reporting is voluntary, the actual incidence may be much higher. In fact, the Joint Commission estimates wrong-site surgery occurs about 40 times per week in the U.S. If you had the wrong body part operated on or underwent a surgical procedure intended for someone else, contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P. right away.

Retained Surgical Object

Sometimes surgeons mistakenly stitch up a patient with a medical instrument left inside them, known as a retained surgical object. Estimates state that this error occurs at a rate of one in every 8,000 to 18,000 operations, though one study found the rate to be one in every 5,500 operations. Patients may require additional surgery to remove the retained object and can experience complications such as infection, organ puncture or blockage, or even death. If a doctor left a surgical instrument in your body, you may have a medical malpractice claim.

Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim for Errors During Surgical Procedures

To win a medical malpractice case, you must prove four things:

  • A duty was owed to you
  • The duty was breached by a doctor or medical professional
  • That breach resulted in an injury to you
  • You suffered emotional or financial losses as a result

You may have a medical malpractice case if your surgery went wrong because of faulty or ill-maintained equipment or due to a medical professional’s:

  • Inattention
  • Tiredness
  • Inexperience
  • Communication error
  • Poor surgical technique
  • Impairment from the use of alcohol or drugs

Contact A Medical Malpractice Lawyer

To receive a free case evaluation from a knowledgeable and experienced malpractice attorney, contact the Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P. today.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.