Medical Malpractice: Questions to Ask Prior to Surgery

By Peter DePaolis

Last month, we discussed surgical errors and medical malpractice when we blogged about ‘never events’ and the ‘July effect’.

Unfortunately, countless Americans are injured each year during surgeries, and many victims not do not realize it because very few healthcare providers admit to mistakes. Surgical errors can include operations performed on the wrong site, anesthesia mistakes, nerve severing, punctured organs and infections caused by issues with hygiene.

As a patient, your healthcare provider has a duty to make sure that you are treated with excellent care. Substandard care in the form of inattention, tiredness by a doctor and/or communication errors can lead to devastating long-term injuries, especially during surgical procedures.

With this in mind, Johns Hopkins Medicine has a great guide, including questions you can ask your healthcare providers prior to surgery. As the organization pointed out, it is important for patients to be informed prior to an operation.

Prior to surgery, the organization recommends asking:

  • Why is the operation needed?
  • What are the alternatives to the procedure, and are any other treatment options available?
  • What are the benefits of the procedure and how long will they last?
  • What are the risks of complications heading into the operation?
  • What is the doctor’s experience level in doing the procedure?
  • Where will the procedure be performed?
  • What type of anesthesia will be administered?
  • What can I expect during recovery?

Remember, you can research information about a procedure, your doctor and the healthcare provider responsible for an operation, prior to it being performed using the internet or other tools. If you have any misgivings about having the surgery done, you may want to get a second opinion or look into having another doctor perform the operation.

Working With an Attorney Following a Surgical Error Due to Poor Prior to Surgery Information

If you have been injured due to a botched surgery, talk to our Virginia medical malpractice lawyers about your legal rights. You should not have to suffer because your healthcare provider made mistakes.

When weighing a medical malpractice case, you must be able to prove that you suffered emotional or financial losses, and that a duty breach by your healthcare provider resulted in your injury.

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Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P.

Virginia Injury Attorneys


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.