Wrongful Amputation in Medical Malpractice Cases

By Peter DePaolis

It’s hard to imagine anything more traumatic than the amputation of a limb. It’s also difficult to conceive an amputation ever happening by accident. But the reality is, wrongful amputation is more common than many people think. There are several reasons this type of amputation happens, but there’s no excuse for it. If you or a loved one suffered a wrongful amputation, we may be able to help you pursue a medical malpractice case.

We expect doctors to use nothing less than the highest care when it comes to any surgical procedure, especially an amputation. There are legitimate reasons to amputate a hand, arm, foot, leg, or digit. For example, amputation may be needed because of a severe injury or disease. But it goes without saying that the patient deserves to have the right part of the body amputated.

Why would a wrongful amputation happen?

A wrongful amputation can happen for many reasons, such as:

Communication errors. These account for a vast number of medical malpractice cases, including amputations. Any number of doctors, nurses, and staff members may be responsible for your care during the process of surgery. That increases the likelihood that someone along the way will communicate the wrong information about you.

Operating on the wrong patient. It seems almost unthinkable that a hospital could actually operate on the wrong patient, but this does happen. Mixing up patient charts, hospital understaffing, or simply having two patients with similar names can account for this error.

X-ray mistakes. Doctors often use x-rays to examine the operation site before performing an amputation. If the x-ray is positioned backward or otherwise incorrectly, the wrong limb may be removed.

Misdiagnosis and delays. Sometimes the amputation is wrongful because it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. However, a misdiagnosis can allow a bad (but treatable) condition to get worse, making amputation unavoidable. Delays in treating the patient can also turn a previously unnecessary amputation into a necessity

Problems with the doctor. Doctors can engage in several negligent behaviors which can increase the chances of a wrongful amputation. Not getting enough sleep, failure to properly prepare for surgery, and rushing the operation can cause an irreversible mistake. So can more irresponsible behaviors like being under the influence of drugs or alcohol during surgery.

Contact Our Washington D.C. Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

No matter why the wrongful amputation occurred, it will certainly change the patient’s life forever. He or she may not be able to walk, work, hug their family, participate in recreational activities, and much more. This can cost the patient severely in terms of lost wages, lost career opportunities, decreased quality of life, and pain and suffering. That’s to say nothing of medical costs, including to treat complications caused by the amputation.

Fortunately, a Washington, D.C. medical malpractice attorney can help hold the doctor and hospital accountable for the error. In addition to monetary compensation for the above damages, your attorney will work to compel the liable party to pay for a prosthetic limb, rehabilitation, adaptive medical equipment, or anything else deemed necessary.

Although there’s no way to undo a serious mistake like a wrongful amputation, you can demand the justice you need to move forward with your life. Give Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP a call today to talk about your legal rights.

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.