New York Surgical Error Attorneys
Can You Sue for a Surgical Mistake?
The same surgeries that are meant to set you down the healing path after suffering from a serious health condition can do more harm than good if the surgical teams performing them are not prioritizing safety and acceptable medical standards of care.
If you were badly injured or your condition worsened after surgery, you might have the option to file a claim against the individual medical practitioner or the hospital group in charge of your surgery. Simonson Goodman Platzer PC in New York is here to help you explore your options and take action. Put our New York surgical error lawyers in the lead of your case, so you can focus on trying to rest and recover, not dealing with a stubborn opposition.
Click any subject below to jump to that section on this page:
- Types of Dangerous Surgical Errors
- Surgery Error Statistics
- Serious Consequences of Surgical Errors
- Are Complications the Same as Medical Malpractice?
- FAQ - What is a surgical error?
- FAQ - What is the most common surgical error?
- FAQ - How dangerous are surgical errors?
- FAQ - Can I sue for bad surgery?
- FAQ - How can I prove my surgical error claim?
Types of Dangerous Surgical Errors
Surgeries are always delicate procedures that need to be handled with the utmost care. Even outpatient surgeries can cause serious health risks if something goes wrong. When a surgical team has a lack of communication during the operation, a surgeon is inexperienced, or everyone is rushing, the likelihood of a dangerous surgical error will increase dramatically.
Some of the more common types of surgical errors are:
- Incorrect surgery sites: As impossible as it might seem, the egregious error or operating on the wrong body part is shockingly common. Wrong-site surgeries can even be as dramatic and life-changing as a wrongful amputation.
- Forgotten medical equipment: Sponges, gauze, scalpels, and other small medical tools are commonly used in different types of surgeries. In some cases, a surgeon forgets to remove one of these pieces of equipment from the patient’s body before completing the surgery.
- Inadequate post-operation cleaning: Using unclean surgical tools and inadequately cleaning the patient’s surgery site when the operation is complete can spell disaster in the form of a dangerous infection days or sometimes weeks later.
- Loose stitches or staples: Another surgical error that can happen at the end of an operation is the use of loose or ill-fitted stitches and staples, which may cause the patient’s wound to reopen.
- Wrong patient: Mixing up patient files or forgetting to verify who is on the operating table before beginning is an egregious form of surgical error. The right surgery on the wrong patient can be catastrophic.
- Failure to operate: Not operating on a patient can be just as bad as performing the incorrect form of surgery if there should have been ample diagnostic evidence to support the use of surgery to treat the patient.
Surgery Error Statistics
How common are surgery errors? The data regarding this serious form of medical malpractice is difficult to track due to incomplete internal reports from surgeons and hospital groups. However, a report published by the National Center for Biotechnical Information (NCBI) estimated that patients in the United States suffer at least 4,000 surgical errors a year, which is nearly 11 a day. A John Hopkins study also recently estimated that medical errors, including surgical errors in hospitals, are the leading cause of death in the country.
Based on these statistics, the following surgery errors happen this many times per week:
- Left a medical instrument inside a patient: 39 times
- Operated on the wrong body part: 20 times
- Performed the incorrect surgical procedure: 20 times
Serious Consequences of Surgical Errors
The outcome of a surgical error will never be a positive one, but it will also be difficult to predict. Different types of surgeries carry different risks, and different mistakes cause different consequences.
Four of the worst consequences of surgical mistakes are:
- Death: Failing to perform the correct surgery or the right surgery safely can jeopardize the patient’s health, possibly causing death in severe cases. Anesthesia errors during surgery can also be fatal if the patient is allergic to anesthesia or too much is administered.
- Continued illness: A failed surgery will not correct a patient’s illness or condition, which might mean the symptoms of the illness are able to worsen.
- New injuries: A surgical patient can suffer new injuries due to a surgical error. For example, operating on the wrong body part will cause deep lacerations and might trigger other problems like paralysis or infection.
- Additional surgeries: Most patients need additional surgeries to fix the mistakes caused by the first erroneous surgery. Every surgery carries some health risks, so the patient will be once again and wrongfully exposed to those risks.
Are Complications the Same as Medical Malpractice?
Surgery is a highly technical and delicate form of medical care. It can be expected that every surgical procedure will carry the risk of complications if something goes wrong like the doctor accidentally nicks a nerve or vein. Is a predictable complication a form of medical malpractice? Not necessarily.
Before conducting a surgery, a doctor and medical team should inform the patient of everything that could go wrong, even with precision and care upheld throughout the surgery. By giving a patient information about the risks and the benefits of a surgical procedure, the patient can supply informed consent, which basically means they agree to the surgery despite the potential for injury under normal circumstances. Routine complications in such a situation are likely not to be considered medical malpractice. However, if a complication occurs and the patient never gave informed consent, then there could be strong grounds for a medical malpractice or surgical error claim.
Why You Should Hire Our New York Legal Team
Simonson Goodman Platzer PC is a recognized law firm throughout all five boroughs and even in New Jersey. Our New York surgical error attorneys have strong connections with local medical experts and hospital groups, which allows us to perform effective investigations into claims of surgical negligence. Opposing counsels, judges, and legal professionals in New York also know and respect our name. In other words, our familiarity with liability law, surgical procedure, and the city itself can all serve as your advantages when you allow us to represent you in your surgical error claim.
Frequently Asked Questions About Surgical Errors
What is a surgical error?
Surgical error is a broad term used to describe a mistake caused by a surgeon or that occurs while a patient is undergoing any sort of surgery. As a general rule, an incident is only a “surgical error” if the patient is hurt due to the error and suffers further pain or damages because of it, and if the mistake likely could have been avoided by another surgeon in the same situation.
What is the most common surgical error?
It is currently believed that the most common surgical error is leaving a foreign object or medical instrument inside a patient before suturing the incisions shut. Small pieces of gauze and bandages are among the most common objects left forgotten inside a patient. Although they might be small and seemingly innocuous, the consequences of leaving such items inside a patient can be disastrous depending on what body part underwent surgery.
How dangerous are surgical errors?
NCBI data shows that about 60% of all patients who suffered a surgery error experienced some form of temporary injury that required further medical attention. Roughly 33% of surgery error victims – or 1 in 3 patients – suffered a permanent injury or disability. The remaining 7% or so passed away due to complications caused by a surgical error, either soon after or in the following years. It is important to note that these percentages add up to 100%, so all patients who experience a surgical error suffer some sort of injury or complication because of it.