In any kind of invasive surgery, unforeseen complications can arise. However, there is a significant difference between a problem that no one could have seen coming and a preventable medical error.
If you have suffered injury or lost a loved one to a surgical error, you need to have your case reviewed by an experienced attorney who can help you to learn whether medical malpractice played a role in your case.
At Powers & Santola, LLP, our firm features lawyers who focus exclusively on medical negligence cases. We understand how to investigate and litigate the many complex issues that can arise in cases involving surgical malpractice.
To learn how we can assist you, call or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout Albany, Syracuse and New York State. We can provide a free consultation about your case.
Common Surgical Errors and Causes
There are several types of errors made before, during and after a surgical procedure that might rise to the level of malpractice, including:
- Pre-operative error – Getting a patient ready for surgery can require placing the patient on a specific diet, administering certain medications and taking other steps. Problems can arise when there are communication breakdowns before a surgery or when established procedures are not strictly followed.
- Wrong-site surgery – Operating on the wrong limb or performing the wrong procedure puts a patient at undue risk and causes unnecessary pain and suffering. The patient may need to go undergo a corrective procedure. Wrong-site surgery often is caused by lack of institutional controls, failure of the surgeon to exercise due care or miscommunication.
- Anesthesia error – When administered correctly, anesthesia is relatively safe. However, serious complications such as heart attack or stroke can occur if a patient is given the wrong type or dosage of anesthesia. Miscommunication, failure to obtain a complete medical history from the patient, failure to monitor the patient while under anesthesia and haste, inattention or carelessness while mixing or administering drugs may be to blame.
- Organ puncture/perforation – Damaging an organ by puncturing or perforating it with a surgical instrument during an operation can cause a patient to suffer long-term health problems or death. While organ puncture or perforation does not equate to medical malpractice in all cases, a failure to diagnose any such puncture or perforation and take immediate corrective surgery to repair the error likely is malpractice.
- Retained surgical instruments – Surgical instruments such as clamps or scalpels and medical materials such as sponges or towels can be left in a patient’s body. This is likely to occur in hospitals that either lack or do not follow tracking procedures such as checklists.
- Post-operative error – Patients require observation and treatment after surgery in order to reduce the risk of complications such as infections, blood clots, internal bleeding and heart or respiratory problems. Post-operative errors typically occur due to “hand-off” errors, which occur when a patient is transferred from one set of doctors and nurses to another team.
Investigating Surgical Malpractice
Powers & Santola’s medical malpractice attorneys can help if you or a loved one has been injured by a possible surgical error. We will help you obtain medical records and review them with highly qualified medical experts. If we discover evidence of a preventable surgical error, we can initiate a claim on your behalf.
Investigating a negative surgical outcome requires analyzing large volumes of technical data. There are also strict statutes of limitations on medical malpractice claims. It is best to begin the preliminary work of gathering and reviewing records for a potential claim as soon as possible.
A medical malpractice lawsuit based on surgical error would seek compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and, in cases of fatal error, wrongful death damages.
Contact a New York Surgical Malpractice Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered a negative outcome from a surgical procedure, you have the right to investigate the circumstances and determine whether a preventable error occurred.
To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our medical malpractice lawyers serving Albany, Syracuse and other areas of New York State, contact Powers & Santola, LPP, today. We are here to listen to you and help.