Medical malpractice cases can be filed in a wide range of circumstances in which a surgical error occurs. Some surgical errors only result in minor injuries, while some do not result in harm at all. Many surgical errors are catastrophic, and they are known as “never events,” according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Whenever a surgical error occurs that results in patient harm, it is essential to learn more about filing a medical malpractice claim and holding the negligent surgeon or another healthcare provider accountable for the harm they have caused. Our Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys can give you more information.
What is a Surgical Error?
Surgical errors are any mistakes that happen during a patient’s surgical procedure. According to the AHRQ, these can include “wrong-site, wrong-procedure, [and] wrong-patient errors” that are known as “never events,” meaning that they should never happen and suggest “serious underlying safety problems.”
Common Types of Surgical Errors in Syracuse
The following are some of the most common and devastating types of surgical errors that occur:
- Wrong-patient surgery, which involves performing an operation on the wrong patient, such as a heart surgery on a patient who is waiting for a tonsillectomy;
- Wrong-site surgery, which involves performing the correct surgery on the correct patient but on the wrong part of the patient’s body, such as a right-shoulder surgery that is performed erroneously on the patient’s left shoulder;
- Wrong-procedure surgery, meaning the wrong surgery is performed on a patient; and
- The foreign object is left inside a patient’s body during a surgical procedure.
Consequences of Surgical Errors
Surgical errors can have a range of devastating consequences depending upon the specific type of surgical error. Common consequences of surgical errors include but are not limited to:
- The patient has an object left inside their body that causes significant harm, such as a sponge, which requires extensive corrective surgery (or surgeries);
- The patient receives a surgery that they do not require, which may involve the loss of an organ or loss of a body part; and/or
- The patient does not receive a life-saving surgery on an organ or body part intended in the surgery.
Filing a Surgical Error Lawsuit in Syracuse
If a surgeon’s negligence, or another party’s negligence, results in a surgical error, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In order to be able to file a medical malpractice claim, you will need to prove that you suffered harm from a surgical mistake and that the surgical mistake occurred because of the negligence of one or more healthcare providers. Most medical malpractice lawsuits in New York must be filed within 2.5 years from the date that the error occurred. However, with certain types of surgical errors, you might have more time.
The New York medical malpractice statute clarifies that, “where the action is based upon the discovery of a foreign object in the body of the patient, the action may be commenced within one year of the date of such discovery or of the date of discovery of facts which would reasonably lead to such discovery, whichever is earlier
If the surgical error resulted in a loved one’s death, you should know that it may be possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Under the New York wrongful death law, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate must be the party who files the wrongful death lawsuit in court, but that party can seek compensation on behalf of certain surviving family members of the person who died as a result of a surgical injury.
Given that surgical errors are frequently identified as “never events” that result in catastrophic injuries, these types of medical malpractice cases do often involve a patient who died as a result of the health care provider’s error, and a wrongful death lawsuit may be necessary. Most wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years from the deceased’s date of death, but medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within 2.5 years from the date of the deceased’s death.
Contact a Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyer to Get Started on Your Case
Anyone who has suffered a serious or life-altering injury as a result of a surgical error, or who has lost a loved one because of a devastating mistake made by a surgeon, should find out more about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. As we have discussed above, surgical errors frequently result in debilitating and deadly consequences. To find out more about seeking compensation and holding the negligent healthcare provider accountable, you should get in touch with one of our Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys as soon as possible. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP in Syracuse to begin working on your surgical error lawsuit with our medical malpractice lawyers.