Surgical Errors in New York
Serving New York, New Jersey, & Connecticut
Undergoing surgery requires a high level of trust. Patients and their families rely on the competence of their surgeons and hospitals, whether it is for a minor procedure or a major operation. When that trust is violated due to medical negligence, and someone is injured as the result of a surgical error, appropriate action should be taken.
At the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm, we take action. For decades, we have advocated for the rights of patients who were injured because their medical providers did not adhere to established standards of care. We can help you if your family has been harmed by a surgical mishap.
Common Types of Surgery Errors
Medical malpractice can occur in a variety of ways and by several different types of providers. A basic definition of medical malpractice is when a doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist, ambulance attendant, surgeon, or other medical professional makes an error due to negligent behavior or practices. Surgical errors can be among the most devastating of injuries because a patient checks into the hospital for surgery and leaves in worse condition. The most serious surgery errors can even cause death.
Unfortunately, malpractice cases involving surgery occur thousands of times a year in the United States. A healthcare practitioner may be guilty of negligence, disregard, or carelessness if another provider with the approximately same level of education, experience, and skill would not have made the same error.
Some of the most typical surgery malpractice cases involve the following:
- Avoidable delays in performing surgery
- Damaging a part of the body where the surgeon did not perform surgery
- Discharging a patient to go home too soon after surgery
- Failing to check on the patient’s well-being immediately following surgery and not performing regular follow-up
- Not considering the patient’s medical history or moving forward with the surgery without a specific plan in place
- Performing surgery that is not medically necessary
- Using surgical instruments that have not been properly sterilized
While the above are significant surgical mistakes, these errors can produce even more serious complications for the patient:
- Leaving a foreign instrument inside a patient’s body such as clamps, gauze, sponges, retractors, or tubes. This can happen when a surgeon rushes through a surgery and fails to remember to check the surgical site before closing it with stitches or sutures. The retained surgical instrument can cause anything from a severe infection to organ failure in the patient.
- Operating on the wrong patient, side of the body, or performing the wrong surgery are all serious malpractice cases involving surgery. Although hospitals have strict protocol in place to prevent such drastic errors, they still occur due to surgeons not paying enough attention to what they are doing. One patient receiving a surgery meant for someone else can have severe or even fatal consequences for both of them. The same is true for a patient whose surgeon operates on the left side of the body instead of the right or vice versa or performs the wrong surgery altogether.
- Removal of an organ without a previous plan to do so sounds like a far-fetched mistake but it happens all too often. In some cases, the surgeon is attempting to be proactive by preventing potential problems with the organ in the future. Other cases occur due to simple recklessness. Whatever the situation, patients injured in this manner have the legal right to hire a surgical error lawyer to sue the surgeon for medical malpractice.
How Common Are These Surgical “Errors?”
In 2012, Johns Hopkins University conducted a medical research study that yielded some drastic results. Approximately 1,200 times a year, surgeons leave a foreign instrument inside of a patient’s body, operate on the wrong side of the body, or perform the wrong surgery entirely. Of the approximately 80,000 serious surgical errors that occurred in the 20-year span between 1990 and 2010, one-third resulted in a disfigurement or permanent injury to the patient and just over 6.5 percent caused the death of a patient.
These errors not only cause medical harm and death, but they also cost a significant amount of money as well. During the same 20-year period, insurance companies and hospitals paid out over 1.3 billion dollars to settle surgical malpractice claims. The rate would only be higher today due to typical inflation as well as staggering increases in healthcare costs. If a surgeon has made a serious mistake that has forever impacted your life, a surgical error attorney can help you determine the steps you need to take to move forward with a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Who is Responsible for Surgeries Gone Bad?
While you are struggling with the aftermath of a serious surgery mistake and considering a surgical malpractice lawsuit, those who failed you may try to tell you that you have no legal right to do so because you signed consent forms before surgery. This could be anyone from the surgeon to a hospital administrator to the insurance company that pays medical malpractice claims for the hospital. They may hope this will intimidate you into staying quiet, but the truth is that signing a surgical consent form does not mean that the surgeon has free reign to act in a negligent manner.
Surgeons and all other healthcare personnel must treat patients while adhering to an acceptable standard of care. A surgeon who is reckless or negligent instead violates this care standard. Contrary to what others trying to protect their financial interest may tell you, a standard of care violation does give you the right to file a surgical accidents lawsuit against the surgeon, doctor, hospital, or whoever else you can prove caused or contributed to the injuries you sustained due to the surgery error.
What Evidence Do I Need to Produce?
It is important to understand that the burden of proof lies on you as the person filing a surgery malpractice lawsuit to demonstrate a direct relationship between the actions or inaction of the defendant and the injuries you suffered. Although medical malpractice cases are often challenging to prove, those involving surgical mistakes are typically more obvious.
You should be prepared to explain or prove the following at a minimum:
- The specific type of medical malpractice you suffered;
- The actions of the surgeon or other medical providers that caused your injuries; and
- The specific injuries you suffered due to the actions of the defendant(s) in your lawsuit.
It is not always easy to gather this evidence and argue it in a compelling way on your own. A New York medical malpractice attorney with experience in surgical errors cases can help you accomplish both of these tasks.
The purpose of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is to obtain the financial compensation you need to manage the injuries and other complications caused by a surgical error. This can include payment for the additional medical care you required, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity if applicable, and future medical expenses. It can also compensate you for non-monetary losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the inability to enjoy activities you enjoy due to your injuries. While money cannot undo the surgical error and return you to your previous quality of life, it can help you live the best life you can with your new circumstances.
Were You or Your Loved One Hurt By a Surgical Error?
If you or your loved one were hurt during a medical procedure, it is wise to seek legal advice concerning your right to compensation. Many medical malpractice claims seek compensation for pain and suffering, lost past and future income, wrongful death, and other life-changing damages — damages that could have been avoided had the physician and hospital been thorough and careful.
Our attorneys provide compassionate advocacy and decisive representation with regard to:
- Colorectal and gallbladder surgeries
- Abdominal surgical errors
- Cardiac surgeries
- Infections and sepsis leading to amputations
- Surgeries mistakenly performed on the wrong part of the body
- Carelessness in leaving instruments, equipment, sponges or other objects in surgical sites
- Failure to diagnose
- Anesthesia errors
Free Consultation with Our New York Surgical Error Attorneys
Our surgical error attorneys handle cases in New York City and all of New York State, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Contact us to schedule your free consultation to discuss your concerns by calling 212-869-3500. We charge no fees until we recover compensation for your family.
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