Any surgical procedure carries inherent risks. A surgery during which the patient is placed under anesthesia contains another layer of risk. Unfortunately, mistakes made during surgery do happen, and can have devastating consequences for the patient. If you are aware, or you suspect, that an error occurred during a surgical procedure you or a loved one underwent, contact our law offices. Working with our staff physician, our team will investigate your case and determine if you might have a cause of action against any of the medical professionals for medical malpractice. Some of the most common errors we see can include:
Foreign Object Within A Body
A foreign object being left in a body after surgery is called a never event, as it is something that should never happen if proper protocol is being followed. While leaving a foreign object inside a patient is called a never event, it happens at a disturbingly high rate. According to one study, surgical instruments – from sponges to scalpels – are left inside patients at the rate of up to once for every 1,000 abdominal surgeries.
The most common foreign objects left within a body after surgery include surgical instruments/tools (such as a sponge.) The cost of medical care that is often needed to recover from a foreign object left in your body after a surgery is not small: One study estimated that costs to fix a retained instrument ran from $37,041 to $2,350,000, with an average cost of $95,000.
Wrong Patient Surgery
Performing a surgical procedure on the wrong patient is another never event. However, this can happen when proper protocol is not followed. This can have obviously devastating results: not only does the patient not receive the treatment that he or she required, but the patient also underwent a procedure that was unnecessary. This can lead to incredibly serious complications or even death.
In addition to the other risks involved in surgical procedures, there is an additional element of risk whenever a patient is put under anesthesia. One study found that 82% of anesthesiology injuries were the result of human error. Anesthesia errors can lead to serious and/or fatal complications. An anesthesiologist can make a dosage mistake that causes severe damage or that allows the patient to wake up during the procedure or suffer anesthesia awareness. Anesthesiologists can also intubate incorrectly, preventing the drugs from taking their full effect. Finally, anesthesiologists also have to monitor their patients while they are under the spell of the drugs. If they do not monitor their patients, anesthesiologists could miss a warning sign that something is wrong.
Many surgical procedures involve cutting quite close to the nerves that run throughout your body. If the surgeon makes a mistake, even a tiny one, it can clip those nerves and cause potentially irreparable damage to one of the most important parts of your nervous system. Symptoms of nerve damage injuries can include involuntary muscle movements, muscle atrophy, pain/increased sensitivity, and coordination problems.
Incision Location Errors
Another "never event", incision location errors can also be called "wrong site surgery" or "wrong side" surgical errors. This error occurs when a surgeon performs the correct surgery on the correct patient, but in the wrong place. For example, the surgery was intended to remove scar tissue from a patient's left knee, and the surgical team removed scar tissue from the patient's right knee. An even more dramatic example would be amputation of an incorrect limb. Incision location errors are the height of surgical negligence and can be permanently debilitating for a victim.
Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Any patient who must undergo a surgical procedure deserves a competent medical team. These surgical mistakes can have devastating consequences for patients and their families. If you are aware, or you suspect, that you may have been the victim of a preventative surgical error, do not hesitate to call our legal team. We work with a staff physician to examine every element of your case. Getting you the compensation you deserve is our main objective. Our attorneys are trial-tested and trial-ready.