One of the times that a patient is most vulnerable in a hospital setting is while he or she is on the operating table. The patient is likely anesthetized and is relying completely on those medical professionals involved in the operation: the anesthesiologist, the nurse anesthetist and the surgeon. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that there are a myriad of things that can possibly go awry while a patient is on an operating table, and when they do, the patient may have a claim for medical malpractice due to the negligence of his or her medical care providers.
Surgical Errors Related to the Surgery
Performing the operation on the incorrect body part. One of the most common surgical errors to happen in medicine is that a surgeon improperly performs a surgery on the wrong part of the body. For instance, a patient may require a hip joint replacement on his or her left side, but the doctor accidentally replaces the right hip joint. The doctor is likely liable for negligence.
Inadvertently harming other adjacent organs. Sometimes a surgery is performed correctly, but the surgeon acts too aggressively or accidentally injures a nearby organ in the body. Soft tissue organs in the body can often sustain light forces applied to them, such as gentle pressure as a doctor moves an organ that is in the way of the operation. However, soft organs and blood vessels do not fare well when they are inadvertently punctured or cut. Injuries to adjacent organs that are left untreated while the operation is underway or are ignored, can lead to serious problems after the surgery.
Leaving surgical instruments and tools in the body after surgery is complete. Many people have heard of this type of surgical error before. The surgeon leaves a cotton swab, sponge, clamp or tool inside the patient. Surprisingly, many instances of surgical instruments being left inside a patient go undetected for some time before discovery. While it is standard operating procedure to take an inventory of all tools and instruments before and after a surgery is performed, sometimes a nurse miscounts, or a staffer intentionally tries to hide the fact that a cotton swab is unaccounted for to avoid getting in trouble, however short-sighted that logic might be.
Negligent Post-Operative Care
One of the most serious complications that can arise post-surgery is an infection at the operation site. Improper post-operative care, such as improper cleaning, or giving improper cleaning instructions to an outpatient, could be considered negligence under certain circumstances. Similarly, if during recovery, a patient is not properly monitored for signs of post-operative complications, it can also be grounds for a malpractice lawsuit.
Contacting a Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you believe that you have suffered from a surgical error due to the negligence of an anesthesiologist, a nurse anesthetist, a surgeon or a post-operative care provider, you need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to help you formulate your claim. Please contact us today to learn more.
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