A surgeon performing a hysterectomy or microsurgery improperly may be liable for medical misconduct. To win, the patient must show that the doctor’s actions were negligent and their absence caused the patient suffering.
When a surgeon makes a surgical error, the procedure fails. Avoidable mistakes made during surgery are referred to as surgical errors and complications.
Any surgery carries some inherent risk, and patients often sign an informed consent form indicating their knowledge of such risks beyond what a patient thought was possible before consenting to the procedure. These errors result in a botched surgery.
Victims of unsuccessful procedures frequently incur pain, suffering, and monetary losses.
According to medical malpractice law, if a surgical error results in an injury or death and the mistake was caused by carelessness or inattention, the sufferer may file a surgery complications case and seek compensation if the mistake could have been avoided.
Examples of surgical mistakes that result in unsuccessful surgeries include:
- Wrong-site surgery: When a surgeon operates on the wrong bodily portion.
- Wrong-patient surgery: The doctor performs the procedure on the wrong patient, frequently resulting in the patient who required that particular surgery not receiving it.
- Surgical tool errors: When surgical tools or instruments are left inside the body after the procedure is over, damage results.
- Anesthetic mistakes: Either using too much or not enough anesthesia.
- Injuries: Injuries to internal organs or nerves can happen when the surgeon uses their tools to inflict damage.
- Infection: Infection can be brought on by improperly cleaned or sanitized equipment.
- Unnecessary operation: An unneeded operation that caused injury to the patient and was not necessary.
A sort of medical malpractice known as wrong-site surgery occurs when a doctor or surgeon operates on a patient in the wrong part of the body.
A mistaken site surgery occurrence, for instance, might involve:
- The incorrect side of the body for surgery
- Operation on the incorrect organ
- A faulty limb is involved in surgery or implants
- Other such surgical mistakes
Numerous reasons may contribute to wrong site surgery. For instance, giving the wrong directions, designating the incorrect body portion, or being careless can result in surgery being performed in the wrong place. By using the right pre-operation verification processes, many of these problems can be prevented. Wrong-site surgery is a major violation of a doctor’s duty of reasonable care and involves failing to perform surgery appropriately.
Standard of Care in a Medical Malpractice Case
In order to practice their profession, doctors, surgeons, and other medical specialists must possess the knowledge and abilities that licensed medical professionals in comparable regions typically hold.
It can be challenging to demonstrate that a surgeon acted negligently. Because there are frequently different techniques for tackling the same problem and rational people may disagree on which strategy is best, particularly in children, medicine is tremendously complex.
Additionally, the patient must demonstrate that the surgeon’s negligence resulted in genuine harm to them. This can be challenging because the patient was probably already hurt or ill when they sought medical attention.
The following are some instances of patient harm:
- Incorrect location surgery
- Unneeded operations
- Leaving foreign materials in a patient’s body after surgery, such as after a myomectomy, by leaving gauze in the patient’s belly
- Making the condition worse rather than better.
- Improper patient monitoring during or following surgery
- Providing insufficient postoperative care
In cases of medical malpractice, damages typically come in the form of:
- Economic Damages: Economic damages are quantifiable financial sums that can be quantified based on a specific harm. The most frequent examples of this are health-related costs, hospital bills, lost pay, or diminished ability to earn;
- Non-Economic Damages: Because they are intangible or largely unquantifiable harms, non-economic damages are monetary sums that are more challenging to compute. The patient’s pain and suffering, emotional anguish, loss of pleasure of activities, loss of consortium, and reputational harm are some of the most typical examples of non-economic losses; and
- Punitive Damages: In cases of medical misconduct, punitive damages are rarely granted. Punitive damages are used to punish the offender for deterring future misconduct. We’ll go into more depth about these harms below.
The suspension or revocation of a medical professional’s license or the requirement that a medical facility changes its policies or health and safety procedures in order to continue operating are a few examples of other remedies that a plaintiff may ask for.
Only when the judge or jury presiding over the case wants to punish the defendant in an effort to stop similar incidences of harm are punitive damages granted. In most cases, a multiple of the assessed economic and non-economic damages will be used to determine the amount of punitive damages.
Considering the seriousness of the medical professional’s actions, the judge or jury can award the plaintiff an additional $1,000,000 in punitive damages even though the patient may have actually suffered $125,000 in economic and non-economic losses.
The total amount of damages that can be awarded to a patient may be capped in some states. Punitive damages, for instance, are limited in Texas to more than $200,000 or two times the total of economic losses plus non-economic damages up to $750,000. Punitive damages are typically only awarded in cases of serious patient injury or in lawsuits brought by the patient’s family for wrongful death.
What is a Waiver of Right to Sue?
Patients must give their informed permission before surgery. Patients are frequently required to sign contracts that include language relinquishing their right to legal action in the event that the procedure does not go as planned. By agreeing to the waiver, the patient gives up their ability to sue and typically loses their ability to seek financial recompense in court.
What If I Want to Sue My Doctor Even Though I Signed a Waiver?
A waiver of the right to sue often only applies to patient injury that was not under the doctor’s direct control. There is always a chance of complications following surgery. There are occasions when things do not go as expected, but the doctor is not to blame. The waiver shields the doctor from liability when the surgeon is not at fault for the procedure going wrong.
The waiver does not apply, however, and the patient may file a medical malpractice claim if the surgery was unsuccessful because the surgeon did not exercise the proper amount of care.
If you intend to sue someone after signing a waiver, it’s crucial to have legal counsel. If the waiver covers your injury, an attorney will be able to let you know and, even if it is, may be able to suggest another course of action to aid in your recovery.
Do I Need a Lawyer Experienced with Medical Malpractice?
If you or a loved one has been hurt as a result of medical negligence, you should contact a personal injury lawyer right away to learn more about the strength of your claim and the possible compensation you could receive.
Depending on your state, there may be statutes of limitations for cases of medical negligence, so it’s crucial to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.