Orthopedics, or orthopedic surgery, is a branch of surgical practice dealing with conditions of the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic surgeons are medical professionals who specialize in this type of treatment. They use both surgical and nonsurgical methods to treat various conditions, including infections, spine and neck conditions, tumors, sports injuries, degenerative conditions, and other disorders. A common examples of orthopedic surgery are knee implants or hip replacements.
Orthopedic surgery occurs when an orthopedic surgeon or orthopedic department of a hospital fails to follow the proper standards associated with their practice area. This can consist of errors, malpractice and negligence such as:
- Failing to properly diagnose orthopedic conditions
- Operating on the wrong patient
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Performing the wrong type of orthopedic surgery
- Failing to follow health and sanitation procedures
- Issues regarding the orthopedic surgeon’s training, qualifications, or experience (for instance, practicing without a valid medical license)
- Negligence related to clerical or administrative hospital errors
- Various other types of conduct
Depending on the facts surrounding the incident(s), different parties can be held legally liable for orthopedic malpractice. In many cases, it is the orthopedic surgeon who is directly responsible for an injury caused by orthopedic malpractice. For instance, if a surgeon’s negligence causes the patient to receive the wrong surgical procedure, they may be held liable.
Orthopedic surgery injuries are often connected with medical devices and products. A common example of this is with certain types of hip implant defects. If an orthopedic surgeon knows or should have known of the dangers associated with a particular brand of hip implant, yet proceeds to use that type of implant without the patient’s knowledge or consent, they may be held liable for injuries associated with the orthopedic surgery procedure. Also, the manufacturer of the defective product could also be held liable as well.
Finally, entire hospital organizations can be held liable if they allow widespread, systematic practices that are negligent in their orthopedics departments. An example of this is where there are departmental deficiencies regarding patients’ orthopedic surgery records.
Orthopedic malpractice is a serious issue and can result in severe injury and corresponding losses to a patient. In an orthopedic malpractice lawsuit, the injured plaintiff will typically be issued a monetary damages award. This award is intended to cover losses such as hospital bills, costs of the original surgery plus any additional surgery costs, and other financial losses such as a loss of working wages due to missing work during recovery.
Other consequences include a loss of medical practice license for an orthopedic surgeon who was found to be negligent. For cases involving administrative errors, the hospital may be required to update their health and safety procedures.
Orthopedic surgery lawsuits can be complex. You may need to hire a personal injury lawyer in your area if you need help with any type of legal proceeding. Your attorney can provide you with research for your case and can represent you during important court hearings.