Surgical error is one of the most dangerous types of medical malpractice. This type of error often goes misreported by hospitals in order to conceal the actual amount of surgical errors that take place. One major way that hospitals do this is by reporting a surgeon error as a mere “complication” or side effect of the surgical procedure itself. Truthfully, there is a major difference between mistakes and complication, and that difference can directly affect a patient’s right to sue. Your best chance at getting the financial compensation you deserve after a serious surgical error is by contacting a skilled Charleston medical malpractice attorney from our firm. Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC is able to represent clients throughout the entire state of West Virginia.
Surgical errors are not uniform, but rather can take on many different forms. Listed below are some of the most common types of surgical errors that patients should be aware of:
Wrong Side Surgery
Often referred to as “wrong site” surgery, this surgical error involves a surgeon operating on the wrong side of the body. An example would be removing a healthy kidney while leaving the diseased one. CNN, in a report on wrong side surgeries, cited a 2006 study which indicated that there may be as many as 2,700 wrong side surgeries that take place annually. Although doctors are required to do extensive patient counseling to familiarize both parties with the details of the procedure as well as doctors also being required to mark the appropriate area to be operated on while the patient is still conscious, surgical error is still a prevalent issue.
It only takes one small nick to cause serious internal bleeding that, if left unchecked, could kill a patient post-surgery. This is one of the most common types of surgical error to be labeled as a surgical complication. If a patient does not take action, then they may be left without representation and compensation for a surgeon’s negligence.
Leaving Medical Devices Behind
Although it seems like something more typical of a cartoon, surgeons can actually leave behind medical devices such as scalpels and gauze inside a patient after surgery. It is not until sometime later that patients will begin to experience severe pain due to the foreign object. Left-behind medical devices necessitate additional surgeries.
Many surgeries require a patient to be “put under” so that they are not conscious for the surgical procedure. Anesthesia is a powerful drug substance that is used for the purpose of minimizing pain during a procedure. An anesthesia error can go two ways: the anesthesiologist may not administer enough anesthesia which can cause the pain killer to wear off too soon or the anesthesiologist can administer too much anesthesia which can cause permanent damage or even death.
Sanitation is crucial to a successful surgery. The environment must be completely sterile in order to ensure that a patient is not exposed to harmful bacteria during surgery. One example of poor sanitation is improper storage or handling of needles and IVs which can cause staph infections.
Many patients and their families are able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit as a result of surgical errors. Although some of these cases are initially reported as mere complications or side effects of a difficult surgery, the help of a skilled attorney can turn these cases around by proving surgeon negligence. If you or a loved one was injured by any of the previously mentioned surgical errors or another type of hospital mistake then please do not hesitate to contact a representative from our law firm. Our West Virginia medical malpractice attorneys are standing by and ready to help you with your case!