Which Types of Surgery are Commonly Linked to Malpractice Cases?
There is an old expression: “The definition of minor surgery is a procedure that is done on someone else.” It is a lighthearted way of saying that virtually no one wants to undergo a medical procedure. Even supposed “routine” surgery can have complications that lead to serious injuries.
Unfortunately, surgical errors happen every day. Research indicates that at least 4,000 “never events” (preventable surgical errors) occur annually in the U.S. Surgeons sometimes operate on the wrong side of a patient’s body or perform the wrong procedure on a patient. And about a dozen times a day, a foreign object is left inside a patient’s body after surgery.
A study from Johns Hopkins found that medical errors may now be the third largest cause of death in the United States, behind only heart conditions and cancer. In fact, as many as 250,000 deaths are caused by medical error every year. Medical errors also result in disabling injuries, loss of income, and untold pain and suffering.
Surgical procedures are expensive and often risky. Patients should expect that they are being performed by knowledgeable people with the skills and training to do them well. When complications, injuries, or even deaths occur as the result of a surgery, we have every right to hold negligent professionals accountable for any errors or omissions that caused our suffering.
Let’s look at a few types of surgery commonly associated with surgical errors.
Neurosurgeons work with the most vital parts of the human anatomy, including the brain and spine. In surgeries involving these critical body parts, the stakes are incredibly high. Perhaps it is no surprise that neurosurgeons experience the highest rate of malpractice claims of all medical professionals.
From liposuction to breast augmentation surgery, Americans spend billions of dollars on cosmetic plastic surgeries and minimally invasive procedures every year in the United States. Approximately 12.7% of plastic surgeons in the U.S. face medical malpractice claims each year. Whether these surgeries are elective or are part of a more complicated rehabilitation process from an accident, patients should expect procedures to be conducted error-free.
It is estimated that about 4 million babies are born each year in the United States. With such a large number of births, there are sure to be a significant number of patients that experience complications and injuries. Research shows that up to eight out of every 1,000 births will result in an injury to the baby.
Error Doesn’t Always Equal Malpractice
It’s important to note that medical error doesn’t always constitute medical malpractice. For a medical malpractice claim to be successful, it must be demonstrated that a healthcare provider failed to act in a reasonably careful fashion, i.e. negligence, and that a patient has incurred damage as a result of the negligence.
Have You Been Harmed by a Surgical Error?
Injuries during procedures are the leading reason why doctors face malpractice lawsuits, followed by situations involving misdiagnosis. But not all injuries that occur during a surgical procedure are the result of negligence. That is why if you or a loved one has experienced an injury or other complication following a medical procedure, you should seek legal counsel from a team of legal professionals experienced in medical malpractice claims, preferably attorneys with a medical background.
Medical professionals should be held accountable for the decisions they make regarding patient care before, during and after any medical procedure. If you’ve been injured because of a surgeon’s negligence, consider consulting a medical malpractice attorney to learn more about your legal options.