A surgical error refers to a preventable mistake made during surgery. A certain degree of risk is always present during surgeries, no matter how minor. For this reason, many hospitals require you to sign an informed consent form stating that you understand what risks are involved.
A surgical error does not necessarily mean there is a case for medical malpractice because medical malpractice refers to adherence to the accepted standard of medical care. Standard treatment is defined as the type and level of care a similarly trained and experienced professional would give in the same circumstances. If the level of care is below that, then it can be considered malpractice.
Therefore, you must prove that a surgical error in Jersey County results from a lower level of care. If there is no damage due to poor service, or if the service was standard and you got hurt, in many cases you will not have a medical malpractice claim. A knowledgeable attorney could help you determine the viability of your case.
Why Surgical Errors Occur
No two people are alike. Similarly, surgeries differ from each other, as do the causes of errors. However, there are some common reasons for errors to occur.
These reasons include:
You may find that your surgeon has not operated enough times to be as skilled at it. They may have also not performed that specific surgery in a long time and have become less proficient.
Insufficient Planning Before the Operation
How prepared a surgeon is before an operation is critical to his performance. They have to review and prepare for any potential complications likely to occur. Nurses and assistants ensure all equipment needed for surgery is ready and available.
Insufficient planning is likely to occur during emergency surgeries. If there is no time to prepare, you increase the chances for mistakes to happen.
Doctors and surgeons commonly work long 30 hour-shifts. They may also work up to 80 hours a week. Anyone would be fatigued after such a long shift and workweek. Fatigue makes one prone to mistakes.
There are many signs of neglect during a surgery, such as failing to prepare or properly sterilizing instruments. It may also include using defective surgical equipment.
Drugs or Alcohol
Surgeons often suffer from stress, because of the long work hours and other factors. Many surgeons often result in self-medication or turn to alcohol to cope. Many will avoid going into surgery while under the influence, but it has been documented.
Communication is vital during an operation. If the people operating cannot communicate properly, they may fail to ensure all the necessary surgical equipment is properly on hand. They may also administer the wrong dose or mark the incorrect operating site.
Common Surgical Errors
Some common surgical errors include:
- Nerve damage during surgery.
- Leaving surgical equipment inside a patient.
- Operating on the wrong location or body part.
- Performing surgery on the wrong patient.
- Administering the incorrect amount of anesthesia.
Call a Jersey County Attorney for Surgical Error Cases
A research paper by Thomas L. Rodziewicz, Benjamin Houseman, and John E. Hipskind for the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) shows more than 4,000 surgical errors in the USA each year.
If you have been on the receiving end of a surgical error, you should consider calling a lawyer knowledgeable in medical malpractice. They can help you determine if the error was due to malpractice and what your chances of winning are.
In the State of Illinois, you have two years from the time of the surgical error in Jersey County to file a medical malpractice legal suit. An attorney can increase your chances of winning as the procedures can be long and complex.