What Should I Do if I Was Injured During My Surgery?

What Should I Do if I Was Injured During My Surgery?

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What Should I Do if I Was Injured During My Surgery?

When undergoing a surgical procedure, a positive result is never guaranteed. However, if a patient is harmed or dies due to a preventable medical error, they or their families have the right to fight for compensation for their loss by filing a medical malpractice claim. Surgery is inherently risky, but medical advances have dramatically lowered the chances of adverse outcomes. Nonetheless, negligence still happens.

Being injured during surgery has many consequences. The most severe is, of course, death. Yet less severe injuries can leave a patient with the need for multiple corrective surgeries, excessive medical expenses, delayed recovery, and undue pain and suffering.

How to sue over surgical injuries

A medical malpractice claim requires that you be able to demonstrate the surgeon failed in their duty to uphold the standard of care for their specialty. The standard of care in the medical field is measured by how another competent medical professional would have acted under the same circumstances. To do this, often, it will require the expert testimony of a medical professional trained in the same specialty as the negligent surgeon. Medical malpractice is tough to prove, but you have a significantly better chance with our expert legal team, which has the resources to fight big insurance companies.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

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  • When can you sue for being injured during surgery?

    When you go after a surgeon for medical malpractice, you have to demonstrate they made a preventable error that resulted in your injuries. While all surgeries have some element of risk, not every injury rises to the level of medical malpractice. They must have made an error during surgery or failed to act as a reasonably careful surgeon would have under similar circumstances.

    To establish a surgeon acted negligently, it must be proven they failed to perform with the same care and skill that another surgeon would have exercised under the same conditions. To do this, your legal team needs to identify the standard of care and how the surgeon deviated from that. Then, it must be proven that the substandard care resulted in your injuries.

    During negotiations or at trial, it must be shown through expert testimony that the defendant did not uphold the standard of care by explaining how they failed in that duty. The harm you suffered has to be compensable, meaning that compensation can improve your circumstances. For example, if you had to get additional medical care or multiple surgeries, you could be made whole by the defendant's insurance company paying for those extra incurred costs. Not all compensation has to be for economic loss; you can also get compensation for things like pain and suffering or mental anguish.

    When you are injured during surgery, it's crucial to speak to one of our medical malpractice lawyers right away, as every state has a statute of limitations on the time you have to file your claim. Once the time has passed, there's virtually no way to gain compensation, no matter how significant your injuries are. Some states have a statute of limitation as short as one year from the time you discover your injury. Considering how complex medical malpractice claims are, that's not a lot of time.

  • Why do surgeons make errors during surgery?

    When we agree to have a surgery performed, it may be because of medical necessity, or it could be elective. Regardless of the reason, we expect our surgeon to be competent because of the risks of surgery and the months of rehabilitation often required after this kind of procedure. When a surgeon fails in their duties, we're left feeling betrayed and have to incur additional costs and pain to have the error corrected. Here are some common reasons why a surgeon makes an error during surgery:

    • The surgeon isn't adequately trained to perform the specific procedure
    • They are acting carelessly
    • The surgeon is exhausted or has overextended themself
    • They are disorganized or unprepared to perform the procedure
  • What are some reasons to sue a surgeon for medical malpractice?

    If a surgeon or any member of their staff is negligent during surgery, you have cause to sue for medical malpractice. Here are some reasons to sue for surgical medical malpractice:

    Wrong-site surgery -  While supposedly a rare occurrence, wrong-site surgeries do happen if medical professionals fail to follow protocols intended to make sure this never occurs. Victims of wrong-site surgery may have the wrong organs operated on or unnecessarily removed.

    Wrong surgical procedure - Having the incorrect surgical procedure can cause harm to healthy organs and requires the patient to undergo another surgery to have the correct procedure done.

    Wrong patient surgery - Miscommunication between medical professionals can result in the wrong patient receiving unnecessary surgery. Failure to follow protocols in place to prevent errors like this is negligent.

    Leaving behind foreign objects - Surgical tools like sponges and clamps can be left inside a patient's body, causing severe pain, infection, or worse. Retrieving foreign objects requires additional surgery with all the inherent risks and delays recovery time.

    Anesthesia errors - Administering the wrong kind of anesthesia, too much or too little, can have dire consequences and even be deadly. Between 2007 and 2014, there were 17,1116 anesthetic errors reported, with 131 deaths.

    Contamination - When surgical instruments are not properly sanitized, or single-use tools are used on another patient, the individual having surgery is left vulnerable to contracting a disease, developing serious infections, and can be life-threatening.

    Nerve damage - Some nerve damage is to be expected, particularly at the incision site. However, further nerve damage can happen if the surgeon has a slip of the hand, is inattentive during surgery, or rushing. Nerve damage can be painful and permanent.

    Unnecessary surgery - Surgeries performed when there are less invasive means of treating the patient's health issues are considered unnecessary surgeries and put patients unduly at risk for complications or death.

    Organ damage - An organ can be punctured or perforated by a slip of the hand or tearing of the organ during a surgical procedure, leading to blood loss, infection, and disruption of the organ's critical functions.

  • How do I identify an injury from surgery?

    When you feel your surgery didn't have the desired results, that's not automatically medical malpractice. Remember, the surgeon must have failed to uphold the standard of care for their profession. Harm to patients because of a surgical error can cause the following:

    • Extensive time to recover
    • Severe pain suffering
    • Disfigurement
    • Traumatic brain injuries
    • Permanent disability
    • Damage or loss of organs and limbs 
  • What should I do if I suspect medical malpractice?

    To pursue justice and defend your rights when you suspect you were injured during surgery, follow these guidelines:  

    Get copies of all medical records: Before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, get a copy of all your medical records so the guilty surgeon cannot alter records to hide their errors. This kind of documentation is key to proving your case because it will contain information on your condition and medical history. Share your medical records with another doctor for a second opinion. They may be able to identify discrepancies.

    Find another doctor - Since your health is at stake, you should find another doctor to treat your injuries. They may be able to help point out what kind of error happened and establish whether medical malpractice took place.

    Keep a diary - Document your symptoms, pain, additional doctor's appointments, and discussion with your healthcare provider. Include all the activities you can no longer perform because of your injury.

    Don't post on social media - If you're suing for medical malpractice and want to include damages for things, loss of ability to enjoy life, or a permanent disability, avoid posting photos of you on outings or engaged in activities that could be used against you. Insurance companies often investigate social media for evidence that will help them pay less. 

  • What kind of compensation can I get for my surgical injury?

    Medical malpractice lawsuits typically have two types of damages that can be recovered: economic and non-economic. Economic damages cover the actual expenses incurred due to your surgical injuries, such as additional medical costs, transportation, and lost wages. If you or your loved one becomes disabled temporarily or permanently, the cost of lost future income can be included. If your loved one died from medical malpractice, you and the deceased dependents could recover death damages that cover loss of income and funeral and burial expenses.

    Noneconomic damages are meant to compensate for things like pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and loss of ability to enjoy life. For example, if a competitive runner had a lung removed because of wrong-patient surgery, they could be compensated for losing their ability to enjoy life. However, some states have caps for noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.

  • Contact Morgan & Morgan medical malpractice attorneys

    Dealing with a medical malpractice claim can be complex because you're already injured and likely have other things in your life to manage, like work and family. That's why it's in your best interest to contact one of our expert lawyers to do all the heavy lifting for you on your claim. We do all the work to ensure you have a strong case and receive the maximum compensation possible.

    While being injured during surgery is rare, it can have devastating consequences for the patient when it does occur. We understand that you're going through a difficult time right now and need compassionate and competent legal representation. Our lawyers are not only understanding and capable, but they also have the resources necessary to go up against powerful insurance companies.

    Our law firm has been fighting big insurance companies for over 35 years, and we have a stellar track record of success. We've won billions for our clients because we don't back down until we make it right. Contact us today for a free case evaluation to let us show you what we can do. You owe nothing if we don’t win.

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