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What Should I Do if My Surgery is Postponed - morgan and morgan
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Postponed Surgery

What Should I Do if My Surgery is Postponed?

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What Should I Do if My Surgery I Postponed?

You prepared for the big day for several weeks. Just a day before the scheduled surgery, you receive a call from your healthcare provider that it has been postponed for at least a couple of weeks. The surgical procedure should help you recover from a serious injury and waiting another two weeks might jeopardize your health. You need to answer the question, “What should I do if my surgery is postponed.”

Having a surgery postponed can put you at risk of suffering worse symptoms. Unless the proposed surgical procedure is considered minor, you should consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in handling medical malpractice cases. Medical malpractice comes in many forms, from making an incorrect diagnosis to performing the wrong surgical procedure. In some cases, delaying a surgical procedure can be labeled medical malpractice.

According to a recent study released by Johns Hopkins, more than 250,000 patients in the United States die each year because of some type of medical error. Medical malpractice represents the third leading cause of fatalities right behind cancer and heart disease. In addition to the more than 250,000 deaths, medical errors contribute to millions of injuries suffered by patients that are already suffering from a medical condition.

For more than 30 years, the medical malpractice attorneys from Morgan & Morgan have helped clients receive just compensation for the negative impact of medical malpractice. Our team of personal injury lawyers has recovered more than $7 in monetary damages for cases that include errors made by healthcare providers. If you had a surgery postponed and the decision to delay a medical procedure has hurt you, you should schedule a free case evaluation with a medical malpractice lawyer at Morgan & Morgan.

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Morgan & Morgan - Medical Malpractice Attorneys

  • What Is Medical Malpractice?

    As a type of personal injury case, medical malpractice happens when a patient suffers harm caused by a healthcare provider. Each state has defined what constitutes medical malpractice, but a vast majority of states include postponed surgeries as a type of medical malpractice case if the decision to delay a surgery harmed a patient. Medical malpractice can be either accidental or intentional. Judges and juries hearing lawsuits typically award more in monetary damages for patients that suffered from intentional medical malpractice.

  • What Are the Reasons Why a Healthcare Provider Postpones Surgery?

    If you are wondering, “what should I do if my surgery is postponed,” one of the first things on the agenda is to determine why the healthcare provider has temporarily canceled a medical procedure. Healthcare providers have several legitimate reasons for postponing surgical procedures.

    Abnormal or incomplete lab results can prompt a healthcare provider to conduct additional tests before scheduling a surgical procedure. If you failed to follow the pre-surgery instructions, such as limiting what you eat and drink, then the facility where the surgery is to take place might delay the surgery until you comply with the pre-operation instructions. Overcrowding of hospital beds and operating rooms can delay a surgical procedure. This has become a major issue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your healthcare provider also can postpone your surgery if you develop an illness before the scheduled medical procedure.

    Regardless of why your healthcare provider postponed a surgical procedure, you should contact one of the medical malpractice lawyers at Morgan & Morgan to determine whether the healthcare provider had a valid reason to delay it.

  • Do I Have the Right to Sue for a Postponed Surgery?

    The short answer is yes, but you have to meet several legal conditions. First, you must demonstrate the postponement resulted from an act of negligence. Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet the minimum standards of care when treating a patient. An expert witness from the healthcare industry usually has to substantiate a claim of medical negligence by testifying during a civil trial. 

    The second legal condition to prove involves showing the act of negligence resulted in negative health consequences for the patient. Examples of negative health consequences include the worsening of your condition and prolonged pain caused by a delay in a surgical procedure. A medical expert also should testify that postponing surgery directly caused negative health consequences for you.

  • What Is the Process for Litigating a Medical Malpractice Case?

    After you meet with one of the medical malpractice lawyers at Morgan & Morgan, you should have a good idea about the direction of your case. If your legal counsel discovers your healthcare provider committed one or more acts of negligence by postponing surgery, you might have a strong enough case to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.

    Filing a civil lawsuit requires you to follow a series of steps, which your attorney explains to you in detail during the free case evaluation.

    Send a Demand Letter

    Ironically, the first step in the litigation process involves trying to avoid litigating your medical malpractice case. Your lawyer sends a demand letter to the other party’s legal counsel that requests compensation for the financial losses associated with the postponed surgical procedure. The demand letter clearly establishes legal liability for your healthcare provider, as well as presents a value for the compensation you seek to cover your financial losses.

    The healthcare provider can agree to the terms of the demand letter, request negotiations to resolve the legal dispute, or flat out reject your demand for just compensation.

    Gather and Organize Evidence

    The healthcare provider has 45 days to respond to your demand letter. During this time, you and your medical malpractice lawyer spend time gathering and organizing evidence. First, you must prove the healthcare provider postponed your surgery. Second, you have to present medical evidence the postponement caused you physical, mental, and/or emotional harm. Medical evidence should include the results of diagnostic tests, a description of the delayed surgery, and statements made by expert witnesses that confirm the postponed surgical procedure caused negative health issues. 

    File a Civil Lawsuit

    After hearing back from the other party’s attorney concerning the demand letter, your medical malpractice attorney might decide to file a civil lawsuit seeking monetary damages. This important step requires the filing of several legal documents to establish your role as the plaintiff and the healthcare provider’s role as the defendant.


    The discovery phase of litigation is the fork in the road for the entire legal process. Each side shares all the information it has collected in an attempt to find common ground that avoids litigation. During the discovery phase, either attorney can request to negotiate a settlement, which is often the preferred outcome of a civil case. Litigation requires you to miss time from work, which adversely impacts your finances.

    If you cannot reach a settlement during the discovery phase of litigation, your lawyer will recommend taking your case to trial. A judge or jury hearing your case issues a verdict that determines whether you receive just compensation for the negligent act of postponing surgery.

  • What Are the Monetary Damages Awarded for a Medical Malpractice Case?

    A medical malpractice verdict can award you three primary types of monetary damages: special compensatory, general compensatory, and punitive. If delaying surgery led to the wrongful death of a loved one, you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit that seeks just compensation. Wrongful death decisions usually award a higher value for monetary damages than medical malpractice cases that do not involve a fatality.

    Special Compensatory Damages

    Also called economic damages, special compensatory damages cover the cost of medical expenses. A postponed surgery that causes additional harm can rack up bills that run into tens of thousands of dollars. You do not receive any money upfront to pay for medical bills. Every bill, from the results of diagnostic tests to the cost of prescription medications, comes out of your pocket. Special compensatory damages cover the tangible costs that are associated with your medical malpractice case.

    Special compensatory damages also cover lost wages. Postponing surgery might have triggered incredibly severe health consequences that made it impossible for you to get back to work. You have the right to request compensation that makes up for lost wages.

    General Compensatory Damages

    Considered non-economic damages, general compensatory damages covers issues such as pain and suffering. Postponing surgery can trigger acute mental and emotional issues. Because general compensatory damages do not come with a price tag, your medical malpractice attorney must refer to a formula that takes into account the requested value of special compensatory damages. The key for your legal counsel is to request a reasonable value for general compensatory damages. If the judge or jury hearing your case determines your lawyer has requested an unreasonable value for general compensatory damages, you might not get what you deserve for just compensation.

    Punitive Damages

    Punitive damages punish the defendant for committing one or more acts of negligence. The act or acts of negligence typically must be intentional, although you might win a verdict for punitive damages that involve unintentional negligence. Punitive damages do not compensate you for any direct or indirect expenses. The purpose behind the awarding of punitive damages is to deter the defendant from committing the same act or acts of negligence again.

  • Get Legal Support From an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

    One of the most important answers to the question, “What should I do if my surgery is postponed” involves working with the best medical malpractice attorney. You want to hire a medical malpractice lawyer who has compiled an impressive record of winning legal judgments for clients. At Morgan & Morgan, we have successfully litigated medical malpractice cases for more than three decades.

    You also want to hire a medical malpractice attorney who has amassed positive reviews left by clients on sites such as Yelp and Google. Our clients praise Morgan & Morgan for operating with integrity and transparency, as well as putting clients first. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has given us its highest reputation rating of A+.

    Act with a sense of urgency when it comes to your medical malpractice case. You have a limited amount of time to file a civil lawsuit and the more time you give your healthcare provider to build a case, the less likely a judge or jury will award you the compensation you deserve.

    Schedule a free case evaluation today with one of the highly-rated medical malpractice lawyers from Morgan & Morgan.

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Last updated on May 31, 2023

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