When do Surgical Errors Constitute Medical Malpractice?

No matter if your surgery is classified as minor or major, there is a risk that errors can occur during the process. Any error that occurs during surgery can create substantial obstacles for a patient. Determining if a medical error constitutes malpractice, however, is complicated. This article will review some of the important things that you should know about medical malpractice and surgical errors.

How Medical Malpractice is Defined

To be considered medical malpractice, the surgical care provided must have fallen below the accepted standard of care. If the error that was made does not fall below the established level of medical care, medical malpractice will not be found to have occurred. To determine the standard of care, courts of law will typically analyze the care that would be provided by an ordinary medical care provider in the same community.

After establishing the standard of care, courts must then determine whether a person was harmed by the error.

A surgical error is any mistake that occurs during an operation that could be avoided. Because many surgeries have the potential for error, patients are often required to sign a form before the surgery expressing that the patient understands what the surgery involves as well as the associated risks.

Common Reasons for Surgical Errors

Some of the most common causes of surgical errors include the following:

  • Medical professionals who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol are not able to properly perform their jobs.
  • Fatigue can lead to medical errors.
  • Improper work process, which involves medical professionals who try to take shortcuts during a surgery.
  • Incompetence, which involves medical professionals who are not properly trained or experienced.
  • Insufficient planning, which involves lack of proper precautions to make sure that all equipment is ready and available for medical staff.
  • Poor communication between medical staff, which can result in several errors including marking the wrong area of the patient for surgery.

The Common Types of Surgical Errors

While small surgical errors can result in patients taking a slightly longer amount of time to recuperate, the most serious serious surgical errors can cause paralysis and even death. Some of the most common types of surgical errors include the following:

  • Cutting the wrong area of a patient
  • Leaving surgical equipment in a person
  • Nerve damage during the surgery
  • Operating the wrong body part or even the wrong patient
  • Using too much or too little anesthesia

Speak with a New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorney

Surgical errors can leave a person facing medical complications that can impact the rest of their lives. Because the two-year statute of limitation for these cases is short, it is critical that if you are harmed by a surgical error, you immediately obtain the assistance of a seasoned attorney. Speak to an attorney at Ferrara & Gable today to determine what your rights as a patient are and the best strategy to handle your case.