Entrusting our lives to the hands of physicians is a necessary aspect of our lives, and it generally works in our favor. Physicians heal our wounds, help lessen pain and listen to our complaints. For all their good work, though, physicians are still human and subject to error. And when errors are made during surgery, the results can be costly. If you or someone you know has been harmed as a result of a surgical error, read on to learn more about medical malpractice, and contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.
Defining Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs when medical treatment falls below a certain standard of care and results in harm to the patient. Therefore, medical malpractice is not simply a surgical error. In order for an error to be considered medical malpractice, the mistake must both violate the standard of care and cause harm to the patient.
So if a physician does not meet the standard of care during a procedure, but you are not harmed because of this mistake, it is not considered to be malpractice. Likewise, if you are harmed because of a surgical procedure but the physician did not violate the standard of care, it is not considered to be malpractice. Let’s find out a bit more about surgical errors and how they relate to medical malpractice.
What are Surgical Errors?
Surgical errors are preventable mistakes that are made during surgery. There is really no such thing as a minor surgery in the medical world, as all surgeries do come with their own risks. Because there is this element of risk to surgeries, patients are required to sign an “informed consent” form prior to their surgery. This acknowledges that patients are aware of and understand the risks associated with the surgery.
Surgical errors are unexpected mistakes that extend beyond the normal risks of surgery. The most common surgical errors include performing an operation on the wrong patient, operating on the wrong part of the body and performing an incision at the incorrect place on the body. Further examples of surgical errors include leaving a sponge, tool or other surgical instrument inside the patient, administering the incorrect dose of anesthesia or other medication and injuring a nerve during the operation.
Common Reasons for Surgical Errors
There are many different kinds of surgical errors and reasons for their occurrence because every medical situation is unique. No two surgeries work out the same way, even if the physician has performed that same surgery hundreds of times. Even though no two situations are the same, there are certain reasons for surgical errors that are more common than others.
Unfortunately, fatigue, drugs, and alcohol are among these most common reasons for surgical errors. Incompetency, where the physician is not qualified to perform the surgery, and neglect, where the surgeon is not as careful as they should be or uses equipment they know to be defective, are also common reasons. Poor communication, improper work processes, and inadequate pre-operative planning also most frequently lead to surgical errors.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you believe that you experienced a surgical error that resulted in harm to you, talk to a personal injury lawyer to determine what your legal options are. The experts at McMahan Law Firm of Chattanooga, Tennessee understand the complexities of malpractice cases, and we’ll do everything we can to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact a personal injury lawyer today.