Fort Lauderdale Surgical Malpractice Attorney
Proudly Representing Injured Patients in Broward County, Florida
Virtually every surgery carries a certain amount of risk, even for healthy patients. However, each year, surgical errors remain among the most common causes for lawsuits filed in the United States. If you’ve been injured due to the carelessness of a surgeon in Broward County or elsewhere in Florida, contact a Fort Lauderdale surgical malpractice lawyer immediately after your first symptoms appear.
Surgical errors can largely be prevented and are more common among certain types of surgeries, like:
- laparoscopic procedures;
- obstetric surgeries;
- gastric bypass surgeries;
- cosmetic surgeries.
Types and effects of surgical errors
Many different types of errors can occur during surgery. Some take place when the patient is being prepped immediately before the operation while others involve operating on mistaken body parts, accidental injury to areas adjacent to the surgical site, and surgical instruments being left in the patient’s body. The result of a surgical error can translate to an extended recovery time for the patient, the need for a follow-up procedure, or, in the case of anesthesia errors, coma or even death. Patients who are injured as a result of a surgical error may file a complaint against the medical facility and/or their doctor to receive compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Administering anesthesia is often one of the riskiest parts of a surgical procedure. Nevertheless, anesthesia is necessary to prevent patients from experiencing the pain of undergoing a surgery. If a doctor administers too much anesthesia, the patient may experience symptoms ranging from nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, and hypothermia to mental or physical impairment, respiratory distress, dementia, prolonged unconsciousness, brain injury, and death. A patient who receives too little anesthesia may wake up during surgery and possibly feel pain despite being unable to speak or communicate. A doctor may also fail to properly monitor the patient for adverse drug reactions or other signs of distress during the surgery, which may cause injury. Improperly positioning the patient may also cause high blood pressure or brain injury. The administration of anesthesia and subsequent monitoring are very critical responsibilities that can cause very serious harm if neglected or improperly performed.
When medical staff fail to communicate
Poor communication among surgical team members can result in critical errors. Failure to communicate accurately may cause the surgeon to identify the wrong part of the body for the procedure, result in the team not having the correct surgical equipment, and incorrect dosage of medicine administered to the patient. In 2015, CRICO Strategies of the Risk Management Foundation at Harvard Medical Institutions reported more than one-quarter of surgical error cases involved communication failure.
When the surgeon operates on the wrong site
In cases in which a surgeon operates on the wrong site or on the incorrect body part entirely, poor communication is often the cause. The doctor may be confused when reading a nurse’s notes. Other surgical team members may not understand the doctor’s markings on the patient’s body. Fatigue may be a factor. Regardless, patients may experience emotional distress and unnecessary physical pain as a result of the surgery being performed on the wrong area. Injured patients may file a claim and receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress among other damages the patient may suffer.
Surgical tools or supplies left inside patients
One of the most alarming thoughts for Fort lauderdale residents who are scheduled to have surgery is the prospect of the surgical team leaving equipment inside the patient’s body. While most surgeries are completed without the doctor leaving instruments behind, approximately a dozen surgical professionals forget to retrieve surgical objects from their inside patients. Among the dozen daily cases, objects that are commonly left inside patients include:
- clips and clamps;
Punctures, lacerations and damaged nerves
Perforations and punctures happen more often during abdominal surgeries due to the close proximity of the abdominal organs. Lacerations on nearby body parts may also occur as a result of surgical error. If a surgeon accidentally punctures the bowel, kidney, or liver, results may be catastrophic. In other cases, a surgeon may erroneously cut a nerve, tendon, or muscle, which can cause pain and limit the patient’s mobility in a way that would not have otherwise taken place if the surgery had been performed without error.
When the patient is discharged prematurely
Doctors and hospitals are required to monitor patients for a certain period after the patient has had a surgical procedure in the interest of monitoring for infections and ensuring the patient is recovering properly. Nevertheless, hospitals sometimes discharge patients too early due to concerns of overcrowding and the maximum volume the surgical unit is able to accommodate. People are often unaware that premature discharge can create a legitimate cause of action. However, patients whose condition declines as a result of premature discharge and inadequate monitoring may file a claim for their resulting injuries.
Inadequate post-operative follow-up
After a doctor performs a surgery, the patient is usually scheduled to receive follow-up evaluation and treatment. Because postoperative care and evaluation are necessary to ensure the patient is healing properly and to provide additional medical support, failure to properly follow up after the patient’s surgery can cause the patient’s condition to worsen. If a patient is left to his or her own devices after a surgery, he or she may sue the doctor and/or the medical facility for malpractice.
Lack of informed consent
Doctors have a duty to inform patients of all material medical information the patient would reasonably rely on in deciding whether to receive a treatment or procedure. An exception exists in cases in which the patient arrives unconscious and has a severe injury that requires immediate medical intervention. If the patient experiences a complication the doctor failed to disclose as a possible result, the patient may file a claim against the doctor for his or her injury.
When do you need a malpractice attorney?
There are multiple situations that may give rise to a medical malpractice claim. in Broward County or elsewhere in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in Broward County, Florida. Patients who believe they may have been injured due to medical treatment they received should contact a Florida medical malpractice attorney to learn more about their legal options. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will thoroughly investigate the patient’s case and gather all the necessary information to help the patient prove his or her injury occurred due to a failure on behalf of the doctor, medical staff or hospital. Families are encouraged to contact a medical malpractice attorney on behalf of their injured family members who are unable to make the call for themselves. Contacting a Florida surgical malpractice attorney is often the first step toward paving the road to a smoother recovery.