Tampa Bay Surgical Error Lawyer
St. Petersburg Medical Malpractice Law Firm Holding Doctors Accountable for Surgical Errors
Surgery errors are a frequent form of medical malpractice that can result in serious adverse consequences, including sepsis, organ damage, internal bleeding, nerve damage/paralysis and even wrongful death. Surgery is not without risks, and it can be difficult without expert help to determine if operating room errors such as surgical mistakes or anesthesia errors were the cause of an adverse outcome. At Masterson, Hoag & Smith in St. Petersburg, our Tampa Bay surgical error lawyers have decades of experience holding doctors and hospitals accountable for medical mistakes.
Surgical “Never Events” Happen Every Day
Hospitals have a term for mistakes that are so serious they should never occur at their facilities. Technically, they are known as “sentinel events,” but doctors and hospitals more commonly refer to them as “never events.” As a patient or family member, it should raise alarm bells that mistakes which should never occur happen so often that hospitals have a name for them. Never events by definition are easy to identify, always serious and usually preventable. They include delays in treatment, medication errors, patient falls, and certain surgical errors, such as the following:
Surgery is performed on the wrong body part
Humans are bilaterally symmetrical, and an operation can be performed on the wrong side of the body if an x-ray or other diagnostic film is misread, or if information is entered incorrectly into the patient’s chart. Once the mistake is made, it may be weeks before the patient is able to undergo another surgery on the correct body part, creating additional risk, pain and trauma.
Surgery is performed on the wrong patient
In busy hospitals, patients can be moved from bed to bed or room to room, and charts can get mixed up. The wrong patient can wind up getting the intended surgery, or a patient may receive the wrong surgery due to these errors. Simple procedures such as barcode scannable patient ID bracelets and confirming patient identification and surgery verbally with the patient can help prevent these needless and potentially-fatal errors.
A foreign object is left inside the patient
Every day some foreign body is sewed up inside a patient following surgery in a U.S. hospital. Sponges, clamps, hemostats and other surgical instruments can get forgotten and go unnoticed until some serious or even fatal condition arises, such as a blockage, infection or perforation. If discovered in time, the patient must still undergo another surgery to remove the object, subjecting the patient to unnecessary pain, distress and all the risks of a surgery. Foreign object errors can be prevented simply by keeping a count of what objects are used in surgery and making sure they are all accounted for before closing a surgical site.
Unintended damages to surrounding body parts
With ever increasing frequency, surgical procedures are conducted using “minimally invasive” techniques that involve scopes and robotic surgical equipment. While these techniques may reduce the length of hospital stays and recovery time, they often lead to negligent damage to internal organs, nerves, vessels or tissues due to negligent technique. These minimally invasive techniques frequently limit the scope of the surgeon’s vision, and a negligent surgeon may cause injury by failing to use proper care. Injuries can be compounded by a physician’s failure to recognize unintended damage to surrounding body parts.
Get Help after a Serious Surgical Error in St. Petersburg or Tampa Bay
Doctors and hospitals may be reluctant to divulge information or accept responsibility for a surgical error, and without medical expertise, it can be difficult to know that a medical mistake is responsible for a bad surgical outcome. Tell your story to the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Masterson, Hoag & Smith in St. Petersburg. We will conduct a free review of your case and let you know if you have a claim, and we will pursue your medical negligence claim to make sure you get the care and compensation you need and deserve. Call 727-896-3641 for your no-cost consultation.