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What You Should Know About Surgical Errors and Medical Malpractice

Whenever surgery is needed, most patients believe it will be completed successfully by the doctor doing the procedure. Unfortunately, there are situations where this doesn’t always happen. While it isn’t often, there are times where an error can occur. When this happens, the default is to define the situation as medical malpractice. However, it can be complicated to know what can and can’t be called medical malpractice in North Carolina. In this guide, patients can learn details about what malpractice is and the ways a personal injury lawyer can help.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is any instance when any procedure does not meet a defined standard of care, and it results in harm to the patient, whether or not the injury came from surgery. Both aspects must be fulfilled to be called a malpractice case; the claim will not occur with only one or the other instance. The standard of care is defined by the type of care and level that is provided by healthcare professionals in identical situations, no matter what community.

Surgical Errors Resulting in Malpractice

A surgical error is a preventable mistake that occurs in the process of a surgical procedure. Before most surgeries, many hospitals require patients to sign an informed consent form that explains potential issues that could arise as a result of the procedure. This is normal as most surgeries come with some degree of risk.

For most cases involving surgical errors, the error is easy to list as a reason for a malpractice lawsuit if it serves as the primary source of pain. Some possible errors may include:

  • Surgeon Incompetence: It doesn’t sound like something that is likely to occur, but there are instances when a surgeon that performs an operation lacks the proper skill set that is needed to complete a procedure.
  • Limited Preoperative Planning: When a surgical operation takes place, a key goal of the person involved in the procedure is ensuring that they have full preparation to do the surgery. This includes having any nurses and assistants checking to ensure all equipment used is available or the doctor checking any potential complications that could arise and knowing what to do in those situations. These and other advanced items should be handled before the start of the surgery.
  • Incomplete Processes: Whenever a surgeon or other medical personnel elect to use shortcuts and reduce whatever required steps are needed during surgery.
  • Minimal Communication: Not having all details of the surgery in question communicated properly can lead to major complications. Among these are using the wrong location for the procedure or not having the necessary equipment. Errors can also be made for both the amount and type of medication needed for the patient.
  • Fatigue: Many in the medical profession have long shifts, so being tired during work can be a common instance. This can cause mistakes, which typically occur among fatigued people.
  • Use Of Drugs/Alcohol: As the medical profession can be stressful, and there can be occasions where a surgeon relies on drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.
  • Neglect: This is due to not having certain necessary items such as sterilized surgical instruments or the use of defective items.

In addition to the above situations, there are other examples of surgical errors such as medical items left inside the patient, performing a procedure on the incorrect person, and nerve and other injuries resulting from a procedure.

Medical Malpractice and Lawyers

By obtaining a lawyer that knows medical malpractice issues, you can learn if you suffered an issue during surgery, plus if it’s considered within the set standards that are needed to file a successful case. Serving Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and surrounding areas, Lewis & Keller has over 20 years experience helping personal injury clients with the legal representation they deserve. Call us today at 336-765-7777 or complete our inquiry contact form below.