Surgery is an important medical procedure that helps save lives and also can help people live healthier lives. Surgeries also obviously come with inherent risks. When medical professionals and/or facilities make blatant errors related to surgeries, the risk to patients soars. Surgical errors can take many, many forms, and their effects often involve extended recovery times that exacerbate the victim’s precarious health that necessitated surgery in the first place.
Some surgical errors are so stark that they’re referred to as never events because they should never have happened in the first place. Such errors can include operating on the wrong patient, operating on the wrong body part of the right patient, performing the wrong surgery on the right patient, and leaving behind surgical tools. While errors as dramatic as these aren’t common, they do happen, and their effects on the victim’s health are immense. When a never event does occur, it highlights a serious breakdown in the facility’s safety protocol.
Never events are referred to as sentinel events by the Joint Commission, which finds that the incidence of reported sentinel events is on the rise. Further, reporting isn’t mandatory, so the rate of incidence is likely higher than reported. To help eliminate these tragic surgical errors that cause victims to suffer greatly, including protracted recovery periods, the Commission recommends that a three-pronged checking system is applied before the patient enters the operating theater:
- Ensure that the right patient is prepped for surgery
- Ensure that the correct patient’s correct body part has been identified and clearly marked for surgery
- Ensure that the correct procedure was recommended to begin with
Finally, the Commission’s game plan includes a pre-surgery timeout that incorporates a final verification process related to the imminent procedure. During this timeout, every medical professional involved must unanimously conclude that the person who’s meant to be operated on is prepared for the correct surgery on the correct body part.
If a surgical error has left you injured, you’re no doubt overwhelmed. Such errors often lead to lengthy recovery periods that translate into significant financial, physical, and emotional damages. You aren’t, however, alone. The legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia is dedicated to fighting for your rights and for your rightful compensation. Our skilled medical malpractice attorneys are on your side.
The Recovery Process
If you’ve experienced a never event, you know exactly how difficult that is. If the wrong surgery was performed or the right surgery was performed on the wrong body part, you didn’t receive the surgery you needed in the first place then you are further burdened with having to recover from an unnecessary process. If you’re having surgery in the first place, your health may already be compromised, which makes your recovery process that much more precarious. Whatever kind of surgical error transpired, these errors significantly compound the recovery process and exacerbate the physical, financial, and emotional damages exponentially.
Instrument Left Behind
If a medical instrument was left behind during surgery, the results could be especially dangerous. Because these errors often go unrecognized until the victim presents with symptoms, they have time to blossom into even more dangerous conditions. Such an error frequently leads to a serious infection that requires additional surgery. Often this scenario requires emergency surgery, and there are many inherent health risks and a longer recovery period with yet another surgery.
Other Kinds of Surgical Errors
While never events are dramatic, there are more prosaic types of surgical errors that can also lead to serious problems and extended recovery periods. Such errors can include operating in a nonsterile operating room, using unsanitary surgical equipment, injuring a nearby organ during the surgery process, and making errors in anesthesia.
When unsanitary conditions are present, dangerous infections can ensue. When a nearby organ is punctured or injured during the surgical process, the patient emerges from surgery with an entirely new health condition. Errors related to anesthesia can be especially dangerous because they can result in a loss of oxygen to the brain that leads to permanent brain damage or even to death. Every surgical error is unique to its own set of circumstances, but every surgical error also seriously impedes the patient’s recovery period.
If you’ve been victimized by a surgical error, you know how devastating that is. Claims of medical malpractice are complicated, but your health, your rights, and your rightful compensation are far too important to ignore or to leave to the discretion of the insurance company, which is in the business of minimizing settlements however possible. Your experienced medical malpractice lawyer will carefully investigate your unique circumstances and will gather the evidence necessary to support your surgical error claim.
The damages associated with surgical errors are difficult to adequately calculate. You needed surgery in the first place, which means that you may not have been in tiptop shape at the outset. Further, if a never event occurred, you’ll have to undergo an additional surgery. Whatever the error, you’re sure to experience an extended recovery process that will likely preclude you from returning to work at the expected time and will cost you in wages lost.
There’s also a significant emotional component to surgical errors. After all, you trusted the medical facility and the medical team to help you recover from whatever brought you to surgery in the first place. When, instead, you wind up with more health issues than you started with, it can be emotionally devastating.
Consult an Experienced Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
medical errors happen, and their results can be catastrophic. If you or someone you care about has been victimized by a surgical error, you need experienced legal counsel. These claims are complicated, but the dedicated legal team at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia has the experience, commitment, and tenacity to aggressively advocate for your claim’s just compensation. Our skilled medical malpractice lawyers care about your claim and are committed to helping you. Your claim matters so please contact or call us at (215) 825-5183 today.