Doctors, Botched Surgeries & Medical Malpractice

October 23, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Doctors, Botched Surgeries & Medical Malpractice

Seeking Compensation via Medical Malpractice Claim for a Botched Surgery

Medical malpractice is a scary idea. We would like to believe that doctors and surgeons are reliable professionals in their fields. And what's even scarier, medical professionals are where we turn when we are desperate for help. If they can't handle the situation, or severely botch the process, who else are we to turn to? Unfortunately, there have been many cases in which people have been severely injured by impaired, incompetent, and negligent medical providers. When we are talking about medical malpractice in the context of surgery, there is even more potential for the procedure to go awry. Botched surgeries and medical malpractice injuries can create financial stress in addition to being painful for the victims. Injured parties may turn to medical malpractice lawsuits to compensate for their losses. If you or a loved one are the victims of a botched surgery and you believe your surgeon acted negligently, we encourage you to contact the medical malpractice attorneys of Dolman Law Group to schedule a free consultation to go over your legal options.

Surgical Error May Constitute Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is more than a simple mistake on the part of a medical provider. In many cases, if a similarly qualified provider in a comparable situation would have made the same mistake, it will not qualify as medical malpractice. If you are considering pursuing a medical malpractice case, your surgeon's error must violate the established standard of care. Additionally, you must have sustained damages as a result of their negligence.

Examples of Medical Malpractice in Surgery:

  • mistakes made by impaired medical professionals, including surgical nurses and anesthesiologists
  • injuries caused by unprepared surgeons
  • performing the wrong surgery or using the incorrect equipment
  • failure to properly sterilize surgical equipment
  • leaving objects inside of patients
  • inadequate post-surgery care
  • failure to explain risks and provide the opportunity for informed consent

Surgeon's Botched Procedures Caused Catastrophic Injuries and Death

The relationship between patient and medical professional was tested by a surgeon who committed gross negligence over the course of a few months in Texas. A former surgeon, Christopher Duntsch, is accused of knowingly botching at least 15 surgeries. As a result, multiple patients died and several were seriously injured.
Christopher Duntsch, aka Dr. Death (photo from D Magazine)

Christopher Duntsch Was Known as Dr. Death After Botched Surgeries

Almost like a story from Hollywood, former neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch “intentionally, knowingly and recklessly” botched the procedures of numerous patients. According to his own emails, he committed these negligent acts because he was “ready to leave the love and kindness and goodness and patience [behind]...and become a cold-blooded killer.” One of his victims, Jeffrey Glidewell, and his wife are suing the former Dallas neurosurgeon. Their complaint stems from a 2013 surgery that left Glidewell with breathing difficulties and trouble swallowing or eating after Duntsch damaged his esophagus with an improper surgical technique. According to a police affidavit, Duntsch's errors were so egregious that medical forced him to stop operating. Duntsch also left a surgical sponge in Glidewell's body, which got infected. In addition to Glidewell, Duntsch has also been accused of one wrongful death and four injuries in Dallas. However, there are more charges stemming from the death of another former patient and the injuries of 10 others. Duntsch was later convicted of these and other crimes and sentenced to life in prison. All four hospitals that he worked at currently have civil cases pending against them. This is an extreme example of one bad surgeon, but that doesn't mean that all other surgical errors are not as detrimental. Of course, in most cases, the doctor doesn't intentionally hurt the patient, but the patients are still injured. If have reason to believe that your botched surgery constitutes medical malpractice, you should familiarize yourself with the basis for many medical malpractice claims.

Typical Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Involve Failure to Diagnose

In many cases, medical malpractice never goes as far as it did in the Duntsch claims. In fact, a large portion of the time, medical malpractice occurs before the patient ever enters the operating room. Forty percent of all medical malpractice claims are comprised of failures to diagnose an illness, or an illness or issue being misdiagnosed as another illness. Recent medical advancements in disease detection and treatment mean that the failure to diagnose a medical condition could most certainly impact the result of treatment or whether treatment will be an option. A failure to diagnose can occur in many ways. For example, it can occur via improper conducting of a physical examination, failing to perform regular screenings in high-risk patients, misinterpreting test results, missing potential indications of a problem, failing to order appropriate tests when they are indicated, or failing to refer a patient. Commonly, medical providers fail to document a differential diagnosis at the first visit in more than 80% of misdiagnosis cases.

Consequences of Failure to Diagnose and Misdiagnosis

Regardless of the cause of a failure to diagnose or misdiagnose, innocent people can suffer very serious harm as a result. For example, they may suffer medical complications, the need for more expensive or aggressive treatments, permanent bodily injury, decreased survival rates, shortened life spans, or death. The most common conditions that providers fail to diagnose include: According to the Journal of Patient Safety, preventable medical mistakes kill approximately 440,000 people in U.S. hospitals each year. As a result, preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer. NBC reports that "Wrong doses, undetected tumors, objects left behind in patients' bodies, and missed or late diagnosis are just some of the errors that are an “everyday occurrence” in the medical community. The Journal of Patient Safety goes as far as to characterize patient harm as "an epidemic". If you have been harmed by an act of medical malpractice, such as a provider's failure to make a diagnosis, you may have the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Frequently Asked Questions about Medical Malpractice

Isn't a Botched Surgery Obviously the Hospital or Doctor's Fault?

Sometimes the surgeries can be easily prevented, such as the case when surgeons leave behind medical instruments and tools or when they operate on the wrong side of the body. However, it's not always this clear-cut. Sometimes, illnesses or complications arise months later that was caused by a botched surgery. However, these examples are a lot harder to prove than finding a surgical sponge left in your body. A medical malpractice attorney can help you sift through medical records and engage medical experts to determine liability.

Do You Need an Expert Witness to Prove a Medical Malpractice Claim?

In complex cases involving technical errors or distinctions, a valid expert may be needed to explain how the surgery was due to a doctor's negligence. Oftentimes, these expert witnesses will be master surgeons who can clearly see and articulate how negligence was involved in an injury. These expert witnesses are often critical to medical malpractice cases.

How Do You Get Access to Medical Records?

You can gain access to medical records regarding your botched surgery or procedure by having a court issue a subpoena. A judge will review the case for credibility and then issue a court order to the medical facility to release the information.

Why Should I Choose Dolman Law Group to Represent Me?

It's vital that victims of medical malpractice ensure that their legal rights are sheltered by retaining an advocate who has a history of success litigating medical malpractice claims. Dolman Law Group has a long record of obtaining outstanding results for our clients, allowing them to repay medical debts and lost wages, and restore their peace of mind. Our team of legal experts put our injured clients at the center of everything we do. We will keep in close communication with you as we navigate the personal injury claims process and negotiate with the insurance company. As medical malpractice attorneys, we are quite familiar with the strategies insurance companies employ to undermine legitimate claims and reduce the hit to their profits, and we won't allow them to take advantage of you. Floridians trust the medical malpractice lawyers of Dolman Law Group to handle their most sensitive and complex medical malpractice claims, and so do other personal injury law firms. We often take on complex cases that were referred to us, which provides further evidence of our resources and expertise.

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Florida Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

People who have been injured by the negligence of a medical practitioner are regularly entitled to substantial monetary compensation. In many cases, the financial and logistical difficulties associated with medical malpractice injuries can be tremendously serious. Dolman Law Group is prepared to assist you with these burdens by negotiating maximum compensation for your claim. As medical malpractice lawyers with over a decade of experience, we are familiar with Florida laws surrounding medical malpractice and the technical side of negotiating a complex medical claim. We also have trial experience that is beneficial when stubborn insurance companies refuse to offer a fair settlement in negotiations. The personal injury attorneys of the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are accomplished medical malpractice lawyers who know how to acquire the compensation our clients deserve. To schedule a free consultation with our medical malpractice attorneys, call Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at (727) 451-6900 or complete this online contact form. You can also get your questions answered by clicking the Live Chat button in the bottom right corner of this page. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 727-451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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