Surgical Errors: Injuring Patients at their Most Vulnerable

July 27, 2017 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Surgical Errors: Injuring Patients at their Most Vulnerable

Surgical errors are unacceptable in any context. Patients who are operated on are generally completely unaware of what is happening and have put their physical well-being completely in the hands of the medical professionals providing treatment. Whether you are going in for a routine elective surgical procedure or emergency surgery, the medical professionals involved in your procedure have a duty to perform your surgery in a way that does not put you at an unreasonable risk of harm. Unfortunately, this does not always occur, and every year a substantial number of innocent victims are injured by the negligence of medical professionals while undergoing a surgical procedure.

Surgical errors very often entitle victims to significant compensation under Florida law, and examples of the damages that are often available in these kinds of cases include those for additional medical expenses, lost income, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life, just to name a few. To discuss your surgical error case with one of our lawyers, call the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today at (727) 472-3909 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Examples of Surgical Errors that Can Cause Serious Injury

Here are some of the more common forms of surgical errors that can result in extremely serious injury

Wrong-Site Surgery Shockingly, wrong-site surgery is one of the most common types of surgical errors that occur. These consequences of these kinds of errors can be devastating, especially in cases in which the procedure is irreversible, as is the case with an amputation.

Operating on the wrong patient – Another surgical error that can leave victims with extremely serious injuries is operating on the wrong patient. When these errors occur, a patient can wake up from surgery to learn that his or her body has been permanently altered unnecessarily and that he or she still needs to undergo another medical procedure to correct the issue that should have corrected the first time. As a result, when medical professionals perform a surgical procedure on the wrong patient, victims are often entitled to substantial compensation for their losses.

Leaving Surgical Instruments Inside of a Patient's Body While it may seem like the stuff of nightmares, every year surgical patients wake up and eventually discover that the surgeon or some other medical professional involved in their procedure left something in their body and then closed their incision. The items left behind can be sponges, forceps, clamps or other items, and even when they are discovered in a timely manner can result in serious complications for patients.

Nerve Damage - Sometimes, nerves are damaged during surgery because of medical malpractice. Typically, there are two ways that this can occur: when a surgeon fails to identify a nerve and damaged it during surgery, or when a patient is positioned during a procedure in such a way as to result in nerves losing blood supply and sustaining damage. When nerves are damaged, it can result in a number of serious issues, including loss of feeling, sensations of pins and needles, pain, muscle weakness, or even paralysis.

What Causes Surgical Errors?

Surgical errors can occur for any number of reasons. When they are the result of a medical professional's negligence, however, victims are legally entitled to compensation for the losses they sustain as a result of the error. Some of the more common causes of serious surgical errors include the following:

  • Incompetence and lack of training
  • Insufficient planning
  • Incorrect diagnosis
  • Fatigue
  • Miscommunication in the operating room
  • Failure to monitor vital signs
  • Inadequate pre-operative procedures

What are the Consequences of Surgical Errors?

It is important to understand that many surgical errors can have lifelong consequences for victims. For example, in the case of an amputation of a limb that was performed in error, the person affected would likely require rehabilitative care and expensive prosthetics for the rest of his or her life. In addition, an individual who went through an experience as traumatic as the unnecessary loss of a limb would likely experience significant emotional pain and suffering, perhaps to the extent that he or she would need psychological treatment or ongoing therapy.

Even in cases that are less extreme than a surgical amputation performed in error, victims often require additional medical treatment that can have a significant financial and personal cost. Here are some of the more common adverse consequences for patients who have been injured by surgical errors:

  • Physical pain
  • Hospitalization
  • Rehabilitative care
  • Additional surgeries
  • Infections
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lost income
  • Stress
  • Missing out on important events
  • Loss of quality of life

Do You Need a Surgical Error Attorney in St. Petersburg to Recover Compensation?

Many people who are injured by the negligence of medical professionals are quickly offered a settlement by the insurance company, leaving them to wonder whether they need to retain an attorney in order to recover for their losses. If you find yourself in this situation, you should understand that insurance companies always try and settle cases for as little as possible, and any settlement you accept should compensate you for both your economic and noneconomic losses, as well as for your future losses – all of which can be difficult to calculate. For this reason, it is important for victims to retain an attorney familiar with Florida medical malpractice litigation, as failing to do so could result in accepting a settlement that is far less than your case is actually worth.

Call a St. Petersburg Medical Malpractice Law Firm Today to Discuss Your Case

When you agree to undergo a surgical procedure, you rightfully expect that the people responsible for your well-being and recovery do their jobs with the utmost care and professionalism. If you were injured while you were undergoing a surgical procedure or otherwise receiving medical care, it is important for you to retain legal representation as soon as you can. Generally speaking, these kinds of events do not occur in the absence of negligence, which means that victims can usually recover significant compensation for their losses. To schedule a free consultation with one of our St. Petersburg medical malpractice attorneys, call our office today at (727) 472-3909 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 1663 1st Ave S. St. Petersburg, FL 33712 (727) 472-3909


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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