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Surgical Errors: When to Sue for an Injury

Surgical Negligence

Surgeons are some of the most respected members of society. They are the elite among physicians. Their knowledge, ability, skill, and expertise save people from pain, misery, and death. When you agree to undergo surgery, you expect the procedure to make you whole and healthy again.


To be sure, all surgery involves risk. The very act of surgery causes trauma to the body. The body was not made to be cut open and worked on and exposed to the open air for long periods of time. Surgeons have all kinds of methods and tools to minimize the negative impact of such procedures, but they cannot always anticipate how an individual will respond. For this reason, everyone who undergoes surgery must sign a form acknowledging that they understand the risks.


However, an unforeseeable reaction to a surgery is not the same as a preventable mistake. If you have been the victim of a surgical error, then you should build up a case and sue.


The first thing you must do is contact an OKC medical malpractice lawyer. Before you file a claim, you must have a legal strategy, or at least the beginnings of a legal strategy, in place. The moment you file suit the insurance company of the respondent will try to undermine your claim or have it dismissed. Having legal counsel will allow you to stand firm and pursue the justice you deserve.


A surgical error can lead to a range of long-term physical, mental, and material problems. A surgeon who has been negligent, reckless, and inattentive should be held accountable. An OKC medical malpractice lawyer will help you establish your claim for compensation.


Surgical malpractice suits must be grounded in facts. They must be based on concrete mistakes and errors made by the surgeon. Here are some of the most common types of surgical malpractice:


Improper sterilization


Surgeons must re-use much of their equipment. They are required to thoroughly sterilize each item before they begin work. Clamps, incisors, knives, and other devices that have not been properly sterilized can cause the spread of infection and disease. Surgical teams have specific protocols and guidelines to make sure they are operating with equipment that has been sterilized. The surgeon is ultimately responsible for enforcing these rules.


Poor planning


Your surgeon should know exactly how they will carry out the procedure. They should know each step they will take, the tools they will need, the orders to the surgical team they will give, and the specific movements and actions they will perform while you are on the table. Such thorough planning is the only way to ensure that each surgery turns out the way it should. Anything short of this is negligence.


Alcohol usage or fatigue


A surgeon must be clear-headed and physically alert while performing a procedure. They must get plenty of rest the day before the operation, and their system should also be completely free of alcohol. If a surgeon is unexpectedly called to do an emergency procedure and has had even a single drink, they are obliged to turn the work over to a colleague.


Anesthesia errors


An anesthesiologist is an important member of a surgical team. If a patient must be put to sleep during surgery, it is the job of the anesthesiologist to administer the drugs that will have this effect and to monitor the vital signs of the patient while they are under. The anesthesiologist must have a full and complete understanding of the patient’s medical history and the current state of health before the surgery. Even with all of this information, some anesthesiologists get it wrong and cause long-term health problems.


Incorrect incisions and damage to nearby organs


A surgeon must not only have knowledge of the procedure they are to perform; they must also possess the skill to execute. Not everyone has the physical dexterity to be a surgeon. Unsteady hands and imperfect eyesight can lead to an incorrect incision and damage to nearby organs. Surgeons should know their physical limitations. You, as a patient, should not have to suffer for them.


Failure to remove the surgical gauze


This is one of the most common surgical errors in existence. In an alarming number of cases, a surgical team will do everything to perfection during the actual surgery; and then when closing up, they will leave the gauze they used to control bleeding inside the patient. This inevitably leads to infection and further pain and suffering, as the patient has to be cut open again to remove the bloody gauze.


These are just some of the many errors that surgeons make. If you have had to suffer because of one or more of them, then you have adequate grounds for launching a suit. However, you may be reticent to pursue the claim. You may be concerned about the cost of litigating a surgical malpractice suit. This is a legitimate worry. The costs of such lawsuits can run as high as $30,000. In most instances, the surgical malpractice lawyer you hire will arrange it so that they get a percentage of the eventual judgment. Indeed, most such lawyers will not even take the case unless they know they can win it.


Medical malpractice lawyers are specialized in their field. They are trained to gather the facts, introduce eyewitness and expert testimony, and bring the relevant parts of the law to bear on the case.


Here are some of the actions your lawyer will take to get you justice:


Gathering facts


One of the first things your lawyer will do is file a motion to get copies of all medical records, surgeon notebooks, and other documentation related to your treatment. They will also investigate each member of the surgical team that carried out the procedure. If the surgeon has been sued in the past for making mistakes, your lawyer will find out and use it to build a case against them. Your lawyer will also examine the exact conditions of the operating room and the equipment that was used.


Eyewitness and expert testimony


Your lawyer will interview everyone associated with the surgery. There may be members of the surgical team who spotted an error but were ignored when they tried to point it out. They are the kind of people who want to do the right thing, and your lawyer will know how to get them to make a statement that brings the truth to light. Your lawyer will also get testimony from other surgeons who can explain to a jury what went wrong during your procedure and why it was preventable.


The Law


In the end, you have to prove that an error took place, that the mistake owed to a failure to deliver an acceptable standard of care, and that the error has caused you pain and suffering. Your lawyer will be able to put a case together that proves all of these things.


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