The trust we instill in a physician and his or her medical team when we undergo a surgical procedure is really beyond compare. We literally are placing our lives in their hands. While there is never a guarantee in any medical procedure, when physicians adhere to trusted technique, the incidence of medical errors– such as surgical mistakes– can be significantly reduced.
Deviation from Good Medical Practice
While surgeons are not responsible for all complications or “bad outcomes,” surgeons are responsible for resulting injury and death when their errors are considered to be “deviations from the standard of care” — in other words, when they fail to act as a reasonable physician.
Distinguishing a Poor Outcome From a Medical Mistake
As experienced surgical error lawyers in Chicago, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help make sense of your situation and can distinguish between mistakes that are unavoidable and those that are the result of improper care.
The following conditions merit further investigation and may be attributable to errors made by the surgeon or a member of the surgical team:
- Organs cut or punctured that were not involved in the procedure
- Fractured bones with unknown origin
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Leaving behind surgical instruments
- Anesthesia errors
- Burns of unknown origin
- Severe post-operative infection
‘Surgical Errors are ‘Never Events’- Medical Errors That Simply Should Not Happen
Unfortunately, some errors occur that are considered “never events”, meaning that they mistakes that should never happen yet they do. Wrong patient and wrong site surgeries are not just urban legend. A study in 2010 at the University of Colorado studied the cause of such events. The researchers looked at 25 wrong patient and 107 wrong site surgeries that were performed between 2002 and 2006. The study concluded the following were the causes of the misplaced surgeries:
- Judgment. Judgment came into play in 85% of the wrong site surgeries
- Communication. In 100% of the wrong patient cases, communication was cited as a cause of the error.
- Diagnosis. In over half of the wrong patient surgeries, diagnosis was listed as one of the causes for the medical mistake.
Other “never events” includes leaving a foreign object inside of a patient and performing the wrong procedure. In another study of these “never events” at John Hopkins Medicine, researchers looked at malpractice claims at found that at least 80,000 of these so-called never events happened between 1990 and 2010. According to the study, each week an average of 39 objects are left inside patients, 20 surgeries are performed on the wrong person and 20 more surgeries are performed on the wrong site. With so many “never events” happening every day in surgery, it can only be speculated on how many other medical errors are made as well during the course of a patient’s pre-operative and post-operative care.
Chicago Medical Negligence Attorneys Prosecuting Surgical Mistakes
The medical malpractice team at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is committed to fully prosecuting all cases involving surgical errors to the fullest extent of the law in Illinois or applicable jurisdiction. We offer a free consultation to advise you on your legal rights regarding a possible surgical error and we will handle your case on a contingency fee arrangement—with an attorneys’ fee only charged if there is a recovery for you.
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