Laparoscopic surgery is an extremely popular option for people who need to undergo the removal of their gallbladders. Due to being consistently advertised as a less invasive procedure with quicker recovery times than traditional methods, over 90% of cholecystectomies are performed laparoscopically. People are often led to believe that minimally invasive means low risk, however, and may become injured due to surgical errors, complications associated with the procedure or the use of unsterile or defective equipment. The Chicago gallbladder surgery error attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help you recover the compensation that you are entitled to if you have been injured due to surgical error or any other form of medical malpractice.
Gallbladder Removal is the Most Common Surgical Procedure
The gallbladder is responsible for storing extra bile produced by the liver, which is used for the breakdown of fats in the digestive process. It is extremely common for stones to form in the bile, which can be extremely painful and require surgical means of removal. Rather than risk the formation of more stones in the future, surgeons will often suggest removing the gallbladder entirely. Traditional gallbladder removal surgeries involved opening the abdominal cavity, but they did not come without risk.
All surgical procedures expose patients to the risk of wound contamination, which can result from the introduction of bacteria, viruses and parasites into the wound through the surgical incision. Larger incisions require longer recovery periods as well, which is why laparoscopic surgery has become such a popular option. During a laparoscopic procedure, a series of smaller cuts are made and surgical devices are inserted into these entry points which carry cameras and the cutting tools surgeons need to both see inside of the body and to remove the gallbladder.
The Risks Associated with Gallbladder Removal are Not Always Communicated
It is the duty of a physician to communicate effectively with patients so that they are able to make educated and informed decisions regarding their own care. Many people are never offered alternative treatment options or told what could happen if or when something does not go as planned. Some of the most common risks that need to be considered include the following.
- Infection — despite the most vigilant and careful efforts made by surgeons during and following operations, it is possible for the wound to become infected and for the bacteria to spread. Precautionary measures to prevent the spread of infection need to be taken and patients should be monitored and followed up with during their recovery just to make sure there are no signs of a developing infection. It is the delay in treatment that makes infections so devastating, which is why early detection and treatment is the best way to combat the risk.
- Internal bleeding — it is possible for surgeons to make incisions by accident in the wrong locations or to not properly repair a cut made to an internal organ. When this happens normally, it is quickly noticed and addressed before the procedure is concluded. Internal bleeding can result when it is not properly addressed or noticed before the patient is sent into recovery.
- Bowel perforation — the small intestine is located close enough to the gallbladder that it may become perforated during the procedure. Failure to resolve this concern can result in numerous injuries, including the spread of infection, organ failure, extreme pain and the leakage of waste and toxins into the abdomen.
- Cutting the bile duct — the bile duct is the route through which bile makes its way from the liver into the small intestine. If this duct is lacerated, bile can leak into the abdominal cavity, where it can damage the abdominal organs and cause other serious harm.
- Anesthesia errors — every effort needs to be taken to review patients’ medical histories and health factors before determining what forms and amount of anesthesia needs to be administered for the procedure. An overdose can easily result in serious organ damage or death while not administering enough may cause the patient to come out of sedation prematurely. The attending anesthesiologist is tasked with observing the patient and taking vitals regularly to ensure that everything is coming along as it should.
- Defective equipment — the tools that surgeons use during laparoscopic procedures may fail, resulting in injury to the patient during the procedure. When this occurs, the equipment manufacturer may also be held liable for the injury.
- Inexperienced surgeon — while even the most experienced surgeons are capable of making errors, it is often those that are undergoing training through fellowship programs who are prone to the most errors. Since these inexperienced surgeons are usually accompanied by a more experienced mentor, it is the duty of the more experienced physician to make sure that any errors are noticed and repaired in a prompt manner.
One of the greatest complaints many people have about medical care today is that they often feel they are uninformed or issued false promises or hopes. Doctors need to be upfront about the risks patients face so that they can prepare for them and make decisions with more confidence. When things go wrong, doctors are expected to also be accountable for their mistakes and rightfully so when considering how well paid surgeons tend to be.
Reasons for Malpractice Extend Beyond Error or Intent
Our Chicago gallbladder surgery error lawyers remind clients that there is a clear distinction between an unintended error and medical malpractice. In order to prove malpractice, you need to be able to make a case for a breach of duty of care. This means that credible experts need to be able to scrutinize the actions of the doctor in question and assert that his or her actions were not in line with what another person with the same credentials in the same situation would have done.
The most common reasons we’ve found for medical malpractice include the following.
- Failure to notice an error. Most surgical errors can be repaired with minor incident and while the patient may need to go through a longer recovery period, there are few complications. The failure to correct an error can result in serious injury however, and force doctors to order emergency surgery to repair the damage.
- Failure to communicate. This includes communication between doctors as well as with patients. Whenever a patient is undergoing a surgical procedure, a team of healthcare professionals is involved. This team includes the surgeon’s staff, the patient’s primary care physician and any other specialists who are assisting with the operation. Many errors are the simple result of communication errors. Either the doctors fail to communicate with each other, or they don’t communicate properly with the patient before or after the surgery.
- Failure to follow up. The time immediately after a surgery is pivotal to the recovery process, but further follow up needs to take place after the patient has left postop. This follow up is important in determining whether the patient is experiencing any complications and is critical in regards to involving patients in their recoveries through education and advice.
There are many ways things can go wrong during surgeries, which is why doctors need to stop pushing procedures as low risk when they are not. All operations carry risks and patients deserve to know this before making their decisions. Even when the patients are aware of the risks, doctors must be accountable when things go unexpectedly and provide fair compensation for the patient’s injuries.
Our Proficient Gallbladder Surgery Error Lawyers Can Maximize Your Recovery of Damages
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers specializes in representing the needs and interests of those who have been injured. Our medical law team has many years of experience and a track record of success when it comes to ensuring our clients receive fair compensation for their injuries. We can help you recover damages for your medical costs, lost wages, out of pocket expenses and pain and suffering.
Contact us today to arrange a free consultation with one of our award winning Chicago gallbladder surgery error attorneys so that we can collect the information we need to evaluate your case and review your legal options with you. We will answer any questions you have and make sure you know exactly what you can expect from the legal process and from us as your representatives. Since we work on a contingency basis, you are also assured that our services will be free of charge unless we are able to successfully recover compensation on your behalf.