Based on the type of surgery performed on a patient, surgeons are required to position their body to have a full range of the operative field when performing a procedure. Unfortunately, improper positioning or not protecting the body of the patient during surgery can lead to significant injury that could include nerve or muscular damage and pain.
For each type of surgical procedure, the body is placed in a specific position or a variation of positions to have access to the area undergoing the surgery. While nursing staff in preparation of the surgical procedure usually positions the body, it is the duty of the surgeon and/or the anesthesiologist to ensure the patient’s body is placed in the correct position to avoid damaging or stretching nerves. Any surgical positioning injury can create long-term or short-term health issues for the patient.
The Importance of Proper Positioning Before, During and After a Surgical Procedure
It is the role of the surgical team to prepare every patient undergoing surgery. Proper placement is a crucial component to a successful surgery by ensuring:
- Every member on the surgical team is provided a clear, unobstructed view of the patient’s surgical site
- The surgeon has the best access to perform the procedure
- The anesthesiologist is provided the best position to administer drugs optimally
- The positioning can minimize bleeding prior to, during and after the completion of the surgery
- Correct positioning prevents or reduces the potential risk of nerve related injuries and pressure on the area
- Correct positioning prevents or diminishes the potential of respiratory issues, especially those that are anesthesia-associated
- Correct positioning reduces or prevents the potential of causing circulatory issues
To ensure the most optimal position that minimizes the surgical positioning injuries, the surgeons and anesthesiologist need to consider numerous factors including the weight, height and age of the patient. Additionally, the patient’s nutritional status, required anesthesia and the type and duration of the scheduled surgery needs to be considered along with any physical or medical conditions that could directly affect the outcome.
Any pre-existing medical condition or medical history of the patient can also be a significant factor that could directly affect the surgery’s success. Any patients suffering circulatory issues, diabetes or other medical condition might require surgery padding or tools. The doctor can place the body in a variety of positions that include:
- Supine (lying on the back)
- Lateral (lying on either side)
- Prone (lying face down)
- Fowlers Position (seated)
- Knees to Chest Position
- Lithotomy (a supine position with legs elevated in stirrups)
- Trendelenburg Position (in supine position with the head positioned lower than feet)
- Reverse Trendelenburg (in supine position with feet are positioned higher than the head)
- Kraske Position (lying face down placed in jackknife position)
While any type of medical procedure including surgeries is risky, any error made by the surgical team in positioning the body can be the result of medical malpractice. It is the responsibility of the surgeon, anesthesiologist and others on the team to carefully assess any potential risk involved in the procedure. It is the duty of the medical staff to ensure that the body is placed in the best position possible to minimize a surgical positioning injury.
In fact, the medical team must adhere to a reasonable standard of care. When that care is neglected or ignored, the patient might become exposed to harm through unnecessary risk that could cause significant health issues in the future. If the patient is suffering from a surgical positioning injury, they can file a medical malpractice lawsuit to seek financial compensation from all parties responsible for the injury.
Hiring a Lawyer When a Positioning Error Injuries a Person During Surgery
If you believe you are suffering a surgical positioning injury or other medical error, you likely have the right to file a claim or lawsuit for recompense. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have experience in handling surgical positioning injury medical malpractice cases. We fight aggressively to ensure that all parties responsible for your injuries are held accountable. This includes filing a claim or suit against the hospital, medical facility, doctors, surgeons, nurses or other health care providers.
Call our law office is at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free evaluation of your case. We can assess your claim and provide numerous legal options to help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve.