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What Do Surgeons Say When They Mess Up?

Jeff Varcadipane

March 11, 2024

A John Hopkins report over an 8 year-period revealed more than 250,000 deaths per year due to medical errors. This makes medical malpractice one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

Despite the high prevalence of medical mistakes, healthcare providers often aggressively defend against malpractice claims and deny liability for patient harm. Patients bringing medical malpractice claims often have an uphill battle, and they need the right legal representation.

This is especially true in the event of a surgical error. It can be difficult to prove that surgical errors were the result of malpractice instead of being a simple mistake, which the surgeon will likely claim.

If you suffered injuries during surgery and believe you might have a claim, discuss your options with a New Jersey medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, healthcare provider, hospital, or health facility fails to care for someone according to acceptable standards of the medical profession, resulting in an injury, illness, or worsening of the patient’s condition.

Examples of healthcare providers who might commit medical malpractice include:

  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • Radiologists
  • Surgeons
  • Anesthesiologists

An injured victim has a right to compensation if a healthcare professional provided medical services below the acceptable level of care, resulting in an injury. Proving that an error constituted malpractice can be challenging and requires expert medical analysis.

Elements of Medical Malpractice

If you believe you’re a victim of medical malpractice, the burden of proof lies with you. You must, therefore, establish the following elements to prove a medical malpractice case and obtain compensation:

  • You were under the care of a healthcare provider or physician
  • The medical provider breached their duty of care by failing to do what a qualified physician would have done in a similar position
  • As a result, you suffered an injury, illness, or worsened condition for their failure to treat you adequately
  • You suffered losses as a result of the harm, including medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering

Surgical Malpractice

One common form of medical malpractice involves surgical errors, which can happen during any type of surgical procedure, whether minor or major. Although surgeons have a high level of training, they often commit mistakes, leading to serious harm to patients.

Examples of surgical malpractice include:

  • Failing to obtain informed consent from a patient
  • Not properly reviewing a patient’s medical file prior to a procedure
  • Operating on the wrong side of the body or the wrong body part
  • Removing a healthy organ or tissue
  • Performing a surgical operation on the wrong patient
  • Leaving surgical instruments in a patient’s body
  • Operating while fatigued or impaired
  • Improper sanitation by the surgeon or surgical team
  • Allowing untrained surgical team members to participate in a procedure
  • Improper post-operative care or monitoring

These errors can cause serious harm to patients, often requiring significant additional medical care, including possible subsequent surgeries and extended hospital stays. Some surgical errors are fatal.

How Do Surgeons React to Mistakes?

One study found that many surgeons do not even apologize to patients or make any admission at all when they make a surgical error. This is because they fear admitting liability for the purposes of a possible medical malpractice claim. This often leaves patients feeling alone and abandoned by their medical team when they are facing severe and costly injuries at the hands of their surgeon.

What a Surgeon Should Do in Case of a Surgical Error?

When a surgeon makes mistakes during surgery or any other medical procedure and is aware of what they’ve done, they are legally obliged to disclose the error to you or a family member. It is unlawful for healthcare providers to conceal information that may impact your health and well-being.

A surgeon should take the following steps if they make a mistake during an operation:

  • Notify the patient about the error immediately
  • Explain the nature of the error to your or a family member
  • Assume responsibility for the mistake
  • Take immediate remedial measures and inform the patients about their alternatives

Get in Touch With an Experienced New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorney to Discover Your Options

If your child sustains a birth injury, they may endure lifelong complications. Unfortunately, you may also have to cope with hefty medical bills, loss of companionship, and a reduced quality of life.

You deserve representation from a reputable attorney from Varcadipane & Pinnisi, P.C., a trusted law firm with over 40 years of combined experience.

Contact us online or at (201) 588-1500 for a free consultation.

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