Surgical Errors Are a Leading Cause of Medical Negligence
Posted By Tara Worthley
A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association and discussed in The New York Times raised the concern that hospitals may be profiting from their own errors, because patients need longer stays and more care to treat preventable surgical complications. When a preventable error harms a patient, this can lead to additional medical expenses, pain, suffering, permanent injury—and may lead to a medical-negligence claim. For instance, a surgery on the wrong part of the body, surgery on the wrong patient, leaving instruments in the body, surgery negligently resulting in damage to internal organs, injuries to nerves, or excessive blood loss are all examples of types of potential surgical errors. Sometimes, healthcare providers unnecessarily perform surgery on patients who do not need surgery or fail to advise patients when safer alternatives exist.
Negligence can also occur outside the operating room—which might happen during preparation, monitoring, medication, recovery, and follow-up, just to name a few. Maybe a healthcare provider ignores signs, symptoms, or test results of a patient before or after surgery. This kind of lapse could result in the patient having a dangerous injury, such as perforation, pulmonary embolism, leak, or sepsis.
Another circumstance where negligence often occurs is through medication errors during surgery, such as administering anesthesia, failing to properly monitor the patient, or giving too much medication. Failure to properly calculate medication dosage, administering the wrong medication, or too much or too little medication can be negligent. Monitoring is a critical aspect of patient care. Medical-device errors, such as those with hardware, ventilators, stents, and pacemakers, may lead to injury as well.
As you can see, medical malpractice can take many forms. The commonality among all medical-negligence claims is the healthcare provider’s violation of the standard of care, which, in turn, causes harm to the patient. This standard is important, because when a healthcare provider is negligent but does not cause demonstrable harm to the patient, medical malpractice law in Indiana does not allow a patient to recover damages. It is impossible to list all forms of medical negligence. However, the surgical and medication errors described above are all examples of negligence that might lead to a lawsuit.
If you suspect that your injury is due to an error, consider consulting with a medical-negligence lawyer. Pursuing a claim can be a complex and involved process. The attorneys of Langer and Langer have handled all kinds of medical malpractice claims throughout the entire state of Indiana. Feel free to contact our offices, if you have further questions about medical malpractice under Indiana law.