Undergoing surgical treatment may be essential for saving someone’s life or restoring that person’s health in order for him or her to function comfortably both physically and emotionally. However, complications can arise due to a surgeon’s incompetence or due to some other departure or deviation from good and accepted medical care. Unfortunately, much trust is vested in professionals who are either prone to making mistakes or just happen to make one, and as a result, lives are lost every day. The National Center for Health Statistics reported that over 45 million surgeries are performed in United States hospitals annually, and in 2003 alone, over 30,000 patients died in those same hospitals due to surgical mistakes and post-operative infections. If you or a loved one was the victim of a surgical error and sustained injuries or someone close to you has died due to this type of malpractice, call the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C. for a free initial consultation regarding your legal rights to obtain full and fair compensation and damages due to your harms and losses.
Medical malpractice cases can be extremely technical and complex in terms of understanding the medical issues. Often times the malpractice insurance companies defending the physician, clinic, hospital or other medical provider will try to do whatever they can to avoid having to take responsibility to pay the claim of an injured victim and their family. You can be rest assured that when we take your case we will be prepared to do whatever needs to be done legally and utilize all necessary resources to bring about a successful resolution to your case. We are here to walk you through the legal process every step of the way.
Causes and Types of Surgical Errors
Regardless of whether a surgical error was caused by incompetence, complication, simple human error, overworked staff or poor/lack of communication, the victim still has the right to pursue compensation for his or her damages from the liable parties. Types of surgical errors include:
- Poor pre-operative planning
- Mishandling of surgical instruments perforating or cutting into internal organs, arteries and other important anatomical structures
- Misidentified patients and/or areas of the body
- Retained foreign bodies
- Incorrect procedure
- Suturing errors
- Post-surgical complications
- Anesthesia errors
- Delays in performing necessary surgery
Poor Pre-Operative Planning
Surgical errors may be traced to poor pre-operative planning or care. Prior to surgery, a doctor should fully evaluate a patient’s current health and medical history, use of medications, relevant lifestyle choices (i.e., smoking, alcohol use), and their family history. Surgeons performing elective surgery (cosmetic procedures) should also have a thorough understanding of the patient’s aesthetic goals. A surgeon should make sure that the procedure planned is safe, appropriate and in the best interest of the patient. A surgeon planning to perform the surgery should be confident and experienced enough to ensure that there is a negligible risk of surgical errors.
If you or a loved one has been injured directly due to poor pre-operative planning prior to surgery which resulted in injuries and/or damage, call the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C. for a free initial consultation regarding your legal rights in order to obtain full and fair compensation and damages due to your harms and losses.
Mishandling of Surgical Instruments
One of the ways in which we put our faith in a physician and the surgical staff when we enter surgery is that proper safety protocol will be adhered to. The instruments and tools necessary to perform surgical procedures are inherently dangerous objects that should only be handled by the most focused and skilled medical professionals. When a surgeon acts irresponsibly and fails to devote the attention necessary to the surgical procedure at hand, accidents involving surgical instruments can occur.
Depending on the type of procedure being performed, mishandling of surgical tools can bring serious consequences. Additionally, if a surgical instrument is dirty, a patient can be put at serious risk for injury or death.
An accidental cut into a vital organ, a major artery or even an unintended nick to vital tissue in the human body can have catastrophic consequences leading to permanent disability or even death. A surgical patient who is already in an extremely vulnerable condition may or may not be able to survive such an additional injury resulting from this type of surgical error or the mishandling of a surgical tool or instrument.
There are steps that surgical staffs are required to take in order to ensure the safety of their patients before, during and after every surgery. In the event of an injury sustained by a patient as a result of failing to follow these steps, the physician, surgical staff and the hospital may be held liable. These steps are as follows:
- Before Surgery: All surgical instruments must be thoroughly sterilized and sanitized either manually or through newer methods such as automatic washing and ultrasonic cleaning before their use.
- During Surgery: All surgical instruments must be used for their intended purposes and must be checked for proper functioning and cleaned at regular intervals. Equally important, a surgeon and his or her team must be competent, well trained and thoroughly familiar with using specialized instruments and tools.
- After Surgery: A surgical staff must thoroughly inspect the patient for any surgical instruments accidentally left inside a body cavity and for any signs of infection.
If you or a loved one was the victim of a surgical error due to improper use of instruments and tools utilized during surgical procedures and sustain injuries or someone close to you has died, call the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C. for a free initial consultation regarding your legal rights in order to obtain full and fair compensation and damages due to your harms and losses.
Misidentified Patients and/or Areas of the Body
Catastrophic errors have been made when patients have been misidentified or when someone has confused the right or left side of a patient’s body. Examples include operating on the wrong patient, removing the wrong kidney (leaving a cancerous kidney), transferring mismatched blood or implanting an incompatible organ. Unfortunately, notwithstanding modern technological advances, mistakes as simple as performing surgery on the wrong patient still exist (over 1,000 of these mistakes are estimated to occur every year) and have obvious and monumental consequences for the patient, which may include:
- Severe and/or chronic pain
- Worsening of an existing condition
- Removal of organs or extremities
If you or a loved one was misidentified, thereby resulting in wrongful or improper surgery or did not receive any surgery at all and there has been unnecessary injury, harm, disability or a death has resulted, call the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C. for a free initial consultation regarding your legal rights in order to obtain full and fair compensation and damages due to your harms and losses.
Retained Foreign Bodies
Anybody undergoing a surgical procedure is already concerned and worried simply because he or she is undergoing a surgical procedure. The last thing the patient wants to worry about is whether a surgeon or another member of the surgical staff could possibly leave a surgical instrument, sponge or any other kind of surgical material in their body upon the completion of the surgery.
Unfortunately, the true number of incidents of surgeons closing a patient after surgery and mistakenly leaving foreign bodies inside a patient’s body is not known. Although there have been estimates ranging from as frequently as one out of one hundred patients to one out of every five thousand patients, the fact of the matter is that it happens far too frequently and is a serious problem in the healthcare industry today.
In fact, the American College of Surgeons has issued a policy statement for the purpose of preventing the problem of leaving foreign bodies inside the surgical patients. In this statement of policy, the American College of Surgeons noted the following:
- Prevention of foreign body retention requires good communication among perioperative personnel (personnel involved with patient just before, during and after surgery – nurses, surgical technologists, anesthesia professional and surgeons) and the consistent application of reliable and standardized processes of care:
Recommendations to prevent the retention of sponges, sharps, instruments and other designated miscellaneous items include:
- Consistent application and adherence to standardized counting procedures;
- Performance of methodical wound exploration before closure of the surgical site;
- Use of x-ray detectable items in the surgical wound;
- Maintenance of optimal OR environment to allow focused performance of operative tasks;
- Employment of x-ray or other technology (E.G. radio frequency detection, bar coding) as indicated, to ensure there are no unintended items remaining in the operative field;
- Suspension of these measures as required in life threatening situations;
- Documentation of surgical item counts with notification of surgical team members of items left intentionally and of any count discrepancies;
- Surgical facilities must provide resources to ensure equipment and personnel are adequate to employ these safety measures; and
- Policies and procedures for the prevention of retained foreign bodies should be developed, reviewed periodically and revised as necessary.
Surgeons and their assistants have a duty of care to make sure that there is a protocol for the systematic and accurate accounting of all supplies and instruments before, during and after the procedure. There is no excuse that exonerates the surgical staff and the hospital from liability in the event of leaving a foreign body inside the victim who must not only suffer the physical pain of injury, but also suffer the inconvenience and expenses of a second surgery associated with fixing the damages. Unfortunately, damages resulting from a retained foreign body include but are not limited to the following:
- Organ damage
- Severe and/or chronic pain
- Bowel obstructions or perforations
- The need for additional surgery
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a foreign body or foreign object left inside as a result of surgery, please call the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C. for a free initial consultation regarding your legal rights in order to obtain full and fair compensation and damages due to your harms and losses.
Many surgical procedures provide life-saving treatment to patients who have no other options in treating a disease or alleviating pain and suffering. While many of these procedures occur without complication and provide the intended assistance, surgical mistakes take place every year, typically leaving patients in a worse state than before the surgery.
One of the most harmful surgical mistakes is performing an incorrect procedure. This can range from doing too little in a particular area to doing too much. In some cases, surgical mistakes can result in the removal of an organ, tissue or other important anatomical structures that could be damaging to that person’s livelihood or way of life. Even exploratory surgeries can end in removal of tissue, organs and other structures without the consent of the patient or the better judgment of a consulting physician.
An incorrect procedure can be incredibly dangerous and can result in the wrongful death of a patient.
The most common explanations for incorrect surgical procedures are clerical errors associated with scheduling of the procedure, lack of communication or incompetence on the part of a medical professional. In any of these cases, the error or malpractice could be prevented with reasonable attention to planning, detail and/or appropriate knowledge.
Unfortunately, many people who undergo surgical procedures are already ill or in a compromised state of health. Therefore, an incorrect surgical procedure results in further invasion to the body which can give rise to major complications jeopardizing the patient’s overall health and quality of life.
An example of a procedure performed unnecessarily is the appendectomy, or the removal of the appendix. Appendicitis is a potentially fatal condition that often generates unspecific symptoms in those who develop it, and since surgeons are wary of the great risks and possible post-surgical complications involved with surgery on a appendix that has an advanced stage of infection (sepsis, abscess, etc.), they tend to have an inclination towards intervening promptly. Due to a surgeon’s impulsiveness and negligent lack of precision in utilizing existing medical techniques for proper diagnosis, more than 9% of all pediatric appendectomies are performed on patients who had healthy appendixes.
The negligence of a surgical staff and its hospital may result in liability for damages incurred by a victim of an incorrect surgical procedure due to his or her pain and suffering, lost wages resulting from disability and unnecessary medical expenses. It is also important to note that even if the incorrect procedure does not lead to any permanent damage or lasting injuries, the victim is entitled to compensation for unnecessary pain and suffering.
Common injuries and damages resulting from an incorrect procedure may include the following:
- Insult and permanent injury to a perfectly healthy area of the body
- Organ damage
- Worsening of the primary condition
- Chronic pain
If you or a loved one was the victim of an incorrect surgical procedure resulting in injuries, complications and/or damages or someone close to you has died resulting from an incorrect procedure, call the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C. for a free initial consultation regarding your legal rights in order to obtain full and fair compensation and damages due to your harms and losses.
One of the most critical parts of surgical procedures is the closing and repair of the incision site. Without this necessary step, the area which has been opened during the operation would leave the patient susceptible to further complications, including the risk of infection. Suturing is one of the most basic procedures for medical professionals because it is so important to any type of surgery.
A suture is the material used by surgeons for the reattaching of bodily tissues either after surgery or in order to close a wound. Many modern breakthroughs have made this material and its use as effective and safe as possible. However, the improper use of sutures due to human error still exists and is a cause of serious health risks to patients. When the physician and/or surgical staff do not live up to their obligations to follow the proper safety protocol for procedures such as suturing, they are not only breaching the trust of their patients, but they may be liable for damages incurred by the victim due to such mistakes.
Some of the consequences of insufficient or improper suturing include:
- Infection at the incision site
- Reopening of wounds
- Improper healing
- Internal infection
- Unsightly and disfiguring scars
- Tissue damage
- Tearing of the sutures
If you or a loved one was the victim of improper suturing and sustained consequences, including injuries and/or damages as indicated hereinabove or someone close to you has died as a result of improper suturing, call the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C. for a free initial consultation regarding your legal rights in order to obtain full and fair compensation and damages due to your harms and losses.
Although the risks associated with undergoing a surgery itself can be daunting, perils to a patient’s health are still significant after the surgery is over. If a patient is not properly monitored and cared for after surgery ends, complications may arise that pose serious risks to a patient’s health.
Surgeons or other medical personnel may fail to recognize that the operative site has become infected or that the procedure has caused substantial bleeding or there has been a failure to adhere to other necessary procedure, protocol and/or treatment. As a patient, you are afforded the legal right to receive post-operative care at a professional standard of care which of course varies from patient to patient. However, the standard of care is always in line with how any other competently and reasonably performing medical professional will have provided post-operative care, if he or she was faced with the exact same patient and situation. In essence, a patient is owed a duty of care from medical professionals, whether surgeons, hospitals or employees involved in post-operative care, which requires a definitive level of effectiveness and competence during a patient’s treatment following surgery.
The following are some of the most common results of a failure to provide adequate post-operative care:
- Delayed healing due to lack of proper and necessary care after surgery resulting in a drastic increase in recovery time and other damage.
- Septic shock – rapidly occurs if proper post-operative care is not provided and the patient suffers from serious infection. The risks include organ failure and death.
- Infection – this can occur if a medical provider fails to provide a safe and clean environment
If you or a loved one was the victim of a failure to provide proper post-operative care and treatment resulting in post-surgical complications or someone close to you has died as a result of this type of malpractice, call the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C. for a free initial consultation regarding your legal rights in order to obtain full and fair compensation and damages due to your harms and losses.
Since the vast majority of surgical procedures would cause a significant amount of pain to patients if they were conscious, anesthesia, a type of sedating medication used to render patients virtually unconscious has become a necessary tool for surgeons. Most surgeries require the assistance of an anesthesiologist. An anesthesiologist does not perform the surgery, but instead assists in placing the patient in an unconscious or semi-conscious state. This allows a surgeon to perform a surgical procedure without the patient feeling pain or moving, thus decreasing the risk of harm or poor result.
The anesthesiologist’s job is to administer the anesthesia pre-operatively and to monitor the patient during the surgery. The anesthesiologist is also responsible to ensure that the effects of the anesthesia are only enough for the purpose of the surgery, and will wear off in a reasonable time post-operatively.
- Types of Anesthesia
Local anesthesia is used when surgery is being performed on one part of the body. Systemic toxicity may occur as a result of a local anesthesia error. This causes your breathing, blood pressure and heart rate to drop dramatically, requiring emergency stabilization.
Regional anesthesia carries many of the same risks of local anesthesia. However, the anesthesia is injected next to the nerve of the spinal cord in order to numb the region. The long-term potential side effects stemming from a regional anesthesia error include weakness, numbness and pain.
General anesthesia is considered the most risky of the three types of sedation/anesthesia due to the fact that this type of anesthesia puts a patient to sleep.
- Causes of Anesthesia Errors
Since the administration of anesthesia and the monitoring of a patient’s status is the sole responsibility of the anesthesiologist, the vast majority of anesthesia errors result from anesthesiologist negligence. Some possible forms of negligence on the part of an anesthesiologist include:
- Administration of anesthesia at the wrong time
- Incorrect intubation
- Incorrect dosage
- Unnecessarily prolonged anesthesia
- Failure to monitor effectively for complications
- Symptoms of Anesthesia Errors
Since anesthesia primarily affects the nervous and respiratory systems, an error in the administration of anesthesia can create dangerous symptoms for the victim, including:
- Restriction of oxygen supply
- Tracheal damage
- Heart attack
- Brain damage
- Loss of bodily function
Even though anesthesia errors only occur in about one out of every 250,000 surgeries, the consequences for one of these mishaps can be dire.
If you or a loved one was the victim of an anesthesia error and sustained injuries or someone close to you has died as a result of errors relating to the introduction of anesthesia, call the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C. for a free initial consultation regarding your legal rights in order to obtain full and fair compensation and damages due to your harms and losses.
Delays in Performing Necessary Surgery
In the medical profession, timeliness is a very important factor for success, let alone preventing catastrophic consequences to a patient. Some patients have conditions that progressively worsen, and in the case of surgery, would be much easier to operate on in the earlier stages of these conditions. However, some medical providers cause irreversible harm to their patients due to their delay in performing surgery for reasons such as the following:
- Clerical errors
- Patient mix-up
- Failure to timely diagnose
For example, if a patient complained of various pain and symptomology in a lower extremity which in that particular case was indicative of a blockage or an occlusion in the artery, prompt and necessary surgery might very well be required to restore adequate flow of blood and oxygen to the extremity in order to prevent catastrophic loss of the limb. In that instance, a failure to properly and/or timely diagnose the cause of the patient’s symptomology by taking all necessary and available tests and/or prompt and immediate referral to a specialist or the emergency room could very well lead to catastrophic and permanent injuries and disability if there is a delay.
Another example of a delay in performing the necessary surgery in order to prevent harm or injury to a patient could involve a failure to timely diagnose a perforation of the intestine resulting in the contamination of the blood (sepsis) which could result in death.
Obviously, there are endless fact patterns and case studies involving patients which clearly indicate prompt and definitive steps in order to ensure that surgery is perfomed on a timely basis.
If you or a loved one experienced a delay in surgery due to the malpractice of a surgeon, a hospital, a clinic or any other related medical provider and sustained injuries, complications and/or a disability or someone close to you has died due to this type of malpractice, call the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C. for a free initial consultation regarding your legal rights in order to obtain full and fair compensation and damages due to your harms and losses.
How We Can Help You
Ira Perlman and Robert Rosen have over 30 years of experience in winning their clients full and complete monetary compensation for their harms and losses as well as the respect and dignity they so justly deserve. Mr. Perlman is a tenacious and seasoned trial attorney who has been successfully trying his clients’ cases as well as cases referred to the office from other attorneys for over 30 years. Mr. Rosen, with his adept litigation and writing skills has navigated clients’ lawsuits inside and outside the courthouse in order to achieve the excellent results that generate their ongoing success. The Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C. are prepared to expend all of the necessary resources, financial or otherwise, in order to investigate and prosecute your case including retaining all necessary medical and/or technical experts in the relevant areas and fields and taking your case to verdict at trial if the insurance companies who represent the wrongdoers do not want to fully and fairly compensate you and your loved ones. If you, a family member or a loved one has become a victim due to an accident, malpractice or a serious injury and you would like to achieve optimum results relating to your claims, call the Law Offices of Ira M. Perlman, P.C. & Robert D. Rosen, P.C. at 212-689-5000 for help now including a free initial consultation.