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When Surgical Errors Are Considered Medical Malpractice

Surgery is a major undertaking whether it’s performed as an emergency, an in-patient procedure, or in an outpatient setting. Surgeons, nurses, and other medical staff are required to follow a duty of care to avoid injuries. Also, there are laws in place that require medical staff to inform patients about surgical procedures and the risks involved. However, healthcare providers can still be negligent when treating their patients. When surgical errors result in harm, injured patients and their families may have the right to take legal action.

Medical Malpractice: Explained

Medical Malpractice lawsuits seek accountability for injuries or a death that occurred because a healthcare provider did not meet the standard of care. While the definition varies depending on the patient’s condition and medical history, “standard of care” is a provider’s duty to act within certain professional standards and in a manner that any reasonably skilled, careful, and knowledgeable healthcare provider would.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Due to a Surgical Error

To succeed with a medical malpractice claim, the injured party or their family must prove:

  • The healthcare provider owed the patient a duty of care
  • The provider breached that duty due to their negligence or medical error
  • The healthcare provider’s negligence or error caused the plaintiff’s injury, and
  • The plaintiff suffered actual damages because of the negligence or errors.

While every case is different, the plaintiff must show that their surgeon or the medical team provided substandard care – that they did not act in a manner that a reasonably skilled and careful provider would – and because of that substandard care, the plaintiff suffered injuries. Often, medical malpractice attorneys will work with medical experts who will discuss the standards of care and explain how the healthcare provider deviated from those standards.

Examples of Medical Malpractice Cases Over a Surgical Error

There are many different types of surgical procedures and each comes with its own risks. Determining whether the healthcare provider acted negligently requires a specific, individual review of the patient’s case. Examples of surgical errors that can give rise to a medical malpractice claim include:

  • Failing to accurately interpret lab results
  • Lab mistakes
  • Failing to properly diagnose, or misdiagnosing
  • Anesthesia errors and medication errors
  • Performing surgery on the incorrect site
  • Incorrect surgical procedure
  • Failure to identify or properly respond to complications
  • Emergency room errors
  • Leaving medical instruments or other objects behind
  • Post-operative infections
  • Administrative mistakes

Medical providers can also face a medical malpractice lawsuit over failure to properly inform patients and obtain the patient’s informed consent. Under California law, providers must speak with their patients and advise them about their medical condition, treatment options, and the associated risks. Providers must also obtain a patient’s informed consent for the surgery they intend to perform. If a provider fails to adequately inform a patient about the procedure or does not obtain the patient’s consent, the provider may face legal action for negligence, unauthorized treatment, or medical battery.

What Can You Recover in a Surgical Error Malpractice Claim?

Surgical errors or negligence can result in serious, long-term repercussions. The victims of medical malpractice have a legal right to recover damages they incurred because of their injuries. In surgical medical malpractice cases, plaintiffs typically can sue for hospital expenses, physical pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, lost income, future medical expenses, and other related damages.

Contact Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured because of improper surgical care, it is important to take the right steps to protect your interests and hold the at-fault party responsible. Do not hesitate to contact the award-winning medical malpractice team at Bostwick & Peterson.

Bostwick & Peterson, LLP is known nationally for our work in complex medical malpractice cases, including claims against providers who commit devastating mistakes during surgery. Our lawyers have decades of experience and have recovered more than $1 billion for our clients across the state of California.

If you have a potential surgical error lawsuit, our San Francisco attorneys at Bostwick & Peterson are available to discuss your matter during a FREE and confidential consultation. To schedule a consultation, call (888) 831-8448 or use our online contact form.