Medical Malpractice Surgical Errors in Boca Raton
When it comes to our healthcare, surgical errors can be one of the greatest causes of alarm. It’s far worse, though when you have actually experienced it. Prior to surgery, we have been asked to place our trust in the doctor, along with their medical staff members who will be assisting in your surgery. We make the assumption that their many years of education and experience make them eminently qualified to conduct your surgery without making any mistakes. However, that is not always the case and medical malpractice surgical errors do occur in Boca Raton and other cities in Florida. Unfortunately, this occurs more times than we would like to imagine.
This doesn’t necessarily indicate that the surgeon and staff are not qualified to correctly perform a procedure. But, there are cases in which avoidable errors in judgement can lead to additional pain and suffering for the individual who was operated on.
If either you or a loved one has been injured due to an avoidable surgical error, or related medical care, then you should seek the advice of an attorney that specializes in Florida medical malpractice surgical error claims. An experienced attorney should be able to evaluate your claim and perform the proper research and evaluation that is needed in order to ascertain if there was, indeed surgical malpractice committed. Your attorney should consult with other board certified physicians qualified to make the proper medical evaluation after reviewing your case.
Although, each case may have a special set of circumstances, there are several general guidelines in determining a malpractice case. These guidelines include:
Surgical Malpractice was Involved
- The surgical procedure needs to have resulted in personal injury damages.
- The surgeon (or other members of the surgical team) needs to have acted in a negligent fashion (error in anesthesia, surgical tools left inside the patient, improperly sterilized instruments, etc.).
- A formal doctor-patient relationship had not been established. Therefore, general advice regarding the surgery was not given.
No Surgical Malpractice Involved
If there is a negative result after the surgery has been performed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that surgical malpractice was involved. Unfortunately, surgery can carry its own risks even when performed to the highest standard of care. If the surgical procedure was performed in accordance with accepted standards, then a surgical malpractice may not be warranted.
If a staff member didn’t actually make an error in the surgery or any other associated medical mistake, then malpractice has not been committed according to Florida law.
Some of the more common medical malpractice surgical errors may include:
Incorrect surgery performed – It may be hard to believe, but there are cases in which the surgeon has performed the wrong surgery. This can be due to an understaffed hospital and, thus, the medical staff is overwhelmed. In order to avoid this possibility, the medical staff is obligated to perform a verification of the surgery that is to be performed (”preoperative verification”). However, a case of surgical malpractice may include the staff overlooking this procedure.
Surgery performed on the incorrect body part – There have been cases in which the wrong body part was operated on. An example of this was a case in which the wrong foot was amputated!
Medical equipment wasn’t sterilized correctly – When surgical tools and equipment is not correctly sterilized, it can lead to problems, such as infection.
Errors Regarding Anesthesia – Another serious error is one in which anesthesia is incorrectly administered. Having the wrong dose of anesthesia given can lead to the patient’s bodily functions becoming depressed. This may lead to the brain being deprived of oxygen. The result of this can be brain damage or even death may occur. Another frightening error in anesthesia can lead to the patient becoming aware during the surgery and thus feeling the pain of the procedure without being able to tell the surgical team what is happening.
Nerve or Organ Damage – If the surgeon incorrectly handles the scalpel that they are using, a tendon or nerve may unexpectedly be severed. This can lead to serious consequences, which may include life-long disability and pain for the surgical patient.
Surgical Tools Left Inside a Patient – Another problem can occur when various surgical implements (tools, sponges, etc.) are left inside the surgery patient. The surgical team is obligated to correctly count all items that were used in the surgery ensure that they were removed. Leaving them in may cause internal damage, blockages or death.
There are times in which a surgically implanted medical device creates injurious complications. Should this occur, the device manufacturer may be the one at fault. Although there are risks that are normally associated with surgical procedures, sometimes an investigation is warranted as to whether or not a particular device carries an unreasonable risk attached to it, due to a faulty design.
The laws in Florida allow you to sue surgeons, doctors, other medical personnel and hospitals in cases involving medical malpractice surgical errors. However, there is some dispute regarding what constitutes the “standard of care” that needs to be met. The reason for this lay, in part, with the fact that surgeon and medical team, perfection isn’t required by the law. This actually surprises a lot of people who assume that if a surgery is performed, then any negative outcomes should be blamed on the medical professionals. However, there are cases in which the medical professionals have injured you, yet are not held legally responsible for the injury.
What needs to be shown is that the medical professionals involved with your surgery have performed a breach of care that is attributed to reasonable medical standards. If the actions of the surgical team fall below the standard of competent and prudent medical procedures, then there may be cause for legal action in the form of a lawsuit. As mentioned previously, Florida law understands that each situation is different, therefore how a physician proceeds will depend on factors such as; their own knowledge and the equipment that is available to them. All of these things are included when evaluating the standard of care involved in a surgical procedure.
Florida law covers a number of statutes regarding standards of medical and what may constitute surgical medical malpractice. These can include:
Medical negligence is outlined in s. 766. 102 wherein the claimant must show that the alleged actions of the health care provider represented a breach of the prevailing professional standard of care for that health care provider.
s. 766, 111 states that health care providers that are licensed according to chapter 458, chapter 459, chapter 460, chapter 461, or chapter 466 are not allowed to; provide, procure, order or administer unnecessary tests for the purpose of diagnosis. These items must be in accordance with the reasonable calculation to assist the medical professional with the diagnosis of a patient’s medical condition.
s. 766. 102 also indicates that malpractice may be declared if a personal injury was not within the scope of foreseeable surgical or medical procedure results (2) (a).
When an investigation is being conducted regarding medical malpractice surgical errors, all copies of bills, films, reports and pertinent records that are related to the surgery (defined in s. 456.001) must be made available, upon request, to the parent, spouse or child who is filing the lawsuit and the lawyer who is assisting them. (3).
Surgeons and their professional staff are generally known to correctly adhere to the procedures that are set down by the medical profession regarding the safety of their patients. However, even though these various protocols exist, errors can still pop up due to contributing issues such as:
Less than adequate planning prior to the surgery – Before the surgery, the medical staff should have the patient’s entire medical history, which should include any known reactions to medication. This will assist in the evaluation of any risks that may be involved for that particular surgical procedure.
Lack of Skill or Surgical Incompetence – Before becoming a surgeon, a person must undergo years of training and evaluation. However, not all surgeons possess the necessary skill that is needed in order to perform surgical procedures at the same level of proficiency as other surgeons who are considered competent.
Surgical Tool and Instrument Neglect – This can involve the failure to properly sterilize the surgical instruments and/or using defective surgical tools. This situation may lead to septic shock, infections and various life-threatening illnesses.
Overly-Fatigued or Working Under the Influence – It’s a well-known fact that surgeons and medical staff members can work extremely long hours. They have even been known to use drugs as a way to stay awake or surgical team members have practiced while intoxicated. This can result in their judgment being impaired.
Other contributing factors can include a lack of communication between the surgeon and other staff members. In some cases, a surgeon may be informed sufficiently regarding the details of the patient that is being operated on. They also may not be aware of all the medications that the patient is taking or a potential reaction to a particular drug. In addition, there are cases in which a surgical team miscommunication has resulted in surgical sponges being left inside the patient.
If you have become a victim of a medical malpractice surgical error in Boca Raton, these are the steps that are suggested:
Obtain assistance as soon as you can. Remember – your highest priority is your health. If severe pain is present then you should seek medical help immediately.
Request all of your medical records. Then make sure that you keep all the information regarding your surgical case in one location. This includes all of your medical bills. This can become exceptionally important later on. When it comes to your doctor appointments, you will want to keep a journal that includes what your physician told you and your response to any treatment. Remember that patient records can either be changed or lost. So, keep your own records of your surgical results and subsequent care.
Seek the advice of a medical malpractice personal injury attorney. Remember, not all medical problems constitute medical malpractice. This is why an experienced attorney can give you an assessment of your situation and inform you as to whether or not you may have a surgical malpractice case.
You also need to be aware that the Statute of Limitations for a surgical malpractice case, in the state of Florida, is two years from the date of the actual malpractice occurrence or if undiscovered, then two years from when the incident was discovered or should have been discovered. Therefore, you should seek the advice of a personal injury attorney as soon as possible, once you suspect that surgical malpractice has been committed.
If you are the unfortunate victim of medical malpractice involving surgical errors in Boca Raton seek immediate proper care and contact a Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Discuss Your Case with a Medical Malpractice Surgical Errors Personal Injury Attorney Serving Palm Beach Today! If you or a loved one is injured in due to surgical errors in Boca Raton, or any location in Florida, turn to Frankl & Kominsky for comprehensive legal guidance. Call (561) 800-8000 or use our Contact Form to set up a free consultation.