Common Types of Medical Malpractice Involving Surgery

The medical industry in the United States is increasingly specialized.  Long gone are the days the family doctor delivers a baby, treats a broken bone or performs a surgery.  With the prevalence of medical groups forming to establish a direct line of care from family doctors to specialists such as podiatrists, otolaryngologists (ENT’s), orthopedists and more, patients and their families are increasingly forced to instantly place their trust in doctors they just met and about which they know little!  The referrals from family doctors are, in the minds of patients, based upon professional judgment.  However, some referrals are simply a business decision based on what is financially advantageous to a medical group!  In many instances, this leaves the patient and their families dealing with unqualified or neglectful doctors just because of a common employment in a medical group. 

Never is this more concerning than when dealing with surgeons.  While some surgeries such as knee replacements or rotator cuff replacements can be researched, vetted and scheduled, other surgeries – including emergency procedures following trauma – require immediate care that leaves the patient with little choice.  Studies show that nearly 200,000,000 (Yes Million!) surgeries occur each year globally.  While the actual number of surgical malpractice instances are unknown, nearly 20,000 malpractice lawsuits are filed against surgeons each year.  We do know that on average, nearly 25% of all malpractice cases involved errors and mistakes during surgery.  General surgeons – yes the surgeons we are given during emergent traumas – have the highest incidence of malpractice with a shocking 63% of them having actually been named in a medical malpractice lawsuit! 

Medical malpractice during surgery can leave patients and their families dealing with severe injuries and complications – including those that can require long term care or even result in death.  Surgical malpractice is not limited to the operating room – many egregious mistakes occur before and after a surgical procedure with errors caused by malpractice of nurses, other staff members and even the hospital or surgical center.  

Common types of surgical malpractice include:

  • Improper administration anesthesia such as the failure to monitor a patient and prescribing the incorrect medication or dosage
  • Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosing a condition
  • Leaving surgical equipment inside the patient, including sponges, towels, or clamps
  • Failing to identify pre-existing conditions that complicate surgery 
  • Failing to monitor patients for infections and complications after surgery
  • Performing the wrong surgery or performing surgery on the wrong site
  • Unnecessary surgical procedures
  • Improperly sterilized rooms, instruments, and machines
  • Severing or puncturing an internal organ or artery
  • Surgeon fatigue
  • Surgeon under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Guiding Your Path to Justice

In many instances, our trust in our surgeon extends to treatment even after poor outcomes.  Regardless of how experienced or qualified your surgeon might be, if you or your family suspect you have been injured by medical malpractice during surgery,  please consider allowing the attorneys at the Feagans Law Group to Guide Your Path to Justice.