Surgical malpractice is one of the most common types of preventable medical error, with approximately 80 surgical “never events” – those errors that should never happen – occurring every week. According to research conducted by Johns Hopkins University, surgical “never events” happen at least 4,000 times a year in the United States and more than 80,000 “never events” occurred between 1990 and 2010. Common types of surgical “never events” include: instruments unintentionally left behind in the patient, wrong procedure performed, wrong surgical site, and surgery performed on the wrong patient. In addition to surgical never events, there are a number of other reasons that surgical malpractice can occur, including anesthesiology errors, infection, miscommunication among medical staff, hospital negligence, and doctor negligence. The following are some questions that patients can ask prior to surgery to help minimize the risk of surgical error:
- Is the surgery necessary? According to some estimates, $700 billion is spent on unnecessary tests and treatments each year. Not only are unnecessary procedures costly, but they can also expose patients to additional medical risks. For instance, CT scans may increase a person’s lifetime risk of cancer and the dyes from CT scans and MRIs can cause kidney failure. It is important that patients know whether a procedure is necessary and the risks involved with the procedure before agreeing to it. Patients can help minimize the risk of an unnecessary surgical procedure by seeking a second opinion.
- Are the medical devices safe? Medical device recalls happen on a daily basis. While some medical device recalls are relatively easy to fix by correcting the problem or returning the product, in some cases the harm caused by a defective medical device can be catastrophic or even deadly. Before surgery, you should ask whether the medical device has been proven to be effective and if there are any reports regarding side effects. After the surgery, if you suspect that your medical device has failed or you have been injured by a medical device, you should consult with a healthcare professional and contact a medical device lawyer.
- What are the surgeon’s qualifications? Patients should inquire about the surgeon’s education and training, including how many procedures of this type he or she has performed, the success rate, whehther there have ever been any complications, and methods of communicate after the surgery.
If you suspect that you were the victim of surgical malpractice, you should consult with a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. You may be able to recover money damages for the injuries, including past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future income, household services, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent disability, and disfigurement. If you were the victim of medical error, The medical malpractice attorneys at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are committed to helping the victims of medical malpractice obtain money damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, permanent disability, disfigurement, and emotional distress. Contact our office at (312) 445-9084 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about a possible medical malpractice lawsuit. Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.