There are always health risks associated with surgery, including risks from anesthesia, blood loss, and the risk that the surgery will be unsuccessful and need to be repeated. However, most surgical risks are outweighed by the benefits. However, when doctors commit unnecessary errors or cause injuries during surgery, the outcomes can be catastrophic.
If you or a loved one was injured because of surgical errors or if a loved one passed away because of surgical malpractice, call the Houston surgical error injury and death attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm today. Our attorneys can set up a free consultation to go over your case to help you understand if you have a claim and how much your case might be worth. To schedule your free consultation, call us today at (817) 476-1797.
Types of Surgical Errors and Mistakes
Even when surgery goes as planned, you may have swelling, inflammation, blood loss, post-operative pain, and a risk of infection. These are standard complications that occur in any surgery – and are expected in many surgeries. When you undergo surgery, doctors should warn you of these risks. This is called “informed consent,” and it is a vital part of discussing surgical options with a patient. Many of these issues are excused because they were standard risks associated with the procedure and because you knew about them ahead of time.
Other issues caused by your doctor’s negligence, carelessness, or outright mistakes are a different story. Hundreds of injuries and deaths are caused every year because of avoidable mistakes on the operating table.
Many surgical errors occur because of mistakes in handling surgical tools or performing the operation. This could include issues where a doctor cuts too deep or too carelessly, potentially severing nerves or nicking blood vessels. Serious damage to a nerve can cause permanent injury, numbness, pain, and paralysis. A nicked vein or artery can cause substantial blood loss.
If the doctor does not appropriately manage the operating room during your procedure, foreign objects could be left inside the surgical site. Sometimes, surgical mesh, stitches, stents, staples, or sutures are intentionally left inside to help you heal. However, mistakes may lead to objects such as scalpels, forceps, clamps, gauze, and surgical sponges being left inside. These mistakes are difficult to detect later and may be the cause of long-term pain, discomfort, and illness.
Other surgical errors might occur because the doctor does not have the proper skills or training to accomplish the procedure. Complications that should not surprise an experienced physician may catch a negligent doctor off guard, leading to further harm if they cannot control the situation.
Many other errors are caused by mistakes with anesthesia or mishandling of the unconscious patient. Improper anesthesia usage could lead the patient to feel the surgery, wake up during surgery, or never wake up from surgery. Mistakes in positioning the patient could lead to numbness in the limbs or permanent nerve damage.
Proving Surgical Mistake Lawsuits in Texas
To prove that your injuries or a loved one’s death were caused by something more than normal complications, you must show that the doctor failed to use the proper care or skill expected of them in performing the procedure. Doctors are held to a “standard of care” based on what a reasonable physician should do in the given situation. If it is reasonable for the complication to occur, it may not be your doctor’s fault – but if a reasonable physician should have avoided the mistake, they may be liable for any harms their error caused.
Typically, injured patients must provide a medical expert during their trial to prove the medical mistakes. This expert is typically another physician with similar training and experience to the doctor in your case. They can testify as to what the standard of care is, and how your doctor’s care fell below that standard. The jury is permitted to take their testimony as fact when deciding your case.
You must prove your case “by a preponderance of the evidence.” This means that you must show it is more likely than not that your doctor was negligent to get the compensation you deserve. This is lower than a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, and it is attainable in many cases.
Compensation for Surgical Errors
The compensation you can claim in a medical malpractice or surgical error case depends heavily on the harms you suffered. In cases where additional medical care is required to repair the doctor’s mistakes, the full cost of that healthcare should be covered. Moreover, if the injuries cause you to miss work or suffer permanent disabilities, compensation should be available for your lost wages.
Damages for pain and suffering are typically available for medical negligence cases as well. These damages pay you back directly for the physical pain and mental/emotional suffering the injuries caused you. Your attorney can help you understand what your pain and suffering might be worth.
Wrongful death lawsuits filed by the surviving family of a deceased patient often involve substantial damages. Payments for the deceased’s lost wages, lost inheritances, lost investments, lost household duties, lost companionship, lost spousal duties, funeral expenses, and burial expenses are available in many cases, but your attorney can help you calculate the full damages you are entitled to in your case.
Call Our Houston Surgical Malpractice Victim Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one was injured during surgery or suffered from complications your doctor should have been able to avoid, call The Queenan Law Firm. Our lawyers can discuss your options for filing for compensation and getting the damages you deserve for additional medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to your injury. If your loved one was killed by negligent medical mistakes, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. For your free legal consultation, call us today at (817) 476-1797.