Medical professionals are expected to perform their duties without causing additional harm to patients who already require medical attention. All surgical procedures require extreme care and caution, and any surgeon who fails in their duty to do no harm may be guilty of medical malpractice for their surgical errors. We believe that any surgeon in Springfield, Mo., or the surrounding areas should treat their patients with the utmost care and take every precaution when operating on them.
There are a wide range of possible surgical errors that can negatively affect a patient, and the offending parties need to be held accountable. Every patient, every surgery, and every procedure is different, so surgical errors take many forms. Some of the common causes for mistakes in surgery include:
- Poor preoperative planning – The surgeon and team of assistants must properly prepare for any surgical procedure. This includes obtaining a thorough understanding of the patient’s medical background, any medical conditions that might complicate the surgery, and ensuring that all the required devices, equipment, instruments, and medications are available for use when needed.
- Poor communication – The surgical team must work well together and communicate before and throughout the entire procedure. Any miscommunication about anesthesia dosages or which instruments will be necessary for the surgery could have severe ramifications and endanger the patient’s life or wellbeing.
- Incompetence – Surgeons must not be overconfident about their skills or experience with a particular procedure. Most people would be surprised to hear that many surgeons have attempted serious procedures without any practical experience in that particular surgery. An overly optimistic or inexperienced surgeon can severely harm a patient.
- Fatigue – Medical professionals work in one of the most stressful industries in the world and literally hold people’s lives in their hands. They often work incredibly long hours without breaks, and tired people are far more likely to make mistakes.
- Incorrect procedures – Forgetting a step during a surgery is extremely serious and can have fatal consequences. Surgeons must never assume that approved steps are superfluous and must follow proper procedures for every surgery.
- Surgery under the influence – The stress of the medical profession turns some surgeons to alcohol or illicit drugs to cope, and although it may be difficult for most people to accept, surgeons sometimes do enter the operating room under the influence.
- Neglect – Carelessness has no place in the surgical process. A surgeon who fails to sterilize instruments before a procedure may cause an infection in the patient. They must ensure that their equipment and tools are free of defects and inspect them thoroughly before using them.
Surgical errors include damage to the surrounding tissues or other organs and nerves near the surgical site as well as performing the wrong procedure on the wrong patient. If someone has suffered any type of surgical error, they may be able to sue for compensation.
A surgical error may result in more surgeries after the initial botched procedure, ongoing treatments, permanent disabilities from anesthesia errors, or the death of the patient. Whatever the case may be, the victims and their families should know their rights and when they should find legal counsel.
The attorneys of Douglas, Haun & Heidemann have extensive experience with personal injury and medical malpractice laws, and we believe that surgeons need to perform their duties safely, competently, thoroughly, and within the scope of their skills. They need to be held responsible for any negligent errors they make, and if you’ve suffered from a surgical error in Springfield or the state of Missouri, our team of legal experts can help. Reach out to us with any questions about surgical errors, or to start reviewing your case.