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Surgical Errors

Rhode Island Surgical Errors Attorneys

When you commit to a surgical procedure, you want a high level of trust in your surgeon and their medical team. You want to feel certain that they will do everything possible to avoid complications that could have an enormous impact on you and your loved ones.

Sometimes, however, surgical teams make mistakes that can lead to severe injury and even death.

Surgical errors could include removing the wrong organ, leaving instruments inside a patient, or errors in anesthesia. These can cause major medical issues requiring intensive treatment, and you should not have to pay for any of those costs out of your own pocket. Instead, consider filing a claim against the medical professionals who let this happen to you.

If you or a loved one suffers from a surgical error, which is a type of medical malpractice, you may be able to recover compensation for what happened. Reach out to our Rhode Island medical malpractice attorneys at Crowe & Harris, LLP for a free consultation so we can assist you in getting the award you deserve. With more than 100 combined years of experience, our lawyers are ready to work with you on your case.

Contact us today at (617) 404-3417 to begin the process of getting the money you need to move forward with your life.

Common Types of Errors That Can Happen in Surgery

Even though surgeons now have incredible technology at their fingertips, errors can and do still happen. Surgeons are still human, and when they make mistakes, it can devastate the lives of patients in their care.

Common types of errors that can happen in surgery or shortly thereafter include:

  • Errors in Anesthesia – Anesthesiologists must measure out what dosage to give a surgical patient. This is to ensure the patient doesn’t receive a dangerous overdose of medication and doesn’t wake up during surgery. If you receive too much anesthesia, it can impede your circulation and reduce the amount of oxygen flowing through your body. Waking up during surgery can be painful, scary, and leave you with post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Leaving Instruments Inside Patients – Medical laws require surgical teams to meticulously count and keep track of all the materials used during your surgery, including towels, sponges, and more. This usually helps them avoid this issue, yet many medical professionals end up leaving a sponge or other surgical instrument inside you. This can cause pain and lead to other undesirable complications.
  • Failing to Follow Procedure – Surgeries always have a procedure to follow so that all medical professionals understand their duties at any given time. If the procedure is not followed, surgeons could make a mistake, such as operating on the wrong knee or doing the wrong surgery on a patient. These can have lifelong consequences for the patient. If a mistake like this is made, the entire team could be held liable.
  • Organ Damage or Nerve Damage – A surgeon needs to have steady hands and hold a scalpel firmly. Even the slightest tremble of the hands or flick of a scalpel can lead to damage of a vital organ or the severing of a nerve.
  • Neglecting Post-Operative Patients – After surgery, patients need lots of care and monitoring. Without that post-op care, patients may have a very long recovery period. Surgeons and nurses should be following up with you frequently once you’re out of the operating room. If your post-op care is neglected, it could lead to complications, and in some cases, death.
  • Causing Post-Surgery Infection – A negligent staff could end up causing an infection post-surgery. They may not properly sanitize equipment and that could lead to an antibiotic-resistant infection, such as MRSA. If you contract some type of infection after surgery, the hospital staff may be to blame.

No matter what type of surgical error you suffer from, you should not have to bear the burden of the cost. Consider filing a medical malpractice claim so that you can get the compensation you need to try and get back to your life as soon as possible.

Reasons Surgical Errors May Occur

Most of the time, surgical errors occur because the medical staff is in some way negligent about an aspect of your treatment. Other times, mistakes happen because they just do not follow the accepted standard of care. That negligence could lead to a traumatic event that causes you or your loved one to suffer.

Reasons that surgical staff may neglect their duties can include:

  • Unorganized Staff – Miscommunication and lack of planning among a surgical staff can create an environment prone to surgical errors. A surgical team should have its communication strategy mapped out and should be able to work together seamlessly.
  • Poorly Trained Surgeons – When a surgeon is poorly trained or inexperienced, then they may not know how to handle unexpected situations in the operating room. Their inexperience could cost someone their life. Additionally, they may try to go into the surgery without a plan. If that happens, they will not be prepared for every situation.
  • Improper Sterilization Techniques – Each surgical instrument should be properly cleaned and sterilized before every single procedure. If this doesn’t happen, it can drastically increase the chance of infection or other complications.
  • Operating Under the Influence – It should not happen, but just like driving under the influence, sometimes surgeons pick up a scalpel while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Their judgment is impeded and they could commit a grave error in this case.
  • Operating While Tired – Being exhausted is another cause of surgical mistakes. Surgeons, especially ones in their residency, are often overworked and very tired. When we are sleepy, we can miss things or try to rush through something.

In other words, errors can often be avoided if surgical teams communicate with each other, receive proper training, and know to always follow proper procedures before and after surgery. While some errors are clear results of malpractice or negligence, others are not. A Rhode Island surgical malpractice lawyer can help you with your case and determine what steps should be taken.

How a Lawyer May Help With Your Surgical Malpractice Case

Even if your case seems like a clear case of negligence, it’s still better to have a lawyer at your side. They will negotiate a settlement for you and speak to the hospital, surgical team, insurance companies, and any other involved entities. This leaves you and your loved ones to focus on your recovery instead of stressing over the case.

Our attorneys will also work on proving the negligence for you, which means they will be collecting evidence such as medical records, witness statements, and more. Proving negligence on the part of the surgical team is key to winning your case, as errors can sometimes just happen as a result of surrounding circumstances.

In Rhode Island, our statute of limitations for medical malpractice is three years from the date of the malpractice or three years from when you discovered the error. In cases where a surgical instrument was left inside a patient, then the statute may be extended. Rhode Island also has some other laws regarding malpractice cases and procedure that can get confusing unless you know the law really well, so an attorney can help with navigating that complexity for you and will also ensure that your case is filed properly and on time so that you’re eligible to collect compensation.

How You May Be Compensated for a Surgical Error

When filing the malpractice claim, there are different types of compensation that you can file for. Types of compensation you could put in your claim include:

  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Earnings
  • Wrongful Death
  • Pain and Suffering

Contact a Surgical Malpractice Attorney Today To Start a Free Consultation

At Crowe & Harris, LLP , we know how stressful it is to deal with the unexpected costs and frustration from a surgical error. We want to help you, not add to your stress. That’s why our team works on a contingency-fee-basis. That means we do not charge you a dime until we win your case. At that point, we take an agreed-upon percentage. If you don’t win, then we don’t charge you. There are no obligations in contacting our attorneys, as we provide free initial consultations where we will go over what happened to you and tell you what to expect when working with a Rhode Island surgical malpractice lawyer.

Contact our attorneys today at (617) 404-3417 to get this process started. We’re here to help you get the compensation you need and deserve.


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