Errors in Surgery

Lewis and Tompkins is a Washington, D.C. based injury law firm. We are always ready to help those who have been injured due to the negligence or incompetence of someone else, and that includes those who have been injured due to medical malpractice or surgical errors. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the actions of a medical professional, we can help you. Contact our offices for a free legal consultation today.

Any surgical procedure, no matter how minor, contains some level of risk. There can be a bad reaction to anesthesia, there can be clotting, there can be complications in the healing process, there could be infections, or there could be cardiovascular problems. Anytime you go into the hospital to have a surgical procedure they make sure that you are informed of this.

But what the surgeons don’t tell you to worry about is an error on their part. And why would they? No surgeon wants to bring attention to the fact that the odds of a mistake on his part is much greater than the odds of the surgery going bad due to an infection, a bad reaction to the seizure, or any of the other disclaimers that they bring out before have your procedure done.

Believe it or not, errors on the part of a surgeon happen more often than people think. Thousands of people a year are hurt due to errors or negligence on the part of their surgeons. What follows are some of the more common causes of surgical errors.

Failure to Plan Properly: A human being is not a Toyota or a vacuum cleaner. While we all have the same parts that keep us alive and breathing, each human being carries with him or her real differences in their biology. Some of us might have various allergies. Some of us might have pre-existing conditions. It is the responsibility of the doctors and attending surgeons to take a serious look at every aspect of the patients medical history before putting him or her on the operating table. They should examine medical history, family history, and whether or not the patient smokes or drinks. Failure to do so could result in catastrophic events, and the operating table is no place for a surgeon to “find out” something about the patient.

Procedural Error: It is a critical time when a patient is on the operating table. Most of the time his body is laid open, and his insides are being poked, prodded and cut. Aside from that, there is also the fact that you are being kept asleep by an anesthesiologist, who does much more than simply give you some gas to knock you out. He constantly has to monitor the amount of gas that you are bring given, and any error on his or her part could cause brain damage, asphyxia, organ damage or death. The surgeon himself might have unsterile equipment, or might damage an organ, or might cut the wrong artery or organ. There is also what is called “wrong site” surgery, which can happen when the surgeon operates on the wrong limb, organ, or wrong part of the body. It sounds like a joke, but between sixty or seventy wrong site surgeries happen every year.

Post-Operative Negligence: There is more to your care than the surgery. A body needs a great deal of time and care to recover from any invasive procedure. Aftercare that is negligent can lead to shock, infection, or delayed healing.

Tools or Sponges Left in the Body Cavity: Again, this sound like something you would see in a movie, but rest assured this sort of thing happens a great deal in real life. Sponges, clamps, and even scissors are left in the body cavity after an operation, sometimes for years.

At Lewis and Tompkins, we certainly don’t believe that every doctor out there is incompetent. We don’t think that simply having necessary surgery is the equivalent of taking your life in your hands. But we do know that mistakes happen all the time, and many of them are of the easily preventable variety.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical malpractice, contact Lewis and Tompkins for a free legal consultation today.

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