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Winnebago County medical malpractice lawyersWhether it is a minor surgical procedure or a major operation, going “under the knife” can be a frightening prospect. Most surgeries performed in the United States are completed without mistakes or complications, but this is not always the case. In fact, Medical errors are so common that they are considered to be the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. today. Preventable mistakes during surgery make up a large portion of these errors. It is estimated that over 4,000 surgical mistakes occur every year and that these mistakes result in more than $1.3 billion in medical malpractice payouts. If you or a loved one have suffered due to a surgical error, you may be entitled to compensation.

Why Do Surgical Errors Occur?

Surgeons, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals often have extremely busy, stressful days. Few would dispute that working in the healthcare industry is one of the most challenging jobs there is. Sometimes, however, the stress and long hours can create serious problems, as some surgical mistakes are a result of oversight caused by fatigue. Others are due to lack of proper education or training, inadequate preoperative planning, or poor communication between medical staff. In rare cases, a surgical mistake may even be the result of a healthcare worker’s drug or alcohol use. Whatever the reason, medical workers who make negligent mistakes during surgery should be held responsible for their actions.

Common Mistakes During Surgery

It is estimated that every week in the U.S, there are 39 instances of medical staff leaving objects such as sponges and medical instruments inside of a patients’ bodies. Approximately 20 times a week, surgeons perform surgery on the wrong body part. Other surgical errors that are disturbingly common include anesthesia errors, prescription medication errors, inadequate sterilization, use of defective surgical equipment, and the use of incorrect surgical techniques. Doctors and surgeons have a legal duty to provide medical care that is reasonably competent, and mistakes like these are generally inexcusable. When a medical professional breaches this duty, the medical facility or the professional himself  may be found liable for the damages that result.

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Rockford surgical malpractice attorneysGetting surgery is already foreboding enough. The thought that a surgeon or other medical professional could make a dangerous or even deadly mistake during surgery is especially frightening. Unfortunately, surgical mistakes do happen. When a person is injured because a negligent surgeon or other medical staff member makes an avoidable mistake, the injured person may be left with devastating and often painful consequences. Some surgical errors result in the death of the patient. When medical malpractice results in a patients’ death, the surviving family of the deceased person may choose to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the practitioner or facility.

Surgical Mistakes Happen at Alarming Frequency

Studies have shown that outrageous surgical mistakes are made at very disturbingly high rates. One study showed that in an average week in the United States, surgeons:

  • Perform the wrong surgical procedure on a patient 20 times.
  • Leave an object such as a towel, surgical sponge, or medical tool inside of a patient’s body 39 times.
  • Operate on the wrong part of the body 20 times.

On average, over 4,000 preventable errors happen during surgery every year in the U.S. These mistakes result in more than one billion dollars in medical malpractice payouts to the injured patients or families of deceased patients. Other common surgical errors which can be detrimental to a patient’s health include incorrect operating plans or techniques, anesthesia errors, post-surgical infections, and c-section mistakes that lead to birth injuries. A victim of a major surgical error could be left with loss of the use of his or her limbs, brain damage, serious infections, and severe pain and suffering.

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Winnebago County medical malpractice lawyersThe medical advances our society has achieved in the last few decades have allowed people to overcome injuries and illnesses that would have certainly been fatal in the past. Many of these advancements involve invasive surgical procedures. Getting surgery almost always involves certain risks, but some of these risks are avoidable and completely unacceptable. When an avoidable surgical error is made during an operation, the results can be catastrophic. Surgeons, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals can be held legally responsible when these types of medical mistakes result in the death or injury of a patient. 

Understanding When a Medical Professional Has Committed Medical Negligence

Sometimes problems and complications occur during surgery due to no fault of the medical staff conducting the operation. Just because a surgical procedure fails to produce the desired result does not mean medical negligence has occurred. Generally, medical negligence is defined as when substandard medical care leads to some type of harm to the patient.

Some surgical errors are so preventable that they are called “never events” meaning that these particular mistakes should never happen. Never events include mistakes like leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient's body, performing surgery on the wrong body part, and performing the wrong surgical procedure on a patient. These types of mistakes often lead to medical malpractice claims. 

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