Going into surgery for a major operation is frightening enough: You shouldn’t have to worry about facing life-threatening injuries because of a surgeon’s negligence, too. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that over 4,000 preventable surgical errors happen every year in the United States, costing up to $1.3 billion in medical malpractice lawsuits annually.
When a surgeon has failed to perform the basic procedures of care, you have the right to take legal action and cover your medical costs, as long as you file within three years after the date of injury or one year after you discover. Aside from your pain and emotional trauma, you could be facing a lifetime of medical treatments and therapies, and need extended time away from the workplace. Let our experienced medical malpractice team at McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP advocate for your needs, and give you the best possible chance of obtaining fair compensation.
To speak with one of our dedicated attorneys today, call (909) 345-8110 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Top Causes of Surgical Negligence
From horrifying surgical “never events” to using unsanitary instruments, there are many possible causes for a surgical error in the operating room. Although surgeons rarely intend to do patient harm, they are still human – and capable of failing to protect your health and future. In other professions, this wouldn’t necessarily translate to legal liability. However, because medical professionals hold the lives of their patients in their hands, they have a powerful “duty of care” to protect them from undue danger.
When surgeons violate this duty of care, it can result in errors like:
- “Never events,” such as foreign objects left behind. It may seem impossible, but surgeons can and do leave foreign objects behind in the body cavity of patients. Whether this is a small sponge or a larger medical instrument, it can cause you to develop a serious infection, or suffer from other dangerous complications post-surgery.
- Wrong-site surgery. If there is a lack of proper communication at the hospital, an inattentive surgeon may accidentally operate on the wrong site. In these cases, you may need to undergo a second surgery and put your life at risk again – or even suffer damage to another part of your body.
- Cutting nerves during surgery. Surgeons are trained to avoid nerve tissue, as damage to these fragile areas can result in lifelong disability or loss of feeling. If you experience ongoing numbness or lack of sensation after your procedure, it’s possible the surgeon was not careful around these areas.
- Poorly-sanitized instruments. Sanitization is critical to protecting patients from harm. When your surgeon uses poorly-sanitized surgical instruments, it can put you at risk for life-threatening bloodstream infections and even septic shock.
- Incorrect doses of anesthetic. Anesthesiologists are supposed to prevent patients from feeling pain or waking up early during major surgeries. If the incorrect dose was applied – whether too little or too much – the results can be devastating.
- Lacerations to organs. Surgical instruments can help heal and repair, but they are also dangerous in the wrong hands. Inexperienced or reckless surgeons may accidentally cut the wrong organs or tissues, leading to perforations and leakage.
Understanding Surgeon Liability in Malpractice Claims
No matter what specific surgical error you’ve endured, you can seek out financial recovery for the injuries that followed. In the state of California, there are no caps on recovery for economic damages such as lost wages, medical bills, and other quantifiable metrics. However, there is a $250,000 cap on pain and suffering damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Our Ontario-based legal team at McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP has the experience and the ability to investigate your claim, and build a winning case strategy on your behalf. With decades of combined experience and over $1 billion won for our clients, we will go above and beyond to pursue justice after a surgical error has affected your life.
Contact us at (909) 345-8110 immediately if you think that a surgical error may have caused your injuries. We take cases in California and around the country.