While surgeries today are less invasive and more successful than they were in the past, it’s not uncommon for complications to arise—even in the most routine procedures. Gallbladder removal is a popular option for those who suffer from frequent abdominal pain or digestion issues. Laparoscopic surgery, which is the procedure used for the majority of gallbladder removals, generally offers an easier and faster recovery process than traditional methods. Unfortunately, surgical errors and other complications can turn a routine procedure into a nightmare for any unsuspecting patient.
When a physician makes a preventable mistake that harms a patient, there may be grounds for a personal injury claim. The Albuquerque gallbladder malpractice lawyers from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm represent New Mexico residents who have been harmed after an operation. If you believe you fall into that category, we can look into your situation and help you determine how best to proceed to maximize your chances of making a full recovery.
How the Gallbladder Works
The gallbladder is located directly under the liver. This organ is important because it stores and concentrates bile from the liver. That bile is released into the first sections of the small intestine, so bodies can break down and absorb fats from food. The liver produces 27 to 34 fluid ounces of bile every single day, so it is constantly working and aiding in digestion. To get to the gallbladder, the bile is secreted by the liver into small canals that lead to the common bile duct. That duct branches off and leads to the gallbladder.
While a person does not need their gallbladder to live, problems can arise if the organ stops working properly. When that happens, surgery may be recommended or required.
Problems with the Gallbladder
There are situations where problems with the gallbladder develop, and the organ needs to be removed—the official name for which is a cholecystectomy. This is not uncommon. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), nearly 300,000 cholecystectomies are performed annually. Medical problems and conditions that lead to removal include:
- Cholecystitis. This is the inflammation of the gallbladder. In most cases it’s the result of gallstones blocking the tube leading out of the organ. Other causes include bile duct problems, tumors, and certain infections. If left untreated, life-threatening complications like a bladder rupture can occur.
- Symptomatic Cholelithiasis. Cholelithiasis is the medical term for gallstones. These are hard, crystal-like lumps that form out of bile. If there is excess cholesterol or pigments in the bile, the gallstones develop inside the gallbladder. In many situations, a person could have them without experiencing any symptoms. When there’s pain or vomiting, however, there may be a problem. If the pain is chronic, doctors consider surgery to remove the organ.
- Biliary Dyskinesia. This condition develops when the gallbladder retains bile. Abdominal pain, poor appetite, nausea, and vomiting are common.
- Gallstone Pancreatitis. Pancreatitis causes inflammation and pain in your pancreas. If a gallstone is blocking the pancreatic duct, it’s considered gallstone pancreatitis. While not eating or drinking for a few days in a monitored hospital setting can fix the problem in some cases, severe cases may require gallbladder removal.
- Gallbladder Polyps. These are growths that protrude from the lining of the inside of the gallbladder. In most cases, they are not cancerous. When they are, however, the normal course of action is to remove the organ.
If you’ve been diagnosed with one of the conditions above and suffered complications after having your gallbladder removed, medical malpractice could be the cause. Let’s take a look at some warning signs of malpractice.
Gallbladder Surgery Mistakes and Complications
While a normal gallbladder surgery is likely to result in minor short-term complications like stomach cramping and difficulty digesting fatty foods, patients should not experience severe nausea, fever, or pain. There may also be cause for concern if your surgeon tells you you’re going to need corrective surgery, or if you haven’t been scheduled for any post-operative checkups.
If you’re experiencing abnormal complications and believe negligence played a role, there are a number of potential mistakes the surgeon could have made. The most common error is when the surgeon clips or cuts the bile duct instead of the cystic duct. To reconstruct the patient’s anatomy, complicated and potentially painful surgery is often needed. Complications can also arise if anesthesia is improperly dosed.
Regardless of the mistake that caused your injury, it’s likely it was preventable, significantly depleted your health, and is the basis of a medical malpractice claim.
Determining Gallbladder Malpractice Claim Eligibility
If you’re uncertain as to whether or not negligence played a role in your injury, it’s best to get in touch with a lawyer. With a free case evaluation from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm, an attorney can go over the details of your case and determine if a medical error caused the injuries you’ve sustained. If you’ve experienced abnormal pain, additional surgeries, or unclear recovery information, it’s likely malpractice is present.
Determining liability is typically harder than recognizing signs of malpractice. This is because of the number of people involved in any one surgery. The liable party could be a surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurse, or the hospital itself. The type and degree of your injury, along with a medical expert’s opinion, can help us determine whose negligence harmed you.
Once we’ve proven malpractice, determined who harmed you, and connected the harm to your losses, we can work on calculating the compensation you’re owed.
Work with an Experienced Albuquerque Legal Team
Our Albuquerque gallbladder malpractice lawyers have years of experience representing surgical error victims. We recognize the challenges that come with being injured by a physician—a significant portion of which typically revolves around bills and finances. That’s why we dedicate our work to helping injured gallbladder surgery patients recover compensation for their losses.
While monetary awards vary from case to case, it’s likely you could be eligible for economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages cover your medical expenses, lost wages, the future cost of care, and other calculable losses. We’ll also look into the noneconomic losses you’ve experienced, like pain and suffering. Our attorneys will be sure to have the evidence needed to support the compensation you’re seeking.
Filing any personal injury claim takes time, so it’s best to seek legal representation as soon as possible after realizing you’ve been injured. Once we have some basic information from you, we can begin investigating what you’ve been through and determining what you’ve lost as a result. To get started on securing your future, contact us today.