Electing to undergo surgery is not a decision anyone makes lightly. In the event of emergency surgery, there may not be time to make a decision. No matter what the procedure, it’s likely there’s the potential for dangerous complications. In the event a complication is the result of a surgeon’s negligence, the patient has the right to file a medical malpractice claim to seek compensation for their losses. If you find yourself in a situation like that, our Midland surgical error lawyers can help.
How Common Are Surgical Errors?
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), surgical mistakes are not uncommon. It’s estimated that over 4,000 preventable mistakes are made in the operating room every year. This means that for every 112,000 surgical procedures, one patient sustains a preventable injury. This estimate only includes the operating room. The number would be higher if data took into consideration malpractice in ambulatory surgery or interventional radiology.
As a result, this costs patients more than $1.3 billion annually. Deemed as “never events,” because they should never happen, the most common surgical errors include wrong-site, wrong-procedure, and wrong-patient surgery.
It’s jarring to wake up from a medical procedure to discover you’re in worse condition than when you went in. To improve your chances of recovery and maximizing your compensation, it’s important to know what steps to take and when to contact a surgical error lawyer.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured by a Surgeon
Surgical errors can occur during preoperative care, the procedure, or postoperative care. Creating a timeline of what happened from the moment you scheduled the surgery to the time you were discharged from the hospital can help your lawyer build a claim that establishes when you were injured and why.
Some surgical mistakes are more obvious than others following a procedure. For example, you may know immediately if you underwent wrong-site surgery. This is when a surgeon performs an operation on the wrong location, like on the incorrect side of the body. If, however, the surgical team left tools inside your body, you may be unaware until you experience pain or an infection.
In regard to preoperative and postoperative mistakes, negligence occurs when you’re given the wrong medication or if the recovery plan you’re on isn’t right for the surgery you went through.
As soon as you’ve discovered you were wrongfully injured on the operating table, it’s imperative to contact a lawyer. This area of litigation is incredibly complex, so it’s best to get a claim in the works as soon as possible.
The Impact Consent Forms Have on Your Claim
Prior to any medical procedure, it’s likely you’ll need to sign lengthy consent forms. For surgery, you may sign them at a preoperative appointment or right before the procedure takes place. They’re typically pre-printed legal forms with blank spaces for your initials and signature. They’ll contain a description of the procedure and lists of complications—sometimes including death. The purpose of the forms is to ensure the patient is providing their informed consent for the surgery they’re undergoing.
Release and consent forms can impact med mal claims. Depending on the wording in the forms you signed, you could have a harder time filing a successful case. It’s important to note, however, that no consent form can prevent you from bringing a claim forward if you suffered as a result of negligence.
Proving Surgical Negligence in Texas
Not all surgical complications are considered errors. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee of a successful outcome for any procedure. Physicians, however, are required to diagnose and treat their patients with the standard of care in mind. This means that they are required to possess the same knowledge and skill that is normally provided by other healthcare professionals in the same field. If that duty is breached, you have a potential claim.
Proving a breach is challenging, which is why we can call upon a medical expert to have them provide their opinion on the matter. They’ll be able to explain what the doctor did wrong and what they should have done to avoid causing your injury.
It’s important to note that in Texas, responsibility for personal injury is determined by percentages. In order to be eligible for monetary recovery, you must prove the negligent action caused damage to you at a rate of 50% or higher. If, for example, your surgeon was negligent, but you did not follow the preoperative instructions properly, you may be unable to collect compensation.
Providing Legal Representation for Medical Malpractice Victims
There’s no denying that undergoing surgery is stressful. When your procedure doesn’t go as planned because of a negligent surgeon or surgical team members, you’re bound to experience even more stress. In conjunction with the additional physical injuries you’ll need to have treated, you may experience emotional hardships and financial setbacks. Fortunately, a Midland surgical error lawyer from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm has access to the resources and skills needed to build a successful claim on your behalf.
When you work with us, we’ll fight to recover your economic and noneconomic losses. Economic damages refer to those you can calculate directly, like medical bills and lost wages. We’ll be sure to take your future cost of care and lost income into account as well. Noneconomic damages are more challenging to determine because they’re not based on dollars and cents, but they take into consideration pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and more.
Filing a claim takes time, but doing so will put you on the path to receiving the compensation you need to recover as fully as possible. It will also send a message to the negligent physician that they cannot get away with irresponsibility. To learn more about your legal rights and options or to start a discussion with an attorney, contact our office today.