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Surgical Error and Medical Malpractice

All forms of medical negligence carry a high risk of injury or even death. However, the results of mistakes made during surgery are often the most physically, emotionally, and financially devastating for victims and their families.

Common Surgical Errors

Some of the most common types of surgical errors that can be attributed to a medical professional’s negligence include:

• Anesthesia errors;

Postoperative infections;

• Nerve damage;

• Failure to address complications;

• Surgical tools left inside a patient;

• Performing surgery on the wrong site; and

• Operating on the wrong patient.

Certain types of surgeries are more likely to result in injury when a surgeon is negligent. For instance, the most common surgical mistakes occur during the following surgeries:

• Gastric bypass surgery;

• Laparoscopic intestinal surgery;

• Cosmetic surgery;

• Thoracic surgeries;

• Lasik eye surgeries;

• Endoscopic endarterectomies; and

• Gallbladder removal.

Carotid Endarterectomies

One of the most common results of a mistake made during surgery is nerve damage. This type of injury often occurs during carotid endarterectomies, which are procedures designed to remove plaque blocking the flow of a patient’s blood. The surgery is designed to decrease a patient’s risk of suffering a stroke and is relatively simple, although it does carry inherent risks.

To perform this procedure, a doctor goes in through a patient’s neck, exposes and opens an artery, and removes any plaque or blockages. A surgeon then inserts a tube to redirect the blood around the artery being repaired.

Unfortunately, some surgeons may not take the necessary care in identifying nerves prior to making the incision. The hypoglossal nerve is especially prone to being cut during these procedures if not properly retracted. Severing this nerve can cause tongue deviation or dysphagia, which can make it difficult or painful to swallow.

Gallbladder Surgery

Another common surgery where medical negligence is gallbladder surgery. The gallbladder is not a necessary organ for human survival, so removing it in an effort to eliminate gallstones has become a common practice.

In these types of surgeries, doctors perform a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, in which they utilize a camera to get an accurate view of the patient’s abdomen. In order to remove the gallbladder the surgeon is required to seal and cut what is known as the cystic duct.

However, in some cases, the doctor mistakenly cuts the bile duct instead, which can cause bile to leak into the stomach, resulting in serious and often deadly complications. If the damaged bile duct is identified, another painful and expensive surgery will be required to repair it.

Liability

Holding a negligent doctor or nurse accountable can be difficult when the mistake was surgical in nature, as invasive surgeries almost always carry an inherent risk. Fortunately, a surgeon can still be held responsible for negligence if he or she did not exercise the degree of care and skill that a surgeon in the same field would have used in similar circumstances.

Furthermore, the mistake must be directly related to the injuries that a victim suffered within the last five years in order for a party to obtain compensation from the doctor. While nothing can replace the loss of a loved one or a permanently disabling injury, obtaining compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering can at least help victims begin the process of recovery.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

If you have been injured as a result of a surgeon’s negligence or wrongful act, an experienced medical malpractice attorney may be able to help you obtain recovery for the harm you suffered. Please contact the Charles County, Maryland personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Robert R. Castro for a free consultation.

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