Surgical errors can include a number of issues. Perhaps a surgery was undertaken that should not have been, or perhaps the surgeon made a technical mistake during the procedure. Regardless of the issue behind the mistake, medical negligence could have occurred.
Problems Arising After Surgery
Often times, a surgical mistake surfaces after the surgery itself, during recovery—a postoperative infection goes undiagnosed or untreated, a piece of equipment gets left behind, a stitch or staple lets go, or the surgery fails to improve the patient’s problem—but these unfortunate side effects are still considered surgical mistakes. If negligence was involved, you may have a lawsuit.
What if I Signed a Consent Form?
An issue that often arises in our surgical cases is consent. Everyone signs consent forms before undergoing surgery. A surgeon is required to provide you information about the surgery that he plans to do, including alternatives to that surgery, and risks and benefits of the proposed surgery. In the end, the decision to have the surgery as the surgeon proposes it is yours. The surgeon is supposed to give you the kind of information that is “material” to you in making your decision about whether or not to proceed with his plan. If a surgeon did not do this, and some harm happened to you in the course of the surgery, you may well have a malpractice case based on the surgeon’s failure to properly obtain your informed consent—even though you signed a consent form.
People often ask us whether they are precluded from filing a malpractice case because they signed a consent form. The short answer is “No.” A consent form does not protect a surgeon from a negligence claim. For example, a consent form may state that you may suffer bleeding or infection during surgery; however, a surgeon could still negligently cause bleeding or infection.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Medical malpractice lawsuits can be complicated and time-consuming. It is imperative that you contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as you are aware that negligence occurred. When you call our office, we will ask you about the condition for which you (or the patient, if you are not the patient,) had surgery, and about the surgery itself:
- When did the problem begin?
- Who was treating you prior to the surgery?
- Who was the surgeon?
- What information did the surgeon give you before the surgery?
- Where (in which hospital or facility) did the surgery take place?
- On what date was the operation performed?
If the problem arose after surgery, we will also want to know:
- When did you first realize that something was wrong?
- Whom did you tell?
- What did that person do or recommend?
- When and how was the problem ultimately addressed?
And, of course, we will need to know about your condition today:
- How has the surgical mistake affected your life?
- Do you have any lingering problems because of the surgical error?
- Are there things that you are now unable to do that you could do before surgery?
What Happens Next?
Assuming that all the pieces of a medical malpractice claim seem to be present, we will review your medical records from before and after the surgery. And, of course we will look at all of the records from the surgery including the operative report, the anesthesia records, pathology reports and nursing documentation. We will review your potential case with appropriate medical experts and after we obtain the expert opinion required to prosecute a malpractice case, we will file the case for you.
If you believe that you may have been injured by a surgical mistake, allow us to help you. If your life has been altered, we may be able to recover damages that will let you purchase equipment or hire help to deal with the downstream consequences of a surgical mistake.
The medical malpractice department at Keches Law Group can help you figure out whether you have a case, and what steps to take next. Call Keches Law Group at 617-898-0808 for a free consultation today, or visit us online.