Orlando Surgical Malpractice Lawyer
If you’re facing surgery, you want the best possible surgeon performing the job. An error during the procedure can be catastrophic, causing serious injury, pain, and in certain dire instances, even death. Although most surgeons are well-trained and competent to perform surgery on their patients, this isn’t always the case.
Medical surgeries can be extremely difficult, and the process of investigating errors to prove medical malpractice is lengthy and time-consuming. Don’t wait. Seek legal guidance from an Orlando surgical malpractice lawyer or Fort Lauderdale surgical malpractice lawyer at Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, P.A. today to discuss your options.
Common Surgical Errors
Today’s clinics and hospitals do their best to shepherd their patients quickly through surgery and recovery in order to tend to more patients and increase their revenues. This practice, while it has some merit, also increases the rate of surgical errors, ranging from minor to critical to fatal. Surgery errors are among the most common types of medical malpractice lawsuits in Florida and the United States. If the surgical injury or death could have been avoided or if it was a result of negligence, the injured party may sue for monetary damages.
While there are probably as many potential types of surgical errors as there are surgical procedures, below is a list of some of the most common surgical mistakes:
Wrong-site surgery happens when a patient’s surgery is performed on the wrong organ or body part. A number of these include the patient having the wrong limb amputated.
While not as common as wrong-site surgery, unnecessary surgery occurs when a patient is subjected to unneeded surgery, along with all the complications that accompany surgery.
Infections that are related to surgery can occur from an unclean operating room or the use of unsanitary surgical instruments, and they can lead to cross-contamination of disease. If the patient has a compromised auto-immune system, the results can be infection and sepsis. Also, some post-operative infections are treatable or avoidable when discovered and treated quickly.
Surgical Instruments Left in the Body
Johns Hopkins Medical estimates that more than 2,000 patients yearly suffer from foreign objects left inside a body cavity after surgery. These foreign objects could be sponges, gauze, broken screws, and similar objects. Although protocols require that all of these things be counted before, and after surgery, this doesn’t always happen. Serious complications and infections can arise if foreign objects are left inside the body.
Damage to Internal Organs
During surgery, an organ can be accidentally perforated or punctured with scissors, a scalpel, or a laser. Organ tissue is particularly delicate and a mistake like this can lead to infection and blood loss.
Oxygen Deprivation and Nerve Injury
A doctor’s error in administering anesthesia can cause the patient to suffer respiratory distress, oxygen deprivation, and brain damage. Also, improper surgical technique or the failure to take precautions may lead to avoidable nerve injury.
Legal Claims Following Surgical Mistakes
Doctors are human and are subject to making human errors like all of us. They can be overworked and not in top mental or physical condition when operating. If you have a valid claim, you must establish that the doctor owed a duty of care to you and breached that duty by failing to meet the proper standard of care. Consider this: What would a skilled surgeon have done under similar circumstances? You must demonstrate that and then prove that your doctor failed to meet that standard of care. Finally, it must be shown that the doctor’s negligence caused you actual harm and compensable damages.
A surgical mistake can be extremely costly — in fact, it can bankrupt you and your family. You may be required to take off an extensive amount of time at work or even quit your job if you are no longer capable of performing required work tasks. Sometimes, your physical health may not be the same as it was before the surgical error, and you may never fully recover.
Sometimes, the patient dies as a result of surgical negligence. In these cases, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is a legal remedy that seeks to make patients whole, but it’s a long and complex process, so it’s best to discuss potential surgery negligence with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
How Long Do You Have to Sue?
Currently, Florida has a two-year statute of limitations period to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit. The rules are more complicated than this, however, and depend upon such specific facts as when you discovered the malpractice.
You may be entitled to compensation if you believe you can prove that:
- The medical provider did not meet the standard of care required by comparable healthcare practitioners;
- The failure to meet the standard of care caused your or your loved one’s injuries; and
- The injuries are compensable, meaning you are entitled to damages.
What Damages Can You Obtain for Medical Malpractice?
In Florida, patients who are injured by the negligence of their medical professional may be entitled to economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages include medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses such as rehabilitation and durable medical equipment purchases or rentals such as wheelchairs, crutches, and hospital beds. Economic damages also include loss of or reduction in income if you cannot work due to the conditions caused by the surgical error or lack of post-operative monitoring.
Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress, depression, and similar damages. Currently, in most cases, there are no limitations on the recovery of these damages.
Florida law may permit punitive damages in medical malpractice cases, including surgery or improper monitoring cases, if the facts support a finding that the doctor’s behavior was especially egregious. Punitive damages are exceedingly hard to obtain in Florida and require proof of intentional misconduct or gross negligence, a very hard standard of proof. The rare cases where punitive damages might be found to apply would be:
- Where the doctor was impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Surgical events that should never occur under any circumstances, such as operating on or amputating the wrong body part
- Criminal events by the doctor, such as physical or sexual assault on the patient
Let an experienced Orlando surgical malpractice lawyer or Fort Lauderdale surgical malpractice lawyer at Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, P.A. help you gain compensation for your injuries.
Contact a Skilled Orlando Surgical Malpractice Lawyer at Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, P.A. Today
If you or someone you love has been harmed during surgery due to a medical professional’s mistake, help is available to you and your family. Contact a knowledgeable Orlando Surgical Malpractice Lawyer or Fort Lauderdale surgical malpractice lawyer at Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, P.A. as soon as possible to find out more about your rights and options under the law.