Undergoing a surgical procedure can be daunting, and the hope is always for a successful outcome. However, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. What happens if your doctor makes an error and you find yourself injured as a result of surgical complications? This guide is here to help you navigate the legal terrain in such unfortunate circumstances.
This is not an indictment of all doctors or medical practitioners but an earnest effort to empower patients about their rights and the necessary legal steps to take after surgical errors.
From understanding your medical situation to seeking legal counsel, we will walk you through the process, ensuring you’re well-equipped to take control of medical malpractice cases.
Recognizing Surgical Errors: Assessing the Impact on Your Health and Life
The first step is recognizing that a surgical error has occurred. This understanding includes identifying the mistake, its cause, and its impact on your health. You will need to discuss the error and its potential short-term and long-term impacts with your healthcare providers. Keep in mind that not all surgical complications are the result of medical negligence. Some risks are inherent with any surgical procedure.
However, if your health has significantly deteriorated or you’re experiencing unexpected symptoms following the surgery, it could be due to a surgical error. Some common surgical errors include operating on the wrong body part, leaving surgical instruments inside the body, or conducting the wrong procedure. These errors can lead to severe health complications, additional medical expenses, and a substantial impact on your quality of life.
Patient Rights after Surgical Injury
Understanding the concept of informed consent is crucial in medical malpractice cases. Informed consent is a patient’s right to make decisions about their healthcare after being fully informed about the risks, benefits, and alternatives to the proposed treatment or procedure. This information must be provided in a manner that you can understand, allowing you to ask questions and fully grasp the potential impacts before giving consent.
In the case of surgical errors, if you were not adequately informed about the risks involved or if you did not consent to a particular procedure that was carried out, it could be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
It’s important to understand that if a physician provides complete information regarding the potential risks of a surgical procedure and you agreed to proceed, it may be difficult to prove that the surgical error resulted from negligence. However, exceptions exist, particularly in cases where it is clear that the standard of care was not followed or there was a deviation from the agreed-upon procedure.
In addition to informed consent, you have the right to respectful and considerate care and to seek a second opinion if desired. After a surgical injury, you also have the right to know what happened and to receive appropriate care following the error. Remember, being an informed and active participant in your healthcare decisions can strengthen your position should you need to take legal steps after surgical errors.
Documentation and Record Keeping
In any legal case, it is essential to have accurate records and evidence to back up your claims. In the case of a surgical error, you will want to request all relevant medical documents and records as soon as possible. These may include records related to pre-surgery tests, informed consent forms, operative notes, post-operative reports, x-rays or other imaging results, and any other relevant documents.
This documentation will not only be useful should you decide to pursue legal action, but it will also help you understand what happened during the procedure, as well as its potential impacts on your health. You can use this information to ask more detailed questions when consulting with healthcare providers and attorneys about your rights and the necessary steps forward.
Consulting an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Seeking legal counsel is the next logical step after recognizing a surgical error and gathering all relevant information. A qualified medical malpractice lawyer will be able to review your case and advise if you have viable grounds for a lawsuit. There are differing Statutes of Limitations in every state (time limits in which you have to file a claim), so it’s important to get started as soon as possible.
Your lawyer will be able to guide you through the entire legal process and represent your best interests in court. They will build a case using any available evidence, discuss settlement options with the defendant or their insurance carrier, as well as provide invaluable advice about pre-trial activities.
Navigating medical malpractice cases can be intimidating and confusing. It’s important to remember that you have rights and options when it comes to seeking legal steps after surgical errors.
We at Join Class Actions and Siri & Glimstad LLP understand the gravity of surgical errors and are committed to providing you with the right resources so that you or your loved one is adequately taken care of. If you or a loved one was a victim of medical malpractice, feel free to connect with Jen Malainy now by filling out this form: Join Class Actions: Medical Malpractice – All States. Jen Malainy (Class Action Jen) has extensive medical and legal education and experience and has worked within the world-renowned hospital, Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF). She is available 24/7 at 440-381-0338.