There are many different kinds of surgical errors. Some are “never events,” such as removing the wrong organ or leaving surgical instruments inside a body cavity. Others are more subtle errors. When you decide to undergo a surgery, you trust that the surgeon will follow the appropriate professional standards. However, sometimes surgeons make mistakes that cause serious injuries to patients. If you were harmed by a surgical error, you should consult the Boca Raton surgical malpractice lawyers at The Grife Law Firm.Types of Surgical Errors
Studies show that many surgical errors happen during the procedure itself. Others occur during preoperative or postoperative care. Surgical errors include operating on the wrong patient, conducting the wrong surgery, or conducting a surgery on the wrong body part. They also include errors such as puncturing organs, damaging nerves, miscalculations for anesthesia that result in oxygen loss and brain damage, and infections. Some of these errors may be recognized during surgery and treated, such as an organ puncture. Others may be caught after the surgery, such as an infection caused by a tool that was not sterilized.Liability for Surgical Errors
If you recently had a surgery and start to experience intense pain at the surgical site, vomiting, fever, pain while urinating, or redness and swelling at the surgical incision site, you should seek medical care. Sometimes patients develop staph infections after surgery, and it is crucial to seek medical care if you suspect that you have a staph infection. Surgical errors are expensive to treat and fix. However, a surgical malpractice lawyer in Boca Raton may be able to hold a health care provider liable for your injuries and costs.
Your attorney will need to prove that you had a doctor-patient relationship with the defendant, and the defendant's breach of the professional duty of care caused your injuries and damages. Usually, your attorney will consult medical experts about what the professional duty of care was in your situation and whether it was breached, as well as whether the breach caused your injuries. Sometimes, they will need to retain more than one expert on these issues.Medical Malpractice Experts
In order to meet the burden of proof, you will need to present testimony from a doctor who is qualified to testify as an expert witness. (Finding an expert is one reason why you should hire a medical malpractice lawyer to handle your case.) In a surgical error case, this witness would likely be a surgeon. The prevailing professional standard of care for a health care provider is the level of treatment, skill, and care that would be recognized as appropriate and acceptable by reasonably prudent, similar health care providers in light of the relevant circumstances.
Under Florida Statute section 766.102(5), an expert must meet certain qualifications. The expert cannot give expert testimony about the prevailing professional standard of care unless they hold an active and valid license and conduct a complete review of the pertinent medical records, in addition to meeting other criteria. When the defendant is a specialist, such as a surgeon, your expert witness must specialize in the same specialty and have devoted professional time in the three years immediately preceding the surgical error to active clinical practice or consulting in that specialty, the instruction of students in an accredited health professional school, or a clinical research program affiliated with an accredited residency, accredited health professional school, or clinical research program in the same specialty in which the defendant practices.Damages After a Surgical Error
Damages that your Boca Raton surgical malpractice attorney may be able to recover include economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses are such items as medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, in-home care, modifications to your home, and replacement services. For example, if a surgical error leaves you paralyzed, and you need someone else to clean your house, it may be possible to obtain damages so that you can hire a cleaning service to perform this task. Noneconomic losses include disfigurement, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. For example, if a surgeon makes an error that results in your arm being amputated, this may cause considerable emotional distress. This may in turn affect what you do for pleasure and recreation, and it can even affect your relationship with your spouse and children. It may be possible to recover damages for these losses.Explore Your Options Following a Surgical Error
When you agree to undergo surgery, you trust that your health care provider will conduct the procedure appropriately. Unfortunately, surgeons and other hospital staff do make mistakes that can cause serious harm to patients. If you were harmed by a surgical error, you should contact The Grife Law Firm. We represent patients in cities such as Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. Call us at 561-998-0770 or use our online form to set up a free consultation with a surgical malpractice lawyer in Boca Raton. We also represent people who have been affected by a misdiagnosis or another form of medical negligence.