Even the most minor surgery, successfully performed, is a stressful and scary event. Whether your operation is elective and has been scheduled for weeks or you are experiencing an emergency, you are depending on the surgeon and their team to perform the procedure without making any mistakes. Unfortunately, even during routine surgeries, surgeons can make grave errors, such as performing the wrong procedure or operating on the wrong site, that lead to catastrophic or even deadly consequences for the patient. In fact, research conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows that about 1 in every 112,994 surgeries is performed on the wrong part of the body. If you experienced complications that you suspect were caused by a surgical error, contact the experienced Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp as soon as possible so we can review the circumstances of your injury and determine if you have a valid claim.
In the meantime, some of the most common surgical errors include:
Retained objects are one of the leading surgical errors in the United States. A retained object is any foreign item, such as surgical clamps, scalpels, retractors, pads, gauze, or drains, that is left inside a patient’s body after surgery. Retained objects occur when a surgeon is in a hurry, distracted, under the influence, or simply fails to follow protocols for ensuring that all equipment present at the start of the operation is accounted for at the end. Not only can a retained object result in considerable pain, but it also puts the patient at risk of developing a life-threatening infection.
When a surgical tool is left inside a patient, additional surgery is often required to retrieve the object. The surgeon must pinpoint the potential issue, order appropriate diagnostic tests, and extract the retained object as quickly as possible. The longer the object is left inside the patient, the greater the odds of developing a potentially severe medical complication. In some instances, retained objects can move throughout the patient’s body, causing serious injuries and pain.
A wrong-site surgery takes place when a surgeon operates on the wrong area of a patient’s body. The most common reasons that wrong-site surgeries occur are miscommunications or a lack of communication between the surgeon and their team, and failing to properly prepare the right part of the body.
Whether a surgeon operated on the left side of a patient’s body when the tumor was on the right or amputated the right leg when the left was damaged, these errors are expensive, often fatal, and are never supposed to happen. If you were injured due to an avoidable surgical error, contact a Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyer right away to discuss your case.
Additional Injuries to Body Parts or Organs
When performed correctly, surgical procedures are delicate operations performed on injured or diseased body parts. However, when a healthy body part or internal organ is cut, nicked, or punctured, it can cause serious injuries that can only be repaired through additional surgery. The internal injury most commonly caused by surgical error is a hemorrhage.
Some other surgical mistakes that often lead to severe internal injuries are:
- Nicking a blood vessel, artery, or vein
- Damaging the nerves that surround the surgical site
- Cutting into ligaments, tendons, muscles, and other soft tissue near the surgical site
- Lacerating the bladder or perforating the colon or bowel
When a surgeon without the necessary attention to detail, knowledge, or skill operates on a patient, they risk damaging vital organs as well as other body parts. By taking immediate action, a surgeon might be able to repair the damage they caused, but ongoing or unaddressed negligence will most likely lead to serious injuries or even death.
Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp
Even when every phase of surgery goes exactly as it should, surgeons and their teams need to closely monitor their patients for signs of postoperative infections. An infection could give rise to a medical malpractice claim if you are able to prove that a member of your surgical team failed to follow the appropriate protocols for preventing postoperative infections or unnecessarily delayed diagnosing and treating your infection.
If you feel you have been the victim of a surgical mistake, consult with a skilled Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We can review your medical records, evaluate the severity of the error, and advise you on the most effective course of legal action for your situation. That is how we achieved a $2.23 million jury verdict for the family of a client who died due to a delayed diagnosis of hospital sepsis. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call (833) 997-1774 or fill out our quick online contact form. We have offices in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, and Portsmouth.
An experienced personal injury attorney with dual licensure in Virginia and North Carolina, Eric Washburn received a B.B.A. in Finance from James Madison University—initially worked in the information technology field before obtaining his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Once an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Danville, Va., Eric has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in Virginia since 2014.