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Surgeons performing total knee replacement surgery in operating room

When a person is told by their doctor that they need to undergo a surgical procedure, it can be stressful. Even a minor surgery has the potential to have significant complications that can leave a patient with serious – even fatal – injuries. The fear a patient may feel is not unwarranted, given the number of surgical errors that happen daily at medical facilities in Virginia and across the country.

National data shows that certain procedures have a higher percentage of risks than others. These procedures fall under the category of Emergency General Surgery (EGS). The following is a brief overview of these procedures and their issues. For more detailed information, if you or a loved one has suffered a surgical error injury, call our office to speak with one of our Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyers.

Emergency General Surgery

According to a major study conducted by Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, EGS procedures carry the highest risks and are usually performed on the most gravely ill patients. These surgeries also have the highest costs. Approximately 3 million patients undergo EGS procedures each year in this country. The study identified seven surgical procedures that are responsible for the majority of surgical errors. These EGS procedures also account for approximately 80 percent of surgical procedures done in the United States.

The study also identified the following procedures as having the highest fatalities:

  • Removal of part of the colon (partial colectomy)
  • Gallbladder removal (cholecystectomy)
  • Appendix removal (appendectomy)
  • Peritoneal adhesion removal
  • Small-bowel resection
  • Peptic ulcer surgeries
  • Abdominal incisions (laparotomy)

According to data collected by the study:

  • Patients who undergo EGS are eight times more likely to die following the surgery than patients who undergo elective surgery.
  • At least half of all EGS patients develop complications following the procedure.
  • Within 30 days of the procedure, 15 percent of EGS patients are readmitted to the hospital.

The most frequent complications that patients suffered from these procedures were internal bleeding, infections, shock, and adhesion.

What Is the Responsibility of Medical Staff?

All medical personnel owe a duty of care to every patient. When a patient is undergoing an EGS, it becomes even more critical for everyone involved in the patient’s care to pay attention to detail to prevent the patient’s death. Steps that should be taken include:

  • Ensuring that they and all equipment are sterilized and prepared.
  • Carrying out the pre-planned procedure.
  • Utilizing the hospital team appropriately.
  • Monitoring patient stats.
  • Carefully performing postoperative care.

Call Our Personal Injury Law Firm for Help

We trust our physicians and surgeons to heal us, not harm us. Surgical errors are preventable, and the damage they cause can change a person’s life forever. If you have been injured because of a surgical or medical error or have lost a loved one due to medical staff mistakes, contact a compassionate Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyer to discuss what legal options may be available to you.

The legal team at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp has successfully represented many clients and their families who suffered serious injury or illness because of the negligence or carelessness of a doctor or other medical staff, including a $2.23 million wrongful death/medical malpractice verdict for the family of a woman who died after doctors failed to diagnose sepsis that developed after a botched colon resection surgery.

If you or a loved one has been injured or developed a medical condition due to surgical error, contact our office to schedule a free case evaluation. We will thoroughly investigate your case, including consulting with the medical specialists we work with on a regular basis, and determine what type of financial compensation you are due for the losses you have suffered.



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