Articles Posted in Surgical Errors

In a tragic case of medical malpractice recently decided by one state appellate court, a woman underwent a liposuction procedure at a medical spa and tragically died just a few days later from septic shock. The woman’s husband filed a medical malpractice claim against the company, alleging that the bacteria causing the shock came from the medical spa during his wife’s procedure. He claimed that certain equipment had not been properly disinfected and sterilized.

ScalpelThe case went to trial once, but it resulted in a mistrial based on the improper questioning of a witness in front of the jury. The case was retried, and the jury found in favor of the woman’s husband. The jury awarded him over $3 million in damages. The spa appealed the decision. It argued that there was not sufficient evidence for the jury to find in favor of the husband.

The court explained that it would not set aside the jury’s verdict as long as it was supported by substantial and competent evidence. It also would not second guess determinations of credibility and the weight of the evidence made by the jury. In this case, there was a medical expert who explained how the spa’s procedures for sterilizing and disinfecting the reusable medical equipment used in the procedure breached the standard of care for cosmetic surgeons. There also was evidence that the spa’s breach caused the woman’s death because septic shock occurs after an infection causes the body to go into shock, and she had bacteria present near where she was injected. Even though there was some evidence presented by the defense suggesting that the bacteria could have come from her post-procedure care, the jury’s decision was still reasonable and would not be second guessed. Accordingly, there was substantial evidence supporting the jury’s verdict, and the decision was affirmed.

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A woman filed a negligence case against a doctor after the doctor left a surgical sponge in her abdomen while she was undergoing gastric bypass surgery. The woman underwent a gastric bypass surgery in 2003, and she had several follow-up appointments in the subsequent years. The woman said that she began having uncomfortable sensations and pain in her stomach about one year after the surgery. The woman described these symptoms to her doctor at several follow-up appointments.

SurgeryIn 2009, she had a CT scan done for an unrelated condition, which revealed that she had a surgical sponge in her abdomen. She had it removed immediately. Less than a year later, the woman brought a medical malpractice claim against the doctor, seeking compensation for her medical expenses as well as for the pain and suffering she endured.

The defendants argued that the woman’s claim was barred because the statute of limitations had passed. The woman’s attorney argued that the claim was not barred, due to the “continuing course of treatment doctrine.” Under the state’s continuing course of treatment doctrine, a plaintiff generally needs to show that 1) there was a medical condition that required ongoing treatment or monitoring; 2) the defendant provided ongoing treatment or monitoring after the negligent treatment; and 3) the plaintiff brought the claim within the statute of limitations after the treatment ended.

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All surgeries carry some risk, but some carry more than others. Certain procedures carry high risks for complications and even death. But even when an injury or death occurs during or after high-risk surgeries, medical malpractice may still occur. Medical malpractice laws exist in order to protect patients from negligent medical treatment, even in high-risk situations.

Surgeon in MaskMedical Malpractice Claims

Medical malpractice claims permit patients to recover damages based on negligent medical care. In medical malpractice claims, a plaintiff has to prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care, and that the plaintiff suffered injuries and damages as a result of the breach of the standard of care.

In order to win a medical malpractice claim, a patient has to show that a health care provider breached the standard of care. The standard of care is what other health care providers in the same specialty would use in the same or similar circumstances. Medical malpractice cases demand experienced attorneys and medical experts who can explain what the standard of care is and how it was breached. If a malpractice claim is successful, a plaintiff may be able to recover damages, not just for economic costs such as medical bills but also for noneconomic forms of harm, including lost income and mental anguish.

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Medical malpractice claims often require additional evidence, including expert testimony, affidavits, and special administrative procedures. For this reason, the first issue in any case alleging the negligence of a medical provider may be whether or not the allegations fall under medical malpractice in the first place.

In a recent case, a plaintiff filed a claim based on a hospital’s alleged failure to properly maintain equipment used to sterilize surgical instruments. The plaintiff alleged that he had developed an infection after having spine surgery at the hospital, and that the infection was the result of improperly sterilized instruments. However, that state’s supreme court had to decide whether the claims actually fell under the state’s medical malpractice act, considering the definition of malpractice. The hospital argued that the plaintiff’s claim fell under the definition of malpractice in the act.

The court decided that the hospital’s failure to properly maintain its equipment fell under the definition of medical malpractice. In addition, since the act used the term “health care provider” rather than “physician,” it included treatment related to the hospital’s capacity as a health care provider, rather than just treatment provided by a doctor there.

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Every patient understands that all surgeries carry some level of risk. The nature and extent of those risks depend on the facts surrounding the individual’s circumstances and the surgery being performed. But even though some risks are understood, issues can arise and surgeons can make mistakes—and the patients may suffer devastating consequences as a consequence of them. Sometimes, the injuries that result can give rise to a medical malpractice claim, even if the plaintiff consented to the procedure.

surgical-instruments-81489_960_720Medical malpractice claims are brought when the care provided by a medical provider does not meet the applicable standard of care in the medical community, and causes the patient injuries. A plaintiff must demonstrate that the medical provider owed him a duty of care, that the care provided fell below the standard of care, and that the plaintiff suffered damages.

Consenting to Medical Care

In many cases, when a patient undergoes surgery, they have already explicitly consented to the surgery. In fact, a patient’s express or implied consent is generally required for all procedures performed by health care professionals. However, in order to be valid, a patient’s consent must be informed—which means being fully aware of the risks and alternatives.

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Surgeries carry high risks, even those considered “routine” procedures. Patients trust their surgeons to provide them with the necessary care. However, even surgeons can make mistakes. Some mistakes have minor consequences, while others are fatal.

operation-blade-1-1550186In order to demonstrate a medical malpractice claim arising from an alleged surgical error, the plaintiff must show that the treating medical provider’s conduct fell below the applicable standard of care. Under Illinois law, doctors and other medical providers must provide treatment that meets the accepted level of care of other similarly situated medical providers under the circumstances. An individual must also have suffered an injury that was the result of the medical provider’s error. Finally, the plaintiff must prove that their injury was the result of the physician’s negligent conduct.

Surgical errors can occur for a number of reasons. The surgeon may be inexperienced, unprepared, careless, fatigued, or under the influence, or may fail to communicate necessary information to the patient. Errors made during surgery can result in physical injuries, as well as emotional pain, including depression and anxiety.

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According to a news report, a woman recently filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against an Illinois surgeon and hospital for medical malpractice. The surgeon operated on the lumbar, or lower, portion of the woman’s back. Two other defendants are also named in the lawsuit.

operation-blade-1-1550186According to the lawsuit, the woman suffered neurological damage during the surgery as a result of the negligence of the defendants. Specifically, the woman is alleging that the defendants improperly utilized retractors during the lumbar surgery, and that they failed to take reasonable measures to protect the nerves in her lower back from surgical damage. The patient is also alleging that the defendants failed to timely recognize the nerve damage caused by their actions during the surgery and to accurately diagnose her condition.

The patient is suing each defendant for a minimum of $50,000. As a result of their actions, she is seeking compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Generally speaking, economic damages refer to out-of-pocket medical expenses, lost wages, and lost future income, while non-economic damages relate to an injured patient’s pain and suffering, emotional distress, and overall loss of enjoyment in life.

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A local woman sued a surgeon recently after undergoing surgery to improve a condition involving her upper, or cervical, spine. The cervical spine is the portion of the spine located closest to the neck. The patient initially sought treatment from the doctor due to ongoing neck pain.

stethoscope-1-1541316According to the lawsuit, the surgeon performing the surgery was negligent in his use of a surgical retractor. A retractor is a surgical instrument used for holding skin or other tissue out of the way during a surgical procedure.

As a result of the doctor’s negligence, the lawsuit alleges that the patient suffered nerve and vascular injuries. Vascular injuries are injuries to a person’s arteries or veins. In addition, the patient claims that the doctor’s negligence caused her to suffer from continued neck pain. The pain then caused the patient to suffer from significant emotional problems.

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