Surgical errors can have devastating consequences for a patient’s life. While every surgical procedure comes with inherent risks associated with it, a surgeon is expected to take all precautions to minimize risks and ensure you receive the treatment you need. When a doctor fails to do so, patients might have enough justification to seek legal action to recover their losses.
What Is The Standard of Care for Surgery?
The standard of care is considered a common-sense set of guidelines that establish acceptable practices for health care. In a medical malpractice case, the quality of care provided by a certain medical professional would be compared to that of a similar professional in the community with equivalent training and experience. A medical error is a preventable mistake that could have been avoided if the doctor followed the standard of care for that procedure.
When Can a Surgical Error Qualify as Medical Malpractice?
In simple terms, surgical errors typically qualify as medical malpractice when a surgeon is either unprepared, fatigued, improperly trained or up-to-date on the most modern and safe approach, fails to follow established surgical protocols or techniques, attempts risky and unnecessary surgery or maneuvers or fails to properly communicate key pieces of information to other members on the surgical team. Furthermore, a medical error may have been prevented if the doctor followed the basic standard of care, such as repairing any accidental organ or tissue damage before closing a surgical wound and ensuring all non-therapeutic objects such as instruments or clamps have been removed from the patient’s body.
On the other hand, known complications and risks associated with a surgical procedure are not usually classified as medical malpractice. If a patient signed a consent before the procedure which states that there is a risk for infection or blood clots, and the patient ends up having an infection following the surgery, the case is less likely to be accepted as medical malpractice especially if the complication occurred even after the doctor employed the proper standard of care.
When Should I See a Medical Malpractice Attorney?
Medical malpractice cases are complex, but if you believe you may have a claim after suffering complications from surgery due to a medical error, it is best to consult a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Maine requires patients to file a claim for medical malpractice not more than three years after the error occurred. Because this type of claim requires extensive documentation and substantial evidence to support it, acting quickly can increase your chances of reaching a positive outcome. Even if your case ends up settling before going to court, your attorney can be instrumental in guiding you through every step and ensuring you have a strong claim. At Gideon Asen LLC, our medical malpractice attorneys handle a wide variety of claims in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. If you would like to know if you have a case, call us at (207) 206-8982.