Performance of the Wrong Procedure

Representing Victims of Surgical Malpractice in the greater Charleston, South Carolina, Region

At one time or another, just about everyone in Charleston, South Carolina has come into contact with healthcare professionals and the healthcare system. People rely on healthcare professionals to properly diagnose their medical conditions and to provide them with proper medical care and treatment. When a medical procedure, such as a surgery, is required, patients expect that their doctor will perform the proper procedure—and that he or she will do so correctly. When a doctor performs the incorrect medical procedure, serious complications, injuries, and damages can result. Many of these damages can be long-lasting or even permanent.

What is even more troubling is that incorrect medical procedures are more common than you may think. In fact, according to statistics provided by Johns Hopkins University, surgeons nationwide have been known to operate on a wrong body part or perform an incorrect surgery 20 times per week on average!

One of the saddest things about surgical errors is that in many cases, they are entirely preventable. Surgical errors constitute a type of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is about holding a negligent healthcare provider responsible for his or her actions.

If you have been injured during a surgical procedure, you have legal rights available to you. The experienced medical malpractice lawyers at the Hughey Law Firm understand the pain and frustration associated with a surgical injury. Our knowledgeable team of attorneys can review your case with you and may be able to pursue monetary damages on your behalf, via settlement or lawsuit.

Surgery performed on the wrong side of a patient’s body. In some cases, surgeons negligently perform a surgery on the wrong side of a patient’s body. Performing an incorrect surgery like this not only wastes money and time, but it also forces a patient to endure unnecessary pain and suffering—all of which is completely preventable.

This type of medical mistake is preventable by making sure that a nurse or other healthcare professional marks the correct side of the body before the procedure takes place. That way, once the procedure begins, the surgeon can be sure that he or she is performing it correctly.

Operating on the wrong body part. There is absolutely no excuse for a surgeon to operate on the incorrect body part. Again, this type of mistake is entirely preventable by having the correct body part marked beforehand.

Performing a totally incorrect surgical procedure. Some surgeons make careless mistakes, and, as a result, perform the wrong surgical procedure on a patient. An incorrect surgical procedure could involve performing a knee surgery on someone who is in the hospital for a broken arm, for example. A surgeon can avoid making this type of mistake by simply double-checking the patient’s medical chart before beginning the procedure.

The experienced lawyers at the Hughey Law Firm can review your case to determine if medical malpractice likely occurred.

Common Causes of Surgical Errors

Surgical errors are costly and can result in a significant amount of economic and non-economic damages. One of the best ways to avoid surgical errors is for the surgeon to engage in thorough preoperative planning. Preoperative planning consists of several very important steps, including meeting with the patient before the procedure and confirming with the patient what is going to happen during the procedure.

Before the operation, the surgeon must double-check the patient’s chart, review the patient’s complete medical history, and review any medication allergies. Failing to take these steps can result in a serious surgical mishap. Other common causes of surgical errors include:

  • Improper communication – When nurses and doctors do not communicate with each other properly before the surgery takes place, serious errors can occur. For example, the nurse may not properly mark the correct body part or the doctor and the anesthesiologist may not communicate properly with one another about serious medication allergies.
  • Fatigue – Doctors and nurses are sometimes required to work very long shifts—sometimes 12 hours or more—with very few (if any) breaks. Some surgeons even perform multiple surgeries, one right after the other. Working for long periods of time on end without the proper rest can easily cloud a doctor or nurse’s judgment. It also significantly increases the chances of a surgical error. When surgeons and operating room nurses have their proper rest, they are much more likely to take their time during a surgical procedure and perform the procedure correctly.

Surgical Malpractice Standard of Care

Surgeons, like other medical doctors, owe the patients they treat a high duty of care. Generally, they are held to the standard of care of a “reasonable surgeon” in the geographical area acting under the same or similar circumstances. Nurses are held to the standard of care of a “reasonable nurse” acting under the same or similar circumstances. Specialists, such as orthopedists, are normally held to a national standard of care.

If a heath care provider violates the applicable standard of care, they can be deemed medically negligent. However, in order for the patient to recover monetary compensation, he or she must have suffered damages.

Damages come in the form of economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are meant to compensate injured patients for their related medical bills and lost wages. On the other hand, non-economic damages are used to compensate injured patients for all of the pain, suffering, and inconvenience they experience as a result of a surgical error.

The medical malpractice lawyers at the Hughey Law Firm can help you prove fault and damages in your case and can help you pursue the monetary compensation you need and deserve.

Contact a Charleston Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today for an Initial Consultation

Surgical errors can result in serious injuries and even death, in the worst scenarios. When surgeons and other healthcare providers commit errors in the surgical setting, they can be held accountable for their negligent actions or inactions. The medical malpractice lawyers at the Hughey Law Firm can determine if you have a viable case against a surgeon or other healthcare provider and can proceed accordingly.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Charleston medical malpractice lawyer, please call us at (843) 881-8644, or contact us online today.

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