Several parties may be to blame for wrong-site surgery. These parties include:
- The surgeon
- Anyone on the surgeon’s surgical team
- The facility at which the surgery took place
If you were a victim of wrong-site surgery, the medical malpractice lawyers at Newsome | Melton can investigate your case and identify all those who are responsible. We can collect evidence and go after these parties for substantial damages. Our attorneys handle medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee basis — we get paid only when you do.
For a free consultation, call 888-526-8947.
Potentially Liable Parties for a Wrong-Site Surgery
The most obvious responsible party is the surgeon. Before any surgery, the doctor has a professional duty to double and triple check that they are 100 percent sure about what is going on in the operating room.
This means confirming that they are dealing with the right patient and are clear on what procedure they are about to perform. Many surgeons, unfortunately, due to the stress of the job and overwhelming caseloads, skimp on one or more of these steps in an effort to save time.
The Surgeon’s Medical Staff
Surgeons are not super-human, and they cannot handle every aspect of surgery on their own. There is just too much to do to prepare for and then carry out a surgical procedure.
This means surgeons rely heavily on their staff. This may include physician’s assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, lab technicians, and other healthcare professionals. Surgeons delegate certain tasks to staff members to free up time and energy for the parts of the job that only they are qualified to do. Unfortunately, this can lead to errors.
If a staff member, for instance, circles the wrong body part on a patient’s file, or brings the wrong patient to the operating room, and the surgeon does not catch the mistake, wrong-site surgery may result. In such a scenario, both the doctor and the staff member could be partially liable.
The Medical Facility
The hospital or medical facility where a surgical procedure takes place is liable for the actions of its employees, which include the doctor and his or her staff. For this reason, when wrong-site surgery happens to our clients, we can often pursue the facility where the procedure took place for damages.
Examples of Wrong-Site Surgery
Wrong-site surgery seems like such a horrible mistake that it is hard to believe that it ever happens at all, especially when a patient’s health and well-being in on the line.
But wrong-site surgery is a major problem at hospitals across the country. As medical malpractice lawyers, we are continually shocked at the number of clients who come to us because they went in for surgery, only to wake up and realize that the doctor operated on the wrong area.
Here are a few common examples of wrong-site surgery we have seen with our clients:
Left/Right Side Mix-Ups
In many cases, the doctor operates on the correct body part, but on the wrong side of the body. The patient needs surgery on their right knee, for instance, but the surgeon operates on the left knee. Now, thanks to the doctor’s error, the patient has two wounded knees instead of just one. And they still need to receive surgery on the original knee.
Wrong Body Part
Sometimes the surgeon operates on the wrong part of the body. For example, rather than performing knee surgery for a torn ACL, the doctor operates on the patient’s ankle.
Another situation we see is where a doctor performs the right procedure on the right part of the body — but on the wrong patient.
For example, a patient is rushed to the hospital for appendicitis. The surgeon learns they must perform an emergency appendectomy. The medical staff wheels a different patient into the operating room. The doctor fails to notice it is not the same patient and performs an appendectomy on someone who does not need it.
Recoverable Compensation After a Wrong-Site Surgery
The damages you can recover depend on the circumstances of your injury. You may be entitled to compensation for:
- The costs of the original surgery;
- Any costs associated with fixing the original surgery or lessening the damages from the original surgery;
- Lost wages;
- Lost earning capacity;
- Pain and suffering;
- And more.
We will determine a value for your claim and fight for the compensation you deserve.
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