Healthcare providers are required by the standards of care to fully inform patients of what is entailed in the proposed treatment for their condition, as well as provide information relative to all of the risks, consequences and hazards of treatment. In addition, patients have the right to be told of alternative modes of treatment. Receipt of this information is called “informed consent.” A lack of informed consent may result in a patient undergoing unnecessary or contraindicated treatment including surgery.
ERRORS BEFORE SURGERY
Before your surgery, a physician or other healthcare provider typically is required to perform preoperative testing in an effort to obtain proper operative clearance. Failure to do proper and adequate preoperative testing, including that to rule out problems with heart and lung function, blood abnormalities, infection, etc., could cause a patient to undergo a contraindicated procedure, and/or may result in intraoperative or postoperative injury.
ERRORS DURING SURGERY
During surgery, surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and/or operating room technicians may treat a patient in deviation from the standards of care. Medical instruments or sponges may be left in the body, incorrect procedures may be performed. Unacceptable and avoidable injuries to surrounding tissue (including nerves and organs) may occur. A failure to properly monitor a patient during surgery may result in brain injury due to anesthesiologist negligence. Improper positioning on an operating room table may result in nerve injuries.
Healthcare providers including but not limited to doctors, hospitals, outpatient surgical clinics/centers, and nurses may all be held liable for surgical errors. If surgical errors are the result of defective equipment, then designer, manufacturer and distributor liability may be applicable as well.
Knowing your rights as a patient, and as a potential plaintiff, can, protect your ability to pursue litigation after surgical errors are made. Securing legal representation by a qualified experienced attorney, well versed in the idiosyncrasies of medical malpractice claims, is essential.