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Surgical Errors

Surgical errors are much more common in the United States than many people like to believe. In fact, a study by John Hopkins University revealed that 4,000 surgical mistakes occur in the United States every year. What’s worse is that the majority of these mistakes, according to the report, are labelled as “totally preventable.”

Errors can arise in any type of surgery ranging from a simple appendectomy to open heart surgery. These errors can range from leaving a sponge inside the patient’s body to amputating the wrong body part because it wasn’t properly labeled. If you’ve suffered from illness or injury due to a surgical error, you may be able to obtain a monetary award using experienced counsel.

Des Moines Surgical Error Lawyer | Medical Malpractice, Iowa

Injuries stemming from surgery can have life-changing effects, and in most cases these errors are totally avoidable. Surgeons and their staff who are inattentive, careless, reckless, and exhibit negligent behavior can be held legally responsible for any harm done to the patient.

To learn more, we highly encourage you get in touch with Iowa surgical error attorney Gregory Landry. Medical malpractice attorney Gregory Landry has decades of experience helping people recover by providing effective litigation/representation. Call today at (515) 279-9700 to set up your first confidential consultation. We represent clients throughout the greater Des Moines, Polk County and Dallas County, Iowa area.

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Common Surgical Errors in Iowa

Although a surgical error may be unintentional, it can have devastating effects on the patient’s life. That is why surgeons and their staff must follow strict rules and procedures so they can minimize mistakes during surgery. Unfortunately, these errors may still occur due to carelessness, fatigue, miscommunication, poor planning and other negligent behaviors.

Listed below are some common errors made during surgery.

  • Foreign Objects in the Body – Surgeon and their staff use hundreds of tools during surgery. These tools are incredibly important, and surgeons must know where they are at all times. However, some surgeons may leave a foreign object behind because they forget it’s there during surgery such as a sponge. If this occurs, then the patient may face a serious infection over time.
  • Damaged Nerves – One of the most vulnerable parts of the human body is the nervous system. The slightest flick or hand twitch may result in serious damage to a persons’ nerves and leave devastating effects. Patients may struggle with sudden sharp or jabbing pain because of it. In some cases, patients lose the ability to feel altogether.
  • Wrong Patient – These cases are rare, but they do happen. As unbelievable as it sounds, surgeons have operated on the wrong patients in the past. This can happen for a variety of reasons including lack of preoperative verification, hospital protocol, and communication between surgeon and staff.
  • Issues with Anesthesia – One of the most common surgical errors is mistakes made while administering anesthesia. Receiving too much anesthesia could result in serious brain damage or even death. Patients who don’t receive enough anesthesia, on the other hand, may wake up during surgery and be unable to move.
  • Operating on the Wrong Site – Shockingly enough surgeons have been known to operate on the wrong body part due to a lack of communication and preoperative verification. Receiving unnecessary surgery could seriously impact a patient’s health and result in nerve damage or infection.

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How Do Surgical Errors Happen?

What causes a surgical error is different based on the circumstances of the situation. In most cases, poor planning and miscommunication between surgeon, doctor, and staff is the main reason for the error. Issues with chain of command, missing medical information and sheer negligence on behalf of the surgeon or nurses are some other reasons why these errors occur.

Listed below are some common reasons why surgical errors happen.

  • Negligence – One of the most common reasons for surgical errors is negligence. Surgeons or their staff are more susceptible to error if they act carelessly, recklessly, inattentively, or exhibit other negligent behavior. Surgeon who are neglectful of their duties are putting others at risk.
  • Fatigue – Surgeons and their staff are known to work long late hours. If the surgeon or any of their staff is too tired to function at the appropriate level, then it could affect surgery. Engaging in negligent behaviors such as using substances prior to working or staying up late the night before surgery could result in fatigue.
  • Using Improper Surgery Procedures – Surgeons cannot cut corners when it comes to treating their patients. Skipping a step or taking an alternative route to surgery could be deadly for the patient in the end.
  • Incompetence – It’s the job of the hospital to ensure all their surgeons have the skills necessary to be successful. Surgeons who lack these abilities could cause more harm than good to their patients.
  • Poor Planning – Surgeons must properly plan out their operation beforehand. This is to ensure the surgery has minimal issues and to plan for any unexpected obstacles.

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Can You Sue for Surgical Errors?

Surgical errors are a type of medical malpractice. This is defined as the act or omission by a health care professional while treating the patient that deviates from accepted practices and eventually leads to the patient’s injury or death. In order to prove the error was malpractice, you must prove two elements. The health care professional’s actions were negligent, and that you suffered harm as a direct result of that negligence.

You can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible party and prove these elements are true. If you and your attorney are successful, then you’ll likely be granted a monetary award. The award will encompass all the economic and non-economic losses you suffered due to the surgical error.

Some of these damages your monetary award may cover include:

  • Treatment costs
  • Hospital visit bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Physical therapy treatments
  • Prescription drug costs
  • Nursing home bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

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Additional Resources

NMMAA – Visit the official website for the National Medical Malpractice Advocacy Association (NMMAA), a non-partisan civil rights organization that advocates for victims of medical malpractice. Access the site to learn more about medical malpractice, their advocating services and resources for people suffering from a medical mistake.

Iowa Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations Laws — Visit the official website for the Iowa Legislature to read their statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims. Access the statutes to learn more about the statute of limitations for these cases and what can happen if you file past the statute of limitations.

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Surgical Error Lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa

No one should suffer from a surgeon’s mistake both emotionally and financially. If you or someone you love has suffered from a surgical error, contact [frim] to get in contact with experienced personal injury attorney Gregory Landry. He has decades of experience and can use that knowledge to represent you in court.

Call McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. now at (515) 279-9700 to set up your first consultation in our West Des Moines office.

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