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Understanding the surgical challenges that result in medical malpractice

Most people associate medical malpractice with misdiagnosis or improper care by a primary care doctor. Medical malpractice encompasses more than primary care mistakes. Surgical errors lead to many medical malpractice claims and long-term complications.

Understand the most common surgical malpractice complications to recognize when you or a loved one may have a claim.

Wrong site

Surgeons have a duty to confirm their procedure before making their first incision. This means verifying the location, side and patient data. Wrong-site surgery is a serious risk and, while uncommon, can be devastating for the affected patient. In cases of heart procedures, amputations and cancer removal, patients face significant complications and lasting effects.

Unnecessary complications

All surgeries come with a level of risk for complications, but surgeons mitigate many of those risks with their own decisions and actions in the operating room. When a surgeon causes nerve damage or punctures another organ in surgery, causing additional unnecessary complications, inattention or negligence may create a malpractice case.

Foreign objects

During surgery, tools, sponges and other surgical instruments play an important role. In most instances, surgeons and the surgical staff keep count of sponges and other materials used during the procedure to account for all of them before closing your incision. A retained sponge or surgical tool creates a risk of severe infection and other complications.

While some surgical mistakes occur without negligence or malice, surgeons can prevent most mistakes with careful attention to detail and an adequate standard of care. Understand the common types of malpractice so you know when you should consider a claim.