Surgical Errors Malpractice

Medical Malpractice due to surgical errors

You trust your surgeon and team to complete your surgical procedure with due care and skill. However, various factors may lead to carelessness by surgical team members, potentially resulting in a surgical error that injures a patient. If you’ve suffered harm from a surgical error, let the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson advocate for the financial recovery and accountability you deserve. 

Our firm focuses exclusively on medical malpractice cases, giving us extensive knowledge and experience with this type of claim. We have a proven track record of success that includes millions of dollars recovered for clients. When you choose us to help you after suffering a surgical error, you’ll benefit from the skills of Attorney Kelley Johnson and her trained support staff, including a full-time nurse. Our team will always treat you with the compassion and respect you deserve. 

After you’ve suffered an injury or medical complications due to a surgical error, turn to the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson for help pursuing compensation and justice from a negligent surgeon or surgical team. Contact us for a free initial case evaluation to discuss your legal options with an experienced surgical error attorney in Indiana. You pay no fees unless we recover the compensation you deserve. 

How Can a Medical Negligence Lawyer Help If You Were Injured Because of a Surgical Error?

When a surgical procedure doesn’t go as planned, it can leave you facing unexpected injuries, mounting medical bills, and a future filled with uncertainty. A medical malpractice lawyer can be a crucial ally in these complex cases. Here are some of the ways a lawyer can assist you:

  • Assessing Your Case—A lawyer can evaluate the details of your situation to determine whether you received proper medical care and whether another healthcare provider would have taken the same actions under similar circumstances.
  • Gathering Evidence – Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyers with experience investigating medical errors can collect your medical records, witness statements, and expert testimony to build a persuasive case on your behalf.
  • Handling Legal Procedures – A lawyer can handle the intricate details of legal filings, deadlines, and procedures to help avoid any errors that could compromise your case.
  • Negotiating with Insurance Companies – A medical malpractice attorney can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to seek a fair settlement.
  • Representing You in Court – If your case goes to trial, a lawyer can advocate for you in court, presenting your case with compelling evidence and arguments.

The Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson has a proven track record of securing millions in verdicts and settlements for Indiana patients and their families. As a boutique practice, we offer highly individualized attention to each case, which helps us address your unique needs and circumstances. When you choose us, you work directly with Kelley J. Johnson and her skilled legal support team, including a full-time registered nurse who brings a valuable medical perspective to your case.

Our extensive experience with medical malpractice claims, including those involving the Indiana Patient’s Compensation Fund, equips us with the insights and strategies needed to handle these complex cases effectively. We collaborate with renowned medical experts across various specialties to reinforce your claim with authoritative opinions. Finally, we operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no fees unless we recover compensation for you.

Why Do Surgical Errors Happen?

Surgical errors often stem from human error, where individual mistakes occur due to factors like fatigue, communication failures, or a lack of experience. Surgeons and medical staff work under high pressure, and long hours can cause fatigue, reducing their ability to perform with the necessary precision and focus. Miscommunication among the surgical team about patient details or procedural steps can also contribute to critical oversights.

On the systemic side, broader issues within the healthcare system can lead to surgical errors. These include inadequate hospital protocols that fail to verify the correct site for surgery or procedure, insufficient staff training, and a lack of standardized practices across medical teams.

Hospitals sometimes lack advanced surgical tools or technologies that support safer, more accurate procedures. Equipment may malfunction, or a lack of training may lead to incorrect use. Together, these human and systemic factors create an environment where surgical errors are more likely to happen, impacting patient safety and outcomes.

Severe Complications from Surgical Errors

Surgical errors can lead to severe and sometimes life-altering complications for patients. These unexpected outcomes not only prolong recovery times but can also introduce new health challenges, such as:

  • Nerve Damage – A slip of a surgical instrument can sever or damage nerves, leading to chronic pain, numbness, or paralysis.
  • Organ Damage – Accidental punctures or cuts to organs during surgery can cause organ failure or necessitate further corrective surgeries, putting the patient at risk for more complex medical issues.
  • Scarring and Disfigurement – Improper surgical techniques can lead to excessive or poorly placed scars, causing physical discomfort and long-term psychological distress.
  • Internal Bleeding – Uncontrolled bleeding during or after surgery can remain undetected until it causes significant health problems, requiring emergency intervention to prevent fatal outcomes. If this condition is not identified in a timely manner, a patient can suffer permanent disability or even death.
  • Infections – Surgical site infections may resist antibiotics and require prolonged treatment.
  • Postoperative Complications – Errors in post-surgical care can lead to complications such as blood clots, pneumonia, or urinary retention, extending hospital stays and complicating the recovery process.

Surgical errors can result in significant additional medical expenses for patients, upend their plans for the future, and leave victims with physical, emotional, and psychological injuries. The effect on their lives can be considerable. If a surgical error resulting from a medical provider’s negligence caused you to suffer injuries, you have the right to pursue compensation for your losses through a medical malpractice claim.

How Often Do Surgical Errors Happen?

According to a study by The Joint Commission, wrong-site surgery represented the second-most common sentinel event, or a “patient safety event that results in death, permanent harm, or severe temporary harm.” Although the Commission implemented the Universal Protocol in 2003 to prevent wrong-site/wrong-procedure/wrong-patient events, it found that even in 2022, about six percent of sentinel events involved wrong-site errors. 

What Are the Different Types of Surgical Errors?

Surgeons and surgical teams can make various mistakes in the operating room. Some of the most common types of surgical errors that lead to patient injury include:

  • Wrong site errors: A wrong site error occurs when a surgeon performs the correct procedure but operates on the wrong body part. For example, a wrong site error may occur when a surgeon removes a healthy lung instead of an unhealthy one. 
  • Wrong surgical procedure: A surgeon can also make a mistake by performing the wrong procedure.
  • Wrong patient errors: Wrong site/procedure errors can occur when a surgeon and surgical team fail to confirm the patient’s identity, performing a procedure intended for a patient still waiting in the pre-operative suite. 
  • Anesthesia errors: Common anesthesia errors include administering contraindicated anesthesia (such as an anesthetic that the patient has an allergy to), administering too little anesthesia (causing the patient to become conscious or feel the surgery), or administering too much anesthesia (potentially causing the patient to go into cardiac arrest). 
  • Failure to adequately address complications: Surgical teams should prepare for potential complications during a surgical procedure by having additional equipment and other surgical specialists on hand and taking other precautions. Teams may fail to address complications by not monitoring the patient’s vital signs. These mistakes can also occur when members of the surgical team do not communicate signs of complications or patient distress. 
  • Instruments/materials left inside the patient: Failing to account for all surgical materials and equipment used during a procedure can lead to something getting left inside the patient, which can cause infections or damage to tissues. 

Most Common Causes of Surgical Errors

Surgical teams should have procedures to catch and correct errors before they occur or harm the patient. Some of the most common causes of surgical errors include:

  • Failure to mark the surgical site
  • Failure to confirm the patient’s identity
  • Lack of communication among surgical team members 
  • Miscalculating anesthesia dosages
  • Failure to scrub down or sterilize
  • Surgeon inexperience 
  • Fatigue or intoxication
  • Lack of planning
  • Not preparing for complications
  • Failure to respond to signs of complications or patient distress
  • Failure to monitor the patient’s condition

What Procedures Have the Highest Rate of Problems and Difficulty?

One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association ranked the surgical procedures with the highest rates of complications and deaths. The top procedures included:

  • Partial excision of the large intestine
  • Excision of small intestine
  • Cholecystectomy
  • Suture of stomach or duodenum ulcers
  • Lysis of peritoneal adhesions
  • Appendectomy
  • Laparotomy
  • Excision or destruction of skin or subcutaneous lesions
  • Intestinal repair
  • Hernia repair
  • Intra-abdominal colectomy
  • Stomach repair
  • Laparoscopic excisions of large intestine
  • Exteriorization of intestine
  • Colostomy
  • Dilation and manipulation of the intestine
  • Pleurectomy 
  • Excision of muscles, tendons, or fascia
  • Excision of lesions from muscles, tendons, fascia, or bursae
  • Resection of rectum
  • Amputation of lower limb
  • Incision or excision of perirectal tissue or lesions
  • Closure of intestinal stoma
  • Abdominal diagnostic surgery
  • Incision of muscles, tendons, fascia, or bursae
  • Excision of perianal tissue
  • Hemorrhoid surgery
  • Incisions of the abdominal wall
  • Drainage of face and floor of mouth

What Compensation Is Available in a Surgical Errors Case?

When you’ve suffered an injury or complication due to a surgical error, you may have the right to recover compensation for financial and personal losses caused by your injury or medical complications. Let a surgical errors attorney from the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson pursue maximum compensation for your:

  • Costs of additional medical treatment, including additional surgeries, prescriptions, doctor’s appointments, physical/occupational therapy, or pain management care
  • Costs of long-term care for permanent disabilities caused by the surgical error, including medical/mobility equipment, home health care, or home renovations to install disability accommodations
  • Loss of wages for time off work to recover from injuries or complications caused by a surgical error
  • Loss of future earning capacity and job benefits if your injuries or complications result in permanent disability
  • Physical pain and anguish
  • Emotional trauma and distress, including PTSD or loss of quality or enjoyment of life due to disabilities or permanent scarring or disfigurement

Contact Our Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorney Today for a Free Case Evaluation

Given your limited window to file a personal injury lawsuit following a surgical error, it’s important that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible.

If you’ve suffered harm from a surgical error, let an Indiana surgical error attorney help you hold your surgeon or medical provider accountable. Contact the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson today for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn how our firm will fight to pursue the compensation and justice you deserve after suffering consequences from negligence during your surgery.