Surgical Errors are Costly

Personal injury attorneys work through various types of cases, including auto accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and falls, wrongful death, cruise ship accidents, workplace accidents, and dog bite injuries. Another type of lawsuit personal injury attorneys commonly work through is medical malpractice. Medical malpractice cases arise from various medical practices, including dentistry, orthodontics, pharmaceutical, chriopractical, and surgical. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to perform with the expected standard of care, causing injuries to a patient. Of all the different forms of medical professions, surgeons perform perhaps the most intrusive medical practices, surgical errors. Fortunately, only a small number of errors lead to medical malpractice. Due to the intrusive nature of surgical procedures, surgical errors tend to be more detrimental, more costly, and more complex legally, compared to other forms of medical malpractice.


A surgical error is an error during surgery, that is preventable. A surgical error may be caused from the surgeon, surgeon’s assistants, nurses, or surgical technicians. Because all surgeries introduce risks to patients, patients are required to sign documentation, acknowledging the risks associated with their surgery. This documentation is called “informed consent”, but it is important to remember that surgical errors are more severe than the known risks of surgery. Surgical errors are entirely not expected by patients.


Surgical errors can arise for various reasons. Incompetence is one reasons surgeons make errors, which may be due to inexperience performing that specific procedure, or absence of required medial skills to successfully perform the procedure. When looking to schedule surgery, research surgeons that are experienced, especially in the type of surgery that you are looking for. Meet with the surgeon ahead of time in order to speak with them and ask any questions you may have. Another reason surgical errors occur is inadequate planning. Surgeons and their staff must be adequately prepared, including familiarity with the procedure, and having proper resources to safely perform the surgery. Even if a surgeon’s assistant fails to prepare all of the necessary equipment, this could pose major risk for surgical error from the surgery. Additional reasons that surgical errors occur include poor communication between the medical team, fatigue from surgeons working extensive shifts (which occurs frequently), drugs/alcohol, and neglect.


Due to the complex nature of medical malpractice and surgical error cases, personal injury attorneys have to work tediously to prove one of the previously mentioned mistakes occurred, especially negligence. In 2015, there were reported costs of $17 billion dollars annually spent on all medical errors. For patients specifically, there is no specific regulation about how hospitals handle the cost of care when patients have had detrimental results, and fault is disputed. Multiple safety groups are encouraging hospitals to adopt rules, in order to protect patients going under the knife. When accidents occur, patients often pay for the consequences, through their insurance companies, or directly.


On average, a privately insured patient cost about $39,000 more – $56,000 vs. $17,000 in hospital bills, due to surgical complications. When insurers add hospitals to their networks, they may debate about how errors  will be handled, especially financially. Most hospitals will not admit neglect or error unless they need to, in order to protect themselves and their doctors from lawsuits. Some hospitals may provide a free follow-up, a portion of “bundled payment.” In order for this to take place, complications must be an evident result of bad treatment. Patients may also complain through the insurer, and the insurer would then work with the hospital to determine liability.


All of the information discussed may vary partially, depending on the patient, the surgeon, the hospital, and the state that the surgical error occurred. If you are going under the knife, research different surgeons to become familiarized and comfortable with their experience, their specialty, and their credentials. If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice and surgical errors, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss the potential compensation you may be entitled to. Hire a personal injury attorney with experience in medical malpractice, and eager to fight for your compensation.


If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of an accident, don’t forget to call the Offices of Kanner & Pintaluga, P.A. by dialing 1-800-586-5555. If you live in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Ocala, Orlando, Tallahassee, Gainesville, Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, Naples or any other city in Florida, The Law Offices of Kanner & Pintaluga, P.A. can help you get your life back on track if you’ve been injured after a car accident. Make sure to follow The Law Offices of Kanner & Pintaluga P.A. on Twitter (@KPAttorney) and Facebook.