Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit After Being Injured During Surgery?


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Accidents happen. People make mistakes. But a personal injury case is an entirely different matter. If you, a family member, or a loved one suffered from a catastrophic injury because of someone else’s negligence, there is a good chance that you have a case that could warrant the filing of a personal injury lawsuit.

Personal injury cases have the possibility to occur in a variety of situations. From being involved in a serious car accident at the fault of a drunk driver or getting injured on the job because of a faulty piece of equipment, there is no limit to where these types of incidents can take place. Unfortunately, personal injury cases can even start in the operating room.

A Vulnerable Place

Realistically, no one really gets excited about having surgery. Whether it is an elective procedure like getting breast implants or a lifesaving procedure like an organ transplant, the operating room often is a scary place. Patients are completely vulnerable while they are on the operating table, putting all their faith and trust into the hands of a surgeon.

This is precisely why most patients do their due diligence when it comes to selecting a surgeon for any type of procedure. You want to find a heath professional who has experience in the same type of surgery that you need and who has been successful in this type of surgery before. Additionally, you want to choose a hospital or facility that is updated with the latest medical technology and able to provide you with the best care possible. But even with all of this research and preparation on your end, the possibility of being severely injured still exists.

Surgical Errors

From routine procedures to major operations, all types of surgeries come with some degree of risk. If you combine this risk with negligence, the list of potential surgical errors can be quite lengthy. Just a few types of errors that we tend to see from negligent surgeons include:

  • Operating on the incorrect body part (yes, this really does happen)
  • Leaving surgical equipment inside of the patient
  • Performing surgery on the wrong patient
  • Having an anesthesia error, where the patient receives too much or too little medication
  • Administering a medication that the patient is allergic to
  • Causing nerve damage during the surgery
  • Puncturing an organ during surgery

How Does This Happen?

The first question that comes to mind after going through this list is, “How does this happen?” We make a conscious effort to choose the best surgeons who work at the top medical facilities, and major errors like this can still occur. There are a few common reasons that these surgical errors take place.

  • Carelessness. Unfortunately, there are surgeons out there who just want to get in and out of the operating room as quickly as possible, and their patients pay the price. From using equipment that has not been properly sterilized to rushing through a procedure, negligence from a surgeon can lead to major problems.
  • Fatigue. Doctors work long and crazy hours, and this can eventually catch up with them. A major error is easy to make when a surgeon is simply too tired to be in the operating room.
  • Lack of Preparation. For any type of surgery to be successful, a surgeon needs to be prepared. This includes thoroughly reviewing a patient’s medical chart, developing a carefully thought out plan, and having all of the necessary equipment on hand. A lack of preparation can result in serious injuries, especially if any complications arise during the surgery.
  • Incompetence. Sadly, sometimes surgeons perform procedures that they have no business doing. If your surgeon doesn’t have experience with your procedure or lacks the necessary training, the outcome may not be successful.
  • Disorganization and Poor Communication. Skills are not the only important detail for a surgical procedure. Both the surgeon and the health care facility need to be organized and facilitate proper communication among everyone so that mistakes don’t happen. This is exactly how some patients end up receiving the wrong surgery or the incorrect body part may be operated on.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured by the negligence of a surgeon, you have every right to file a personal injury lawsuit. The attorneys at Ross Feller Casey can guide you through the process and help you obtain all of the necessary evidence to create a strong case. Contact us today for your free consultation.

About the Author

With more than 20 years of experience as a physician, Dr. Gerald B. Parker brings a unique perspective as a Philadelphia doctor-lawyer to Ross Feller Casey.

Gerald Parker, III

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.