Toronto Medical Malpractice Lawyers and Cases of Surgical Errors
Every surgery carries risk which may result in complications or a less than desired outcome. When serious injury or death is caused by negligence or actions which do not meet the accepted standard of care then this gives rise to the right to monetary compensation for the harm done. Determining whether medical malpractice has occurred in a surgery gone wrong is not always straightforward. A poor result without evidence of a medical mistake is not sufficient to prove your case. At Obradovich Law we have worked with medical experts in prosecuting malpractice cases concerning surgical negligence not only in Toronto but throughout Ontario. If you believe you or a family member has been injured by a surgical error or other medical negligence then contact us using our case evaluation form or calling our toll free number for a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case.
Typical Surgical Errors
Failing to Monitor for Post-Surgical Complications
There are risks associated with every surgery. When a patient suffers from a surgical risk it may not be due to negligence or malpractice on the part of the surgical team. However when a known risk or complication occurs and is not recognized or treated by the surgeon then this will often be considered medical negligence.
Lack of Infection Control
Infections are a risk of surgery and pose a serious threat to patients. The occurrence of infection is endemic in the hospital setting. It has become concerning with the emergence of “superbugs” and MRSA bacteria that do not respond to common antibiotics. In order to prevent and control the spread of infection it is important that surgeons and hospital nurses and staff take reasonable and necessary measures to avoid its contagion. The failure to sterilize the operating room or instruments, to engage in sanitary and hygienic practices such as hand washing, to antiseptically prepare surgical sites, to provide prophylactic antibiotic therapy or the failure to provide proper wound care may constitute medical malpractice in the right circumstances.
Leaving Objects within the Body
This is a medical mistake that is rather straightforward to identify. Hospitals should have surgical checklists that will account for the presence of all surgical instruments, sponges and other objects so that they will not be left behind in the patient’s body. If there is no checklist, or it is not used or followed or the surgical team does not count properly then they will usually be liable for the consequences caused by the foreign object.
Puncture or Perforation of Organs or Membranes
Bleeding is a risk of every surgery. Not every wrong cut will be considered a malpractice. However if it occurs because the surgeon has failed to identify anatomical structures, failed to properly locate the site of the surgery, or taken normal precautions to avoid unnecessary injury then these omissions may be considered acts of surgical negligence. If the surgeon fails to recognize that an organ or membrane has been cut or punctured during surgery or fails to properly treat this injury then this can also be considered as medical negligence.
Using Improper Surgical Technique
Negligence of this type can occur when the surgeon fails to understand the true nature of the patient’s problem and proceeds with a surgery or surgical technique that will not cure the patient’s problem. It can also occur if the surgeon does not keep up to date with developments in the field but may more commonly occur if the surgeon has not had sufficient study or experience in the type of surgery being performed.
Wrong Site Surgery
This type of medical error is considered a “never event” for the reason that it should never happen. Lamentably it does even with the introduction of protocols designed to prevent its occurrence.
Representative Surgical Negligence Cases
Bariatric and Gastric Bypass Surgeries
Mistakes in the choice of technique, failure to monitor complications caused by failure of the lap band and performing surgery on patients not suited for it are situations for which liability for medical error can arise.
Cosmetic Surgery Errors
Counselling a patient to undergo an elective but technically difficult surgery with an uncertain success rate that can worsen a patient’s existing condition is suspect medical practice. A full explanation of the risks and benefits of contemplated cosmetic surgery should always be given so that patients may make informed decisions. When this is not done or the surgeon attempts surgery for which proper training has not been received then liability for the consequences of failed surgery may result.
Gall Bladder Surgeries
This is a surgery in which considerable attention must be made to the surrounding anatomy so that ducts and arteries not involved in the surgery are not inadvertently damaged.
Hernia Repair Errors
Improper siting or implantation of surgical mesh can result in nerve entrapment with ongoing severe pain.
Laparoscopic Surgical Errors
While laparoscopic surgery can reduce surgical and recovery time it is not suitable for all conditions. A failure to use or convert to open surgery can in some situations result in unrecognized and serious harm to the patient.
Orthopedic Surgical Errors
Medical negligence found in orthopedic surgical practice includes the failure to recognize conditions which require immediate or time sensitive surgery, failure to detect and repair all fractures needing surgical repair, failure to properly select, site or size a prosthesis in joint replacement surgery, failure to protect soft tissues from injury during surgery and failure to monitor for proper bone healing and alignment following surgery.