If you or a family member suffered a severe injury as the result of a surgical error, our attorneys can review the facts of your case and recommend the best steps to take next.
Surgical errors impact people’s lives every day. However, most patients and families have difficulty determining whether an unsuccessful operation was the result of surgical error or simply due to the inherent risk posed by surgery.
If you or a family member suffered a severe injury during the course of surgery or due to a doctor’s error, the lawyers at Harvey & Foote Law Firm, can help determine your options to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit.
You Deserve Justice
Work With Our Dedicated New Mexico Team
Common Examples Of Surgical Errors Or Malpractice
A surgical error refers to a mistake or oversight that occurs during a surgical procedure, leading to unintended outcomes, harm, or injury to the patient. A study by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reported that one out of every 10 patient deaths within 90 days of surgery was the result of a preventable error.
Some common types of surgical errors include:
- Wrong Procedure or Body Part Surgery: Performing a different procedure than intended or operating on the incorrect body part.
- Failure to Protect Nearby Organs and Structures: Inadequate precautions taken to safeguard adjacent organs, nerves, blood vessels, or tissues from unintended damage during the surgery.
- Negligence Resulting in Operating Room Hazards: Instances like operating room fires caused by negligence, leading to patient injuries. Such accidents might happen due to improper use of surgical tools, electrical equipment malfunctions, or improper handling of flammable substances.
- Foreign Objects Left in the Patient: Accidentally leaving surgical instruments, medical supplies, or devices inside the patient's body after the surgery.
- Anesthesiology Errors: Mistakes related to administering anesthesia that can result in severe pain, adverse reactions, or permanent injuries to the patient. This includes administering incorrect dosages or failing to monitor the patient's vital signs adequately during anesthesia.
- Post-operative Care Negligence: Inadequate post-operative care or follow-up that results in complications, infections, or other adverse outcomes for the patient.
Common Causes of Surgical Errors
Surgical errors can stem from various factors, and understanding these causes is crucial in preventing them. Some common reasons for surgical errors include:
- Communication breakdown: Inadequate communication among the surgical team, leading to misunderstandings about the procedure, patient information, or required steps during surgery.
- Fatigue and stress: Surgeons and medical staff working long hours or under high-stress conditions may experience fatigue, reducing their focus and leading to errors.
- Lack of standardized protocols: Failure to follow established surgical protocols and procedures can result in mistakes or omissions during surgery.
- Poor preoperative planning: Inadequate pre-surgical preparation, including incorrect patient identification, failure to review medical records thoroughly, or incomplete assessments, can lead to errors during the procedure.
- Inadequate teamwork: Lack of coordination and teamwork among surgical staff can result in misunderstandings, delays, or mistakes during surgery.
- Technical errors: Equipment malfunctions or inadequate training in using surgical tools or technology can lead to errors during the procedure.
- Distractions in the operating room: Any disruptions or distractions during surgery, whether from equipment, personnel, or external factors, can contribute to errors.
- Failure to follow safety protocols: Neglecting safety measures, such as proper sanitation, sterilization, or precautions against surgical site infections, can lead to post-operative complications.
- Lack of experience or training: Insufficient experience or inadequate training among surgical staff can increase the likelihood of errors during surgery.
- Patient-related factors: Some errors might occur due to patient-specific conditions, anatomical complexities, or unexpected reactions during surgery that the medical team wasn't adequately prepared for.
Preventing surgical errors often involves a multidisciplinary approach, emphasizing effective communication, rigorous adherence to established protocols, ongoing training and education for medical staff, and a commitment to a culture of safety within the surgical environment. Regular reviews of procedures and incidents also help identify areas for improvement and minimize the likelihood of future errors.
Who is Liable for a Surgical Error in New Mexico?
Liability for a surgical error can be a complex legal matter, and it typically depends on the specific circumstances surrounding the error. Multiple parties might be held liable, and the determination is often based on factors such as negligence, standard of care, and the relationship between the individuals involved.
Here are some parties who might be considered liable for a surgical error:
- Surgeon: The primary responsibility for the success and safety of a surgical procedure lies with the surgeon. If the error is a result of the surgeon's negligence, lack of skill, or failure to adhere to the standard of care, they may be held liable.
- Surgical team: Other members of the surgical team, including nurses, anesthesiologists, and supporting staff, can also be held liable if their actions or negligence contribute to the surgical error. Communication breakdowns or failure to follow established protocols may be factors.
- Hospital or medical facility: The hospital or medical facility where the surgery takes place may be held liable for a surgical error if there is evidence of inadequate training, supervision, or maintenance of equipment, or if the facility fails to implement proper safety protocols.
- Manufacturers of medical equipment: If a surgical error is caused by a defect in medical equipment or instruments used during the procedure, the manufacturers of those devices may be held liable for product liability.
- Anesthesia providers: Anesthesia errors can have serious consequences, and if these errors result from negligence or lack of proper monitoring by the anesthesia team, they may be held liable.
- Informed consent issues: If a patient was not adequately informed about the risks and potential complications associated with a surgical procedure, and a surgical error occurs, there may be legal implications related to informed consent.
- Supervising physicians: In teaching hospitals or situations where a supervising physician is overseeing residents or less experienced surgeons, the supervising physician may be held liable if their oversight was inadequate.
Providing The Knowledgeable And Dedicated Guidance You Deserve
We have a strong record of success negotiating substantial malpractice settlements, as well as litigating court-awarded financial damages on behalf of injured patients and family members of surgeon malpractice victims.
We work with clients throughout New Mexico. We put each case through a rigorous vetting process in order to improve the likelihood that the ones we take will prevail. Our firm’s selectivity also ensures that we can provide the high level of service that you deserve.
We accept cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you will not pay attorney’s fees unless the firm obtains a recovery for you. Call (505) 295-2245, or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation. Se habla español.
“The team at Harvey and Foote are wonderful and compassionate people. They have worked so hard to help us after losing our father due to neglect of care. They continue to fight for our family we appreciate them so much.”Michael C.
“Harvey & Foote Law Firm is the team you want looking out for your best interest. You can rest knowing they are on your side. The many obstacles facing your case will be met by their dedicated team of professionals.”Norberto G.
I appreciate everyone's hard work and dedication.
“Having the BEST attorneys on our side brought about an even better than expected outcome. Thank you, Dusti, Jennifer, and all of your amazing staff!!”Mara H.