Before undergoing surgery, a patient is generally informed of all the risks associated with a surgical procedure. This can be frightening, even for a minor procedure, when the risks of surgery include serious injury or death. While some of the risks are inherent in the procedure, when the medical professionals breach their duty of care during the surgery, they may be liable for any damage caused by their negligence.
Surgical errors can be difficult to discover and it may take months or years before the victim finds out something went wrong. The hospital or doctors may try and avoid any responsibility for their negligence or even try and hide evidence of their mistakes. This is where the experience of medical malpractice attorneys can make a big difference. Talk to your Georgia med mal attorney as soon as possible if you suspect there was an error during surgery, to identify the problem, get compensation for your losses, and help prevent other people from suffering something similar in the future.
Common Surgical Errors
Any surgery carries some risk of injury or death to the patient. However, when the hospital, doctor, anesthesiologist, or surgeon makes a mistake, their negligence can increase the risk of injury or death. The parties responsible for any unnecessary risks or mistakes that cause injury or harm to a patient should be held liable for their actions. Some common examples of surgical errors include:
- Wrong procedure,
- Wrong site,
- Procedure performed on the wrong side of the patient,
- Foreign objects left in the body,
- Not monitoring vital signs,
- Lack of informed consent,
- Failure to get the patient's full medical history,
- Clerical errors,
- Intubation injuries,
- Wrong drug prescription,
- Wrong drug administration,
- Improper sterilization,
- Too much/too little anesthesia,
- Communication errors, and
- Equipment failure.
Surgical Error Injuries
In most surgeries, the patient is unconscious during the procedure. This leaves the patient without much awareness about what happened during the surgery and if any errors caused an injury or other physical damage. Upon waking up from the surgery, the patient may notice damage or it may take weeks, months, or even years before the injury is discovered. Some common injuries involving surgical errors include:
- Scarring or disfigurement,
- Burn injury,
- Insufficient oxygen supply leading to brain damage,
- Kidney damage,
- Internal bleeding,
- Organ puncture,
- Tissue damage,
- Nerve damage,
- Hearing loss,
- Pulmonary embolism,
- Brain clots,
- Impotence or sterility, and
Statute of Limitations for Surgical Errors in Georgia
Under Georgia Code Section 9-3-71, most medical malpractice claims “shall be brought within two years after the date on which an injury or death arising from a negligent or wrongful act or omission occurred.”
However, Georgia's statute of repose provides that, “in no event may an action for medical malpractice be brought more than five years after the date on which the negligent or wrongful act or omission occurred.”
Generally, the “discovery rule,” provides additional time to medical malpractice victims who do not discover the accident or injury until later. However, if the negligent act or wrongful omission was discovered years later, it may be too late to file a claim if it has been more than five years since the malpractice occurred. Talk to your Atlanta medical malpractice attorney about your claim to make sure your lawsuit is filed in time.
Foreign Object Left in the Body
Generally, when a foreign object was left in the body, the malpractice victim has one year to file a malpractice claim from the date the wrongful act was discovered. Under Georgia Code Section 9-3-72, that statute of limitations, “shall not apply where a foreign object has been left in a patient's body, but in such a case an action shall be brought within one year after the negligent or wrongful act or omission is discovered.”
Damages in a Surgical Error Lawsuit
Under Georgia's personal injury laws, the parties responsible for causing the injury may be liable to the injury victim for damages. The defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit may have to compensate the injury victim and/or the victim's family for losses caused by the malpractice. Depending on the type of accident or injury, damages in a surgical error lawsuit can include:
- Medical bills,
- Follow-up or corrective treatment,
- Continuing medical care,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of income, and
- Pain and suffering.
Contact Atlanta Surgical Error Attorneys Today
At The Kaplan Firm, PC, our attorneys have decades of experience fighting for our clients who have been victims of surgical negligence in Georgia. There is a limited time to file your medical malpractice claim so contact us as soon as possible. If you wait too long, your claim may be denied, leaving you without compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and lost wages. Contact us today at our Roswell, Georgia location for a free initial consultation.