Surgical Errors

Lawyer Nancy Cronin has more than 25 years of experience successfully litigating surgical errors and medical malpractice cases.

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Surgical Errors FAQ

Following are some frequently asked questions about surgical errors relating to medical malpractice lawsuits.

What is considered a surgical error?

It is a type of medical malpractice case where there is evidence of negligence on the part of the surgeon or the surgical staff.

What are common surgical errors?

The most common surgical errors are the following:

  • Unnecessary or inappropriate surgeries
  • Anesthesia mistakes like using too much or too little
  • Cutting an organ or another part of the body
  • Leaving foreign instruments inside patients
  • Pre or post-operative mistakes such as failure to address complications resulting from surgery

Is a surgery that goes badly the result of malpractice?

Not every surgical error is the result of malpractice.  The expert opinion of another surgeon who reviews the case will tell us if the surgical error was the result of malpractice.  The practice of medicine is not exact, and sometimes surgeries go wrong but not because the surgeon or staff was negligent.

How do I know if I have a legal case for surgical error?

Here are some of the reasons you might have a case: 

  • The surgeon was not trained to perform that type of surgery
  • The hospital did not have adequate staff pre-surgery, during surgery, and post-surgery to care for the patient
  • The surgeon was too tired to perform the surgery
  • The surgeon or staff were under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • There was a lack of communication between the staff and the surgeon

Do surgeons ever admit mistakes?

It has been reported in one study that surgical errors were only reported to the hospital or to the patient in 24% of the cases.

Can surgical errors happen even at reputable Hospitals?

Yes. Hospitals have implemented routine time-out procedures before each surgery.  During these time-outs, the staff and doctors work together to walk through the surgery, confirming the patient’s identity, the site of the surgery, the equipment needed, and the goal of the procedure.  This required time-out has help reduce surgical errors at some of the most reputable hospitals.

Are you or a loved one a victim of surgical errors?