When Surgical Negligence Harms Patients, There Are Options to Move Forward
Our South Carolina medical malpractice lawyers are your advocates when you need us most
A 2011 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) indicated that more than 30% of medical malpractice claims involved inpatient and outpatient surgery. According to the Department of Health & Human Services’ National Healthcare Quality Report for 2012, the death rate from elective surgery in South Carolina was 117.73 per 1,000 surgeries, or 11.8%. Mistakes made by any member of the surgical team, including the anesthesiologist, surgical technicians, and nurses, may have deadly consequences.
When they do, put your faith in the South Carolina law firm your neighbors and friends do. McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC, is a trusted resource for medical negligence victims throughout South Carolina. Our attorneys genuinely care about you and your family, and we fight hard to protect you. Don’t suffer through your injury alone; let us be your shoulder to lean on.
Medical Malpractice Warning Signs
Some common surgical errors
There are probably as many potential types of surgical errors as there are surgical procedures. Here is a closer look at some common surgical mistake claims that McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC has the skills, resources and experience to handle:
- Wrong site surgery. This occurs when a patient's surgery is performed on the wrong body part or organ. There have been instances in which patients have had the wrong limb amputated.
- Wrong patient surgery. While not as common as wrong site surgery, this has still been known to happen. Misidentification causes a patient to be subjected to a surgery they do not need, along with all the risk of complications.
- Use of unsanitary surgical instruments. This can lead to cross-contamination of disease. If the patient is already suffering from a compromised immune system, the results can be deadly.
- Damage to organs and tissue. During a particular surgery, a neighboring organ can be accidentally perforated or punctured with a scalpel, scissors, laser, or catheter. Organ tissue is particularly delicate, and such an occurrence can lead to severe and lasting health issues.
- Nerve damage. This may be caused by a surgeon's physical error, or by a mistake in the administration of anesthesia, resulting in permanent impairment.
- Leaving a surgical device in a patient. It happens more often than you might think, for incisions to be sutured while a clamp or a sponge remains inside the body. Not all hospitals require that surgical instruments, sponges, gauze, etc. be accounted for before and after the surgery, even though serious complications and infection can result from such overlooked objects.
Why are surgical malpractice cases complicated?
In these kinds of cases, experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys must prove to a jury that it was the surgeon, or a member of the surgical or recovery room team, whose negligence violated the proper standard of care and that this violation was the direct cause of the patient’s harm. The “proper standard of care” must be testified to by expert witnesses, to enable the lawyer to show a jury exactly how the medical professionals strayed from it.
Surgical mistakes are not always as obvious as removing the wrong leg or leaving a clamp inside the patient. They can involve complications that arise from anesthesia or from the team’s failure to exercise reasonable care after the surgery. They may involve sutures that do not hold, or bandages and dressings incorrectly applied, or unsterile catheters that cause infection. The issue in a surgical malpractice case may even be whether an injury or complication could have been avoided altogether if the surgeon had used one surgical technique instead of another.
What to do if you are a victim of surgical malpractice
Surgical mistakes can cause problems that range from pain and suffering to permanent disability and death, as well as financial loss to the patient and his or her family. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or complication during or shortly after surgery, you should seek representation by an experienced South Carolina medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
Put your trust in the South Carolina law firm that puts people first
McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC, our hard-working, no-nonsense South Carolina medical malpractice law firm has extensive experience advocating for people whose surgeons fail to perform according to acceptable standards of care. We are dedicated, driven, and committed to delivering results. Your medical malpractice case matters to us. Let us help you obtain the justice and compensation you deserve.
Contact McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC today. Call 803-327-7800 and schedule a free case evaluation by one of our experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys, or fill out our contact form from any device. We proudly serve clients throughout South Carolina from our offices in Columbia, Anderson, Rock Hill, Sumter, and Georgetown.