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Some common types of surgical errors

When a surgical error occurs in a North Carolina hospital, patients or their family members might wonder whether they can sue for malpractice. There are several types of surgical errors that could lead to this course of action. Even refusing surgery or some types of treatments could result in a lawsuit, such as if a medical facility refuses certain procedures to women or to transgender people because of religious beliefs.

The growing use of automation in surgery means that overall procedures are safer, but robots can still make mistakes as well. A medical malpractice lawsuit involving a robotic error may have to establish who is at fault. A surgical mistake that may be caused by human error is wrong-site surgery, such as operating on the wrong organ or the wrong limb. The anesthesiologist may be liable if a patient wakes while surgery is in progress.

Sometimes, the surgery may be performed correctly but other aspects go wrong. Warming blankets used during surgery may cause infections, or a person may experience scarring if a surgical wound is sutured incorrectly. Finally, a person might have grounds for a lawsuit with some types of plastic surgery.

Surgical errors may cause disfigurement, illness and greater suffering for the patient. While the legal system will not consider every single error a case of malpractice, it will examine the error in context and look at whether the patient received a reasonable standard of care. For example, if it determines that an anesthesiologist was careless in calculating dosage, that a breakdown of communication caused wrong-site surgery, or that a patient developed a post-surgical infection due to negligence, then a medical malpractice lawsuit might be successful. However, before the lawsuit even reaches this point, a medical facility or practitioner might offer an out-of-court settlement.

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