Each year, legal claims are made against orthopedic surgeons for alleged poor performance and other issues related to the perioperative period. Many times, the physician, surgical staff and hospital personnel can take certain precautions that help minimize complications or be sure that problems are promptly noticed when they arise. Communication among the team members and with the patient and his or her family members are vital to ensuring a successful recovery.
Thorough patient education is a key element in recognizing and addressing post-operative complications such as infection, hematoma and bleeding. Rather than handing a patient a few pamphlets containing instructions and warning signs, the health care professional should carefully review crucial information and give the individual an opportunity to ask questions. Many problems develop after discharge, and it will be up to the patient or family members to alert the doctor of the symptoms.
Physicians and hospital staff who make follow-up calls a normal part of their post-operative protocol are more likely to recognize a deteriorating condition. Taking the time to ask pertinent questions that relate to increased pain, elevated body temperature and general malaise can alert the doctor to an issue that needs to be addressed promptly.
People who have experienced severe complications after undergoing a surgical procedure because of a surgical error or other negligence may want to discuss their situation with a medical malpractice attorney. Through a review of the patient's hospital records and a consultation with medical experts, the attorney may be able to determine that there was a failure on the part of a health care professional or facility to provide the requisite standard of care. If that is the case, then it may be advisable to file a lawsuit seeking damages from the negligent party or parties.