Surgical Errors That Show Up Later
We’ve all heard the horror stories about a surgeon operating on the wrong body part or even on the wrong patient. However, some surgical errors only become obvious after the surgery is over.
Many different things cause surgical errors, and they can lead to complications, devastating injury, and even death. Surgeons, like any doctor, can be liable for their negligence or substandard care under a theory of medical malpractice. To prove a case for medical malpractice, the patient must show the doctor had a duty to the patient, the doctor breached that duty by employing substandard care, the breach was the cause of the patient’s harm, and the patient actually suffered injuries as a result.
Here’s a look at some of the common manifestations of surgical errors that become apparent only after the surgery is completed:
Hemiparesis. This is a weakness on one side of the body. While the patient can move the impaired side of the body, there is reduced muscular strength, resulting in loss of motor skills or cognitive dysfunction. An injury to the brain or spinal cord during surgery can be the cause.
Brain damage. Surgical errors such as misdiagnosis, untimely response, medication error, anesthesia error, or failure to properly implant a shunt in the brain can all lead to a patient suffering a brain injury during surgery.
Cauda equina syndrome. This is a severe disorder resulting post-surgery from compression on the spinal nerve roots that send and receive messages to and from the legs and pelvic organs. Severe low-back pain and numbness are the result, and another emergency surgery is usually necessary to prevent permanent damage such as paralysis.
Improper suturing. Sutures are used both internally and externally. Improper suturing can result in severe complications, including infection, blood loss, wound reopening, scarring and disability.
Postoperative infections. If a patient undergoes surgery in unsanitary conditions, infection may occur. While some infection is treatable, sometimes severe sepsis or death can result. Unsanitary conditions may be the fault of the hospital, the surgeon or the surgical nurses.
If you or someone you love has suffered injury because of an error involving surgery, contact an experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice law firm to assist you, because these claims are highly complex and require expert testimony.