Chicago Surgical Error Lawyers
Understanding the Impact of Surgical "Never Events"
Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans trust surgeons with their lives and wellbeing. Unfortunately, surgical errors are a reality, and they occur more often than you might think. According to a study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers, medical errors cause more than 250,000 deaths every year, which would make them the third leading cause of death in the United States. While many surgical errors cause serious consequences, some are so severe that they have been given their own term: "never events."
The term was coined back in 2001 by the National Quality Forum’s former CEO, Ken Kizer, MD, to describe errors so egregious that they should never occur under any circumstances. According to Johns Hopkins patient safety researchers, there are about 4,000 never events every year. Surgical mistakes happen up to 80 times a week and cost the U.S. healthcare industry around $1.3 billion in lawsuits annually. If you or someone you love was injured during surgery, contact our Chicago surgical error attorneys to learn if you might have a case.
Injured During Surgery? Call Power Rogers, LLP for a Free Consultation
There are no excuses for never events, which is the reason for their moniker. Unfortunately, thousands of people each year fall victim to surgical mistakes and are put at risk of serious complications that could turn what should have been a simple procedure into a life-changing one. At Power Rogers, LLP, our team has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients, including the largest medical malpractice verdict in history. Fill out our online form for a free case evaluation, or call us at (312) 313-0202.
Common Types of Surgical Errors & Mistakes
- Leaving a Foreign Object in a Patient: Surgeons reportedly leave foreign objects like gloves, sponges, towels, or other types of medical supplies inside of patients 39 times per week. Complications vary depending on where the object was left, as well as what object was left inside the patient. Many cases can cause significant pain and infection, and the most severe can lead to death.
- Surgery Performed on the Wrong Patient: This type of error is most often caused by miscommunication, a clerical error, or failing to confirm which patient is on the operating table. This type of error occurs approximately 20 times per week in the United States, and can lead to anything from unnecessary amputations and organ removal to death.
- Incorrect Surgery Performed on the Patient: Even when the right patient is on the operating table, miscommunication, a clerical error, or failing to confirm the correct procedure can lead to the incorrect procedure being performed.
- Surgery Performed on the Wrong Body Part: Again, miscommunication, a clerical error, or failing to confirm the proper location of the surgery can result in the surgeon performing the scheduled surgery on the wrong part of the body. This type of error could lead to the unnecessary removal of perfectly healthy organs or body parts, but can also lead to death if the proper procedure was for an ailment that needed immediate attention.
- Accidental Perforation/Incision of Organs: Another serious surgical error is accidental perforation/incision. During surgery, doctors can accidentally nick a nearby organ. If undetected, this could result in dangerous internal bleeding.
The Long-Term Impact of Surgical Malpractice
Anytime an individual is scheduled to undergo surgery, it can be a bit intimidating. The doctor performing the surgery is expected to have the proper training and precision to complete any type of procedure without causing further issues or harm. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. There are a number of physicians who make mistakes and such errors have the potential to affect the life of the patient forever.
Future Medical Treatment
If a surgical error causes long-term pain, it may be necessary for the patient to undergo further surgeries or participate in rehabilitation. Other medical treatment such as prescriptions may also be needed for the pain involved. These can all result in high costs. If the surgical error is the cause for further medical treatment, the patient may be able to seek compensation in order to cover these expenses.
Loss of Earning Capacity
Depending on the severity of the surgical error, the patient may be unable to return to work. If this happens, the family may lose the resources and the earning capacity they had prior to the surgery. This may also be compensable by filing a medical malpractice claim.
While some surgical errors can leave patients permanently disabled, there may be a situation in which the individual is only partially disabled. This may require him or her to change jobs, though. If this is the case, seeking compensation can help with the costs of vocational training in order to allow the patient back into the workforce at a position more suitable for their situation.
How Our Surgical Malpractice Lawyers in Chicago Can Help
If you or a loved one was seriously injured because of a surgical mistake, particularly if the injury required additional surgery or resulted in long-term damage, we encourage you to contact our Chicago surgery error attorneys for a free consultation. We have recovered more than $4 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, and we don’t charge our clients unless we win on their behalf.