Philadelphia Surgical Errors Lawyer

Surgical Malpractice Lawyers

If a surgical error has caused an injury or death in your family, we may be able to help you. The Philadelphia surgical error lawyers at Wapner Newman have years of experience helping victims of surgical errors pursue justice.

Millions of people undergo surgery every year, and most of the time, the surgical procedure goes exactly as planned. But at least 4,000 times per year, serious and fatal mistakes occur in operating rooms.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, nearly 50 percent of surgical errors result in permanent damage to the patient. An additional 16 percent of these errors result in death. These mistakes are often attributable to inattention, fatigue, a lack of regard for safety protocols, or miscommunication. Whatever the reasons may be, a mistake that harms or kills a patient is inexcusable.

If a surgical error has caused an injury or death in your family, there is help available from a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer at Wapner Newman. Our legal team has years of experience helping victims pursue justice for medical malpractice and surgical errors, including plastic surgery malpractice. We work tirelessly to ensure the victims of negligent healthcare providers are compensated for their pain and suffering. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the facts of your case, so call us today to get started.

CONSULTATION CALL (215) 569-0900

How Our Surgical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help You Get Compensation

Our Wapner Newman surgical error malpractice attorneys know how to handle your case

Not everything that goes wrong during surgery is considered medical malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital, or other medical professional deviates from the appropriate standard of care in the medical community and causes injuries to a patient. The standard of care is the watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would exercise, and surgeons are held to a high standard of care.

When you contact our Philadelphia surgical attorneys, we will discuss what happened with your individual situation to see if there is a likelihood that your injuries were caused by malpractice and proceed accordingly.

When our medical malpractice lawyers accept a case, we will…

  • Determine how much your case may be worth by calculating the many damages you’ve experienced
  • Investigate your case and gather evidence such as from photos and videos, medical records and reports
  • Interview witnesses to determine who was responsible for the harm you’ve suffered
  • Deal firmly and aggressively with healthcare providers, insurance companies and other attorneys
  • Build a case based on our research, Pennsylvania law, and similar cases
  • Hire expert witnesses to testify as to the harm you received and how it affects your life and family
  • Fight for compensation through negotiating a settlement or a taking your case to trial, if necessary.

Our Philadelphia Surgical Error Lawyers Must Prove Negligence

In medical malpractice cases, Pennsylvania requires proof that a doctor was negligent and caused injury by acting in a way contrary to how a competent doctor would behave.

To win your surgical error case, our attorneys must be able to show the following:

  • There was a doctor-patient relationship between you and the surgeon.
  • There was a duty of care not to cause harm.
  • This duty was breached, and deviation from the standard of care and doctor negligence caused your injury.
  • You suffered damages as a result, such as loss of income, additional medical expenses, or pain and suffering.

Damages Awards Our Surgical Malpractice Lawyers May Win for You

The compensation you get in a successful lawsuit is called damages and is meant to cover both your economic or monetary losses and your non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.

Damage awards in Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuits fall into the following categories:

1. Compensatory Damages are compensation for both economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic Damages are to cover your actual costs resulting from the malpractice, including:

  • Medical, nursing, prescription, rehabilitation, and continuing care expenses
  • Lost wages from not being able to work
  • Funeral costs, should a death occur.

Non-economic Damages – Non-economic damages are awarded to compensate you for losses that do not have a specific dollar value but negatively affect your life, such as:

  • Physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering, anguish, anxiety, and stress
  • Loss of companionship and consortium
  • Loss of quality and enjoyment of life
  • Physical impairment, disfigurement, and scarring.

2. Punitive Damages
In some rare situations, where the medical malpractice was caused by actions that were willful or wanton misconduct or reckless indifference to your rights, you may also be awarded punitive damages. In Pennsylvania, twenty-five percent of all punitive damages awarded to a patient must go into a special fund known as the MCARE Fund. This fund is to provide payment to patients whose claims exceed the medical malpractice insurance coverage of the healthcare provider.

Amounts of Damage Awards

There is a wide range of damage awards you may receive in a successful surgical error case, ranging from the thousands to the millions of dollars. Our Wapner Newman attorneys will evaluate the circumstances of your case and estimate approximately what fair compensation would be based on factors that include:

  • The extent, severity, and permanence of your injury
  • Whether you will need continuing care
  • Your age, earning capacity, and family situation, and whether you will be able to work in the future
  • Whether death was involved
  • The availability of insurance and personal assets of the defendants
  • The availability of evidence to prove your case.

We will negotiate aggressively with insurers for a reasonable settlement, but are fully prepared to take your case to trial if necessary.

Call for your free case evaluation today at (215) 569-0900

Our Surgical Errors Attorneys Know There Are Many Ways Surgical Errors Can Happen

The Risk of Infection from Surgical Errors

When you undergo surgery, you may anticipate that you’ll be in a sterile operating room with a surgeon, nurse, anesthesiologist, and maybe one or two more medical staff. However, many people may be surprised to learn that often, several people may walk in and out of the sterile OR multiple times during a single operation, even though foot traffic has been associated with surgical-site infection in operating rooms.

A study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website measured the number of times operating room doors opened during surgeries, as well as the number of people in the operating room. The study found that in 14 surgeries totaling 2,442 minutes of operating time, there were 1,682 door swings, with between four and 15 people in the operating room.

Infection is a known risk of surgery, and it’s not always the result of a blatant error. Nevertheless, in a hectic environment where people are moving in and out of an operating room, other mistakes may be likely to occur.

Common Surgical Errors In The Operating Room

Certain types of egregious mix-ups are classified as WSPE (wrong site, wrong procedure, wrong patient errors). Wrong-patient errors may occur because two patients have similar last names or because of mistakes in hospital paperwork.

Surgical Error Infographic

Surgical Errors Stats
4,000 surgical errors occur every year in the United States. Click To View Full Infographic

Wrong-site errors commonly involve limbs or organs that are bilateral – arms, legs, or lungs, for example. In a study originally published in the Archives of Surgery Journal, researchers said cognitive challenges are associated with wrong-site surgery. For example, when a doctor is facing a patient, the patient’s left leg corresponds with the doctor’s right leg. In an operating room, a patient may be rotated to be upside-down relative to the surgeon or face-down on the operating table, causing a surgeon to misremember which side is the surgery target. Hospitals are supposed to make marks on a patient’s body indicating which is the correct side for surgery, but marks can wear off, or even be misinterpreted. In addition, X-rays and other imagery may be incorrectly labeled as “left” or “right.”

Neurosurgeons sometimes make wrong-site errors by performing surgery on the wrong vertebrae. In fact, a study published in the World Neurosurgery journal found that of the 569 surgeons who responded to survey questions, almost 50 percent said they had performed surgery on the wrong level of the lumbar spine at least once, with 20 percent of respondents saying they had been subject to at least one malpractice case due to those errors.

Wrong-procedure errors may occur when a surgeon sees one patient after another, as was the case with a surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital. He said he had two patients – one requiring carpal tunnel surgery and one requiring surgery on a finger. After performing carpal tunnel surgery, he went to operate on the other patient; hospital staff tension was high, with surgeries behind schedule. The surgeon was preoccupied with the previous carpal tunnel surgery and performed the same procedure again, realizing he had made a mistake moments after the operation was finished.

If you suffered injury caused by a surgical error, we can help. Contact our Philadelphia surgical malpractice lawyers at Wapner Newman today to get a free consultation. You can reach us by phone at (215) 569-0900 or use our online form to get help today.

Get Help Today — Call (215) 569-0900

Other Surgery Errors in Malpractice Claims

Other types of surgical errors include:

  • Improper administration of medications or anesthesia
  • Causing damage to organs or nerves because of misuse or mishandling of surgical implements
  • Failure to remove all surgical items from patients

It’s hard to believe an operating room staff could forget to remove a sponge from a patient’s body, or inadvertently stitch-up the surgical wound with a scalpel inside the patient, but these errors occur in approximately 1 out of every 5,500 to 1 out of every 7,000 surgeries.

Retained surgical items (RSIs) may not be discovered until a patient begins feeling ill, develops an infection, or experiences unexplainable pain. Sometimes, these effects may arise long after the surgery where the error occurred. Usually, patients will require subsequent surgery to remove the object, and the internal damage from RSIs can cause severe injury, illness, and death.

Human Factors in Surgical Errors

Surgical errors often occur because of multiple factors present at the time, such as operating room traffic, stress, and poor communication. And fatigue has increasingly come into focus as a leading cause of surgical errors.

The Patient Safety Authority of Pennsylvania issued a press release in June 2014 stating that in a nine-year period, fatigue had been a factor in at least 1,600 adverse medical events in hospitals, and of those events, 37 caused harm to patients and four caused death. These mistakes most often occurred in the medical-surgical unit or emergency room. The press release also stated that nurses who work 12-hour shifts common in most hospitals have nearly triple the risk of making an error.

Our Philadelphia Surgical Error Attorneys

Surgeons, nurses, radiologists, anesthesiologists – even the hospital itself – could be to blame when a surgery goes awry. If you or a loved one have suffered due to a surgical error, we want to help you by finding out who was responsible and holding them accountable.

We work on a contingency basis, so there is no cost to you unless and until we win your case.

Don’t wait to get help. Contact our Philadelphia surgical error attorney today via our online form, or call us at (215) 569-0900. Our team helps clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Help is Available Now — Call (215) 569-0900