Lawyers for Victims of Surgical Mistakes in Georgia
When you woke up from surgery, you expected your doctor to say that everything went well. You assumed you’d be given information about your recovery, prognosis and any follow-up care. But that didn’t happen. Instead, you were told that you were the victim of a surgical mistake that will permanently change your life. Now you want to know what went wrong, who is responsible and what your legal rights in Georgia may be.
Call the Atlanta-based attorneys of Monge & Associates or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. Our surgical errors lawyers will aggressively investigate your case to identify the at-fault parties and make sure that you receive compensation for your injuries.
Our firm offers a satisfaction guarantee. If you are not 100 percent satisfied with our services during the first 30 days after hiring our firm, your case file will be returned to you with no questions asked.
Another guarantee: If we don’t win, you won’t pay us.
The legal team of Monge & Associates serves clients in Atlanta, Decatur, Lithonia, College Park, East Point, Stone Mountain, Norcross, Conyers, Riverdale, Duluth, Fayetteville, Loganville and across Georgia and the Southeast.
ABOUT SURGICAL MISTAKES
Cases involving surgical mistakes fall under an area of the law known as medical malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or healthcare team acts negligently throughout the course of treatment, leading to a patient’s injury or death.
The Joint Commission on Transforming Healthcare refers to a surgical mistake as a “sentinel event,” or an unexpected occurrence that causes death or serious physical or psychological injury to an individual. According to the Joint Commission, sentinel events “signal the need for immediate investigation and response.” But doctors are not required to report surgical mistakes to the commission, making it difficult to determine how widespread the problem is.
TYPES OF SURGICAL ERRORS
Surgical errors can happen in any specialty of medicine, although they most frequently appear to occur in orthopedics, podiatry, general surgery, urology, neurosurgery and eye surgery.
Common mistakes include:
- Wrong-site surgery: Wrong-site surgery occurs when physicians operate on the incorrect side of the body. A recent report from the Joint Commission estimates that wrong-site surgery happens about 40 times per week nationwide and is the third most common sentinel event.
- Wrong surgical procedure: A lack of organization among the medical team has led to cases where patients undergo an operation that they do not need or have not consented to.
- Surgical instrument left in body: Operations require many different types of tools. Negligent surgeons may close an incision without remembering to remove tweezers, sponges, gauze, forceps, clamps, retractors, suction tubes, needles or other devices. Infection, permanent organ damage, paralysis, disability and other health problems may result.
- Wrong patient surgery: Failure to verify a patient’s identity in pre-operative settings has led to patients undergoing operations that were meant for someone else.
- Damage from planned surgery: Sometimes even planned surgeries don’t go well. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you are the victim of a surgical mistake caused by a negligent doctor. However, if your surgeon behaved negligently or failed to inform you of the risks of your procedure, he or she may be liable for that omission.
- Birth injuries: Delivering a baby is one of the most common forms of surgery today. But it is also a very fragile process. Medical providers who fail to notice signs of distress on the fetal monitoring strips, misuse forceps or vacuum extractors or who don’t perform a timely Caesarean section in an emergency may be held liable for severe birth injuries to the newborn, which may include traumatic brain injuries, cerebral palsy, nerve damage, Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy and shoulder dystocia, among others.
- Surgery unrelated to the patient’s diagnosis.
CAUSES OF SURGICAL MISTAKES
Studies suggest that the majority of surgical mistakes can be traced back to a few key points:
- Failing to collect adequate information during scheduling and pre-op;
- Ineffective communication among the medical team;
- Distractions in the operating room;
- Failure for the entire surgical team to participate in “time out” – a period just preceding surgery where doctors and nurses confirm the patient’s name, surgical site and type of procedure being performed.
The Joint Commission has created guidelines, called the Universal Protocol, intended to prevent surgical mistakes by ordering better patient verification, site marking and time outs. But the agency acknowledges that it will take more than guidelines to implement change because doctors enjoy their autonomy in the operating room and resist the idea of standardized rules.
WHAT IS MY CASE WORTH?
All surgeries carry some element of risk. But if medical negligence is responsible for your poor outcome, you may be eligible to receive money to cover medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation and pain and suffering, among other things.
Call the lawyers of Monge & Associates or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation. There is no fee unless we obtain a recovery on your behalf.