Whether operating on fractured bones or repairing injured joints in our body, , orthopedic surgeons perform sensitive and high-stakes operations each and every day. Most surgeons approach surgery with the utmost care , giving their patients the best chance for full recovery and return to normal function. . However, sometimes orthopedic surgeons make unacceptable mistakes. Even a simple mistake during surgery could cost you or your family greatly.
If an error occurring during orthopedic surgery caused you to suffer severe and permanent physical harm, you can speak with a surgical errors attorney about your legal options. Guidance and support from a knowledgeable Pittsburgh orthopedic surgery errors lawyer will give you the best chances of proving fault in a civil lawsuit. An experienced lawyer can help you recover compensation for damages like lost earnings, medical expenses, and your physical and emotional suffering.
What Kinds of Errors Could Justify Litigation?
There are numerous factors that may increase the risk of an error occurring during orthopedic surgery. Orthopedic surgical errors can be caused by a surgeon who fails to recognize their limits in the face of a difficult operation or fails to use safe surgical techniques. There are well-known complications for each type of orthopedic surgery that a careful surgeon can avoid. Whether through exhaustion from long hours or haste related to an overbooked schedule, surgeons often fail to protect their patients from these avoidable complications.
Doctors and hospitals also have a duty to protect the orthopedic surgery patient after they emerge from the operating room. Post-operatively, some patients may remain at risk for potentially dangerous complications related to orthopedic surgery, like blood clots that can travel to the lungs or excessive bleeding. Doctors and hospitals cannot let down their guard after surgery and must remain alert for the warning signs of serious post-operative complications.
Depending on the circumstances, errors that could lead to a medical malpractice case involving orthopedic surgical errors include:
- Equipment failures
- Incorrect placement of surgical hardware, like plates, pins, screws, and wires
- Severing or excessive compression or stretching of nerves that control movement and sensation in the arms, hand, legs, or feet
- Surgery performed on the wrong part of the body
- Failure to prevent the formation of blood clots in the veins of the leg that can travel to the lungs and cause pulmonary embolism
Failure to properly manage anticoagulation medications for patients at increased risk of bleeding, pulmonary embolism or stroke.
The Standard of Care in Malpractice Cases
Whether a mistake during a surgical procedure constitutes legally actionable malpractice depends primarily on whether the defendant medical professional(s) failed to meet an applicable standard of care. Some standards of surgical care apply to every surgery, such as the practice of taking a “time-out” to assure surgery is performed on the correct patient and part of the body. Another standard that applies to all orthopedic surgery requires surgeons to see and protect the nerves the surgeon will encounter in the surgical field. Nerves can be damaged from electrocautery, retractors, surgical tools and orthopedic hardware like plates and screws.
Often, the standard of care that applies to the case depends on the surgery in question and particular factors related to the patient. For example, the standard of care for managing anticoagulation in a patient who has no history of stroke or atrial fibrillation is different from the standard of care for a patient with a history of stroke or atrial fibrillation.
Usually, in order for an injury related to orthopedic surgery to be considered malpractice, an inexcusable surgical or post-operative mistake must have caused severe, permanent injury or death. Orthopedic surgery is not an exact science. Many patients suffer a poor outcome after surgery through no fault of the surgeon. Also, in many cases, an injured patient will get a second opinion from a different surgeon who may try to fix the problems caused by an initial orthopedic surgery. If the injuries caused by surgery can be fixed through a second surgery, and the patient can experience a full recovery, the potential damages may not be high enough to justify the amount of time and money necessary to hire medical experts and litigate a medical malpractice case involving orthopedic surgery. A Pittsburgh orthopedic surgery errors attorney could explain in detail what might serve as grounds for litigation during a private initial meeting.
What to Know About Malpractice Claims in Pittsburgh
Many times, patients who suffer an injury related to orthopedic surgery see a different orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion. The second orthopedic surgeon might be critical of the surgeon who performed the surgery. However, this type of criticism alone is not enough to justify a lawsuit. Under state law, malpractice plaintiffs must submit a “certificate of merit” with their initial complaint that includes a qualified medical professional’s affirmation that their case is valid. Plaintiffs must also present testimony saying the same from at least one qualified medical expert during ensuing trial arguments.
In addition, most plaintiffs are subject to a two-year statutory filing period beginning from the date they discovered their injuries or reasonably should have noticed them, with very limited exceptions. Support from a skilled lawyer can be crucial to overcoming these and other possible procedural obstacles during an orthopedic surgery error claim in Pittsburgh.
Get in Touch with a Pittsburgh Orthopedic Surgery Errors Attorney Today
Orthopedic surgeries can cause serious damage if not performed correctly, and it is not unheard of for these negligent accidents to occur. Fortunately, if you sustained an injury in this way, you have help available from a dedicated legal professional who has helped other people with similar causes for action achieve positive case results.
A Pittsburgh orthopedic surgery errors lawyer’s guidance could make a massive difference in your odds of obtaining a beneficial resolution to your unique claim. Call today to set up a free case evaluation with a committed member of our legal team.