Legal representation for victims of medical malpractice
For many people, surgery is stressful due to the numerous risks involved. Most people choose to undergo surgery because they have no other choice, and they trust their doctor and surgeon to provide knowledgeable care. Unfortunately, surgeons can make mistakes. Some common errors include operating on the wrong person, operating on the wrong part of the body, performing the wrong operation, implanting an incompatible organ, amputating the wrong body part, leaving sponges or other foreign objects behind in the body, or using equipment that has not been properly sterilized.
Proving liability for surgical errors
If you are suing for a surgical error, you need to prove the standard of care, the surgeon’s breach of the standard of care, a causal connection from the breach to your harm, and actual damages. A surgeon can usually be held responsible for medical malpractice if he or she deviated from the standard of care, thereby causing injuries. The standard of care in a surgical error case is the accepted set of standards and practices that a reasonable surgeon in the same specialty would follow in operating on a similar patient under the same circumstances.
In certain cases, such as those involving surgery on the wrong body party, the removal of the wrong organ, or a foreign object left inside the body, the surgical error is more easily proven. In general, these types of errors do not happen without negligence. However, in other cases, a more complex analysis is required. For example, whether a surgeon should realize that an operative site is infected or that an organ has been punctured can require more expert investigation. Whether a surgery was performed with reasonable justification can also be a complicated analysis. A surgical error attorney can guide injured patients through this process.
If you successfully prove that a surgical error was medical malpractice, you may be able to recover both economic and non-economic compensatory damages. Economic damages include out-of-pocket expenses, lost income, lost earning capacity, past and future medical bills (including any additional surgery that is needed), household services, and other objective costs. Non-economic damages are intangible losses that can vary dramatically based on the impressions of who is evaluating them. They may include loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.
In some cases, you may be able to hold a hospital vicariously liable for a surgical error, such as when the defendant surgeon is an employee of the hospital. A hospital can also be held vicariously liable for a surgeon with an independent contractor status when the hospital acts in a way that would lead a reasonable person to believe the surgeon is its agent or employee, and the patient relies on these actions.
Tim Chelpaty Law Office
121 Wyatt Dr. Suite #2
Las Cruces, NM 88005
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