Surgeons performing a surgery under medical lights.

Surgical Errors and Your Rights as a Patient

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Despite all of the technological advances and oversight in an operating room, errors still occur. If you’ve undergone a surgical procedure and the surgeon or any other medical professional made an error, you have rights. Learn more about what kinds of surgical errors are common and what you can do to get the help you need. 

Surgical Errors and Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a broad term encompassing any negligence by a healthcare provider that harmed a patient. Surgical errors fit under the umbrella of medical malpractice. 

They’re mistakes that take place during surgical interventions and can include everything from operating on the wrong patient or body part to leaving a surgical instrument in the patient’s body. 

Surgical errors, like other types of medical malpractice, cause physical harm as well as emotional distress, leading to higher medical expenses and more. 

Common Types of Surgical Errors

Leaving a foreign object in the patient is a very common surgical error. It can occur in a disorganized or chaotic operating room or if the surgeon and staff are inexperienced. Leaving items like scalpels, gauze, or anything else could lead to discomfort, further injuries, and infections. It can result in the person needing another surgical procedure to remove the item. 

Another common error is surgeons performing the procedure on the wrong body part. Wrong site errors usually occur because of communication problems or negligence. They can result in patients losing healthy organs or limbs. 

Receiving the wrong dose of anesthesia is another serious surgical error. Having too much anesthesia can be highly detrimental, even putting your life at risk. Having too little anesthesia can leave you awake for the procedure but unable to communicate. 

Another type of surgical error is unnecessary injuries during the procedure. If the surgeon or other team member cuts or punctures an organ or other part, it could lead to infections and further need for medical care. 

Performing the wrong operation is another issue. Mixing up patients can lead to people getting the wrong procedures, impacting their recovery and usually meaning they have to go through another surgery. 

Filing a Claim: Your Rights as a Patient

If you’ve suffered because of a surgical error, you have the right to file a claim. It’s essential that you act quickly because New Mexico has a statute of limitations for malpractice lawsuits of three years. These three years begin the moment the malpractice occurs, not the moment you discover it. 

To have the best chance at receiving the compensation you deserve, turn to medical malpractice lawyers. They can gather the necessary evidence that proves your case by acquiring medical records, gathering witness statements, consulting with medical experts, and more.

One of the challenges you will face as you file this claim is to prove that the error occurred as a result of negligence. Because patients have to sign a form that recognizes the risks associated with surgery, the defense can claim that the error fits within that degree of risk. An attorney can help you prove it was negligence. 

Turn to Hunt Law Firm for Help

Going through a surgical procedure is stressful enough, but realizing that the surgeon committed a mistake can leave you with emotional and physical trauma. You don’t have to go through this on your own. In New Mexico, you have rights as a patient. 

At Hunt Law Firm, we’re here to help you get the compensation you deserve for going through this trauma. Contact Hunt Law Firm today to speak with one of our medical malpractice attorneys in Northern New Mexico.