Surgical procedures can be life-saving for people suffering from a variety of illnesses and injuries. People trust their surgeons not just with their well-being, but with their lives. Doctors, and especially surgeons, go through years of training to learn how to do their jobs properly and to ensure the wellbeing of their patients. They learn to perform each procedure with caution, and their line of work requires that they pay attention to every single move they make. However, when surgeons neglect to conduct these procedures with extreme care, they put the patient at risk, and the surgery can go from life-saving to life-threatening. It may be shocking that such a highly trained professional could be so careless, but in fact, over 4,000 preventable surgical errors occur in the United States every year.
Surgeons who make careless errors while operating put patients in danger of serious injury or even death. In doing so, they betray the trust patients and families have in them. At Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, we believe negligent surgeons should pay for the harm they cause to vulnerable patients. If you or someone you love was hurt by a surgical error, we will fight tirelessly for you and help you hold the medical professionals responsible financially accountable. Give us a call at 312-346-8620 or utilize the live chat feature on our website to set up a confidential consultation to see if our dedicated Chicago area surgical error attorneys are the right fit for you.
Why You Need a Lawyer
If a surgeon was negligent and it led to injury for you or a loved one, you have likely gone through an extremely time-consuming and stressful ordeal. Fighting a legal battle to prove their negligence should not be at the top of your list of priorities, so let it be on top of ours. We will work to ensure you get the justice you deserve for the pain your doctor put you through by being negligent on the job.
In some cases, it can be difficult to prove that a surgeon was negligent. Surgery requires a very specific skill set, and not many people outside of surgeons themselves understand what is expected of them when they take on a procedure. This means you will likely have to hire an expert witness to identify what went wrong and whether that constitutes malpractice. Surgical errors typically happen because of a failure to pay attention or a failure in communication between the surgeon, their surgical team, the nurses, and the patient themselves.
Additionally, there is a certain level of risk with any surgery, no matter how simple it appears to be, and surgeons make their patients sign consent forms beforehand to acknowledge this risk. You have the right to legally pursue compensation for surgical errors, however, because by their very nature they are avoidable. They are mistakes that, because of their high level of training, the surgeon never should have made. You can and should make sure your surgeon pays for their actions, but you should retain legal counsel to ensure the right steps are taken in order for the court to find your doctor legally negligent.
Why Choose Us?
Here at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, we have many talented surgical error attorneys who will help you get justice for the ordeal your physician put you through. Jonathan B. Fleisher, one of the partners at our firm, has vast experience with medical malpractice cases. He has worked with us since he received his J.D. in 1995, and is a native to the Chicago area, so he is dedicated to defending the people of this city. He has had multiple successes in cases where clients have been awarded upwards of $1,000,000. Charles V. Falkenberg, III, another partner at our firm with experience in medical malpractice claims, takes on even the hardest cases. He, too, has had clients achieve payouts over $1,000,000, and he also steps up to take on the cases that attorneys from other firms have turned down. He received his J.D. from Loyola University here in Chicago in 1986, and was nominated by peers to be a “Leading Lawyer” honoree by Law Bulletin Publishing Co.
When you choose Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, you are choosing trustworthy, caring, sympathetic attorneys who want nothing more than to help you achieve justice for your surgical error case. We will work with you to establish a case you are comfortable with and that will gain you the compensation you deserve. The world of medical malpractice law can be very confusing, but here at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, you will be our first priority.
Types of Surgical Errors
Surgery is often a complex procedure involving many steps, and that means many opportunities for the procedure to go wrong. Even so, it is surprising how wrong a careless surgeon can get it. Here are some of the most common and dangerous types of easily preventable surgical errors:
- Foreign object left in the body: Since many objects used in surgery are more or less disposable, a careless surgeon will sometimes leave one behind and close it up inside the body.
- Wrong body site: Sometimes, a surgeon’s negligence will lead them to operate on the wrong part of the body, even if the correct part has been marked off beforehand.
- Wrong procedure: Surgeons who fail to pay attention may perform the wrong type of procedure on it. This new procedure may actually make your condition worse.
- Wrong patient: Some surgeons are even so careless as to perform a procedure on the wrong patient altogether.
- Incorrect incisions: If a surgeon isn’t paying attention, they could place an incision in the wrong place, cut incorrectly, or make the incision larger than necessary, leading to unnecessary pain and prolonged recovery time.
- Prolonged surgery: The more time a patient spends under anesthesia, the more likely they are to develop complications. If a surgeon makes a mistake that significantly increases the surgery time, they could be considered negligent.
- Damage to nearby organs: Sometimes, if a surgeon isn’t as precise as they were trained to be, they can make errors that not only affect the site of the surgery, but nearby areas of the body as well.
- Anesthesia errors: This type of mistake can happen if an anesthesiologist gives a patient a sedative they have a known allergy to or if they do not give the patient enough anesthesia and they begin to wake up during the procedure.
Any of these errors expose patients to a risk of unnecessary injury, and some may require the patient to go recover from an incorrectly performed procedure only to go back into surgery for the procedure they needed in the first place. Whether a surgeon’s mistake leads to injury, the need for additional surgery, or death, they deserve to be called out for it to ensure the same mistake does not happen again with a different patient on the table. Additionally, you deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering, medical bills, permanent disability, lost wages, emotional distress, or any other consequences that result from such a careless mistake. Pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit with the assistance of a lawyer from Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC can accomplish both of these goals.
How Do Surgical Errors Happen?
When a patient goes in for surgery, they put a lot of trust in the doctor performing the surgery. They expect the surgery to go flawlessly and the recovery to be smooth. Unfortunately, careless mistakes sometimes happen. There are several reasons why surgical errors occur, such as:
- Communication error: This can happen when the staff and/or surgeon miscommunicate vital information, even though this information should have been carefully documented and reviewed. Miscommunication could result in the wrong medication being given, the wrong tool being used, or even the wrong surgery being performed.
- Fatigue: The surgeon may have worked long hours for consecutive days. They may be performing the surgery with little to no sleep, which can result in errors.
- Going too fast: A surgeon who rushes through surgery is much more likely to cause errors. Usually, the surgeon has very specific protocols or procedures to follow to help prevent injury and infection. The surgeon may become overconfident and skip certain steps in order to get the surgery done quicker.
- Insufficiently prepared: Just like any other job, a surgeon and their team need to be fully prepared for the surgery ahead of them. If the surgeon forgets a crucial step, or if a crucial tool is missing, errors can result. Also, an unprepared surgeon may get more easily flustered if something goes wrong or the patient has complications.
- Substance abuse: Surgeons have stressful professions, and sometimes, some surgeons will turn to drugs or alcohol in order to cope with their anxiety. When a surgeon is impaired while performing surgery, they may make a serious mistake.
- Neglect: Sometimes, doctors are careless and aren’t as safe as they could be when they’re preparing for or performing the surgery. They may forget to remove a tool from the surgery site, for example, or they may neglect to review postoperative care with the patient.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Surgical Errors?
In most instances, your body will let you know if something isn’t right following surgery. Don’t delay if you or someone you know begin to feel unexpected symptoms following your surgery, such as:
- Slower than normal healing
- Pain and tenderness
There are also a couple of other signs to watch out for. Surgical Site Infections (SSI) are infections that happen at the location the surgery took place. Although rare, 1 to 3 out of 100 surgery patients develop an infection after surgery. Here is what to watch out for:
- Redness, pain, and discomfort in the area where the surgery took place
- Drainage of fluid from the wound
It is important that doctors and nurses take precautions to keep infections from happening. They should be washing their hands often, sterilizing equipment, and taking other precautions. If you witness them not taking precautions and think their carelessness may have led to your illness or infection, it’s important to let your attorney know, so they can look into the events that led up to your surgery.
What to Do After Suffering a Surgical Error
If you have been a victim of surgical error, it’s important to contact an attorney to guide you through your legal options. Chances are, the hospital or surgeon’s insurer will try to get you to settle quickly so that they pay out as little as possible and move on.
Your attorney, however, can investigate the circumstances surrounding your surgical error in order to develop a solid legal argument for maximum compensation.
There are a few things that must be proven in a surgical error case:
- Established doctor-patient relationship: In order for the doctor to be liable, there must be an established doctor-patient relationship. When a patient goes to the doctor and discusses the surgery, this is an established relationship.
- The doctor didn’t meet the standard of care: In this situation, you must be able to show that the doctor failed to meet the reasonable standard of care that an average, qualified surgeon in the same practice area would provide in similar circumstances.
- The doctor’s actions led to quantifiable damages: You will need to show that the doctor’s actions actually hurt you in some way. For example, if you can prove that the doctor didn’t wash their hands, and an infection resulted, you likely have a case.
- The injuries are not foreseeable: Your injuries cannot be something predicted as a result of the surgery. If the doctor were to perform the wrong surgery, for example, this is not a foreseeable result of the surgery.
These areas can be difficult to prove, but a qualified and experienced lawyer will know how to demonstrate each of these points in order to help you get the compensation you deserve.
The consequences of a surgical error can be tough to bear. Whatever your situation, Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC can help. Whenever we work with clients who are victims of surgical errors, we take extra care to ensure you are comfortable every step of the way. In some of these cases, patients can feel as though their sense of safety has been compromised and don’t want to face their medical provider in court. However, it is precisely because of that lost sense of safety that you should call your surgeon out on their mistakes. Make sure there are consequences for careless mistakes made on the job. You deserve to feel safe in the hands of your doctor, someone you put so much of your trust in. Make sure that they learn a lesson so that no one else is put in this situation and so that people in the future can also believe that they are in trustworthy hands.
Our medical malpractice attorneys have experience fighting negligent surgeons in Chicago. We will work hard to build your case and increase your chances of winning damages in or out of court. Call the Chicago surgical error attorneys of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC today at 312-346-8620.