Surgical Errors

The Maine surgical error attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates are established leaders in medical malpractice law. We are dedicated to protecting the rights of patients injured by surgical errors made by doctors, nurses, and hospital staff. Our offices are conveniently located in Portland, Bangor, and Falmouth to provide quality legal representation to clients throughout Maine.

Patients rely on their physicians to advise them of their safest medical options, from the most conservative to the riskiest. Generally, surgery is the last recourse available to remedy a chronic condition or save a patient’s life. Although rare, errors during surgery can cause serious damage. A recent health services study found that 1 in 10 patients die within 90 days of the operation because of a surgical error. Most of these errors are preventable and are caused by negligence. They may result from a rushed procedure, failure of the surgical team to communicate, or substandard nursing care. Whatever the cause, the impact of a surgical error can be devastating.

Injuries caused by negligence during an operation include:

  • Opening a wound
  • Blood clots or stroke
  • Kidney or liver failure
  • Acute respiratory failure
  • Post-operative infections
  • Pressure ulcers and fractures
  • Burns from cauterization
  • Uncontrolled blood sugar
  • Vascular or pulmonary problems
  • Carrying out the wrong procedure or amputation

Negligence during a surgical procedure can be caused by a variety of factors. With more than 70 million surgeries performed each year, hospitals often have a long line of stretchers waiting to be operated on by one surgical team. The rushed pace and confusion of operating rooms lends itself to a wide range of accidents, from the incorrect positioning of X-rays to wheeling the wrong patient into surgery. One of the most common problems occurs when patients have a bad reaction to anesthesia. Even in outpatient procedures, the parties can have little dialogue: the patient thinks one thing while the doctor thinks another.

Under medical malpractice law, none of these situations justifies a surgical error. Doctors and other health care providers have a strict duty to communicate with patients before the surgery and receive their informed consent. This requires warning patients of all known risks associated with the operation and any long-term effects on their quality of life. After receiving the patient’s consent, surgeons should not operate outside the scope of their agreement, unless they encounter something unexpected that would cause the patient immediate, irreparable harm.

Most hospitals have a universal protocol that requires surgeons to use checklists and “time-outs” to clear up any confusion before operating on a patient. The entire team, including nurses, anesthesiologists, and technicians, must stop all work before beginning the surgery to ensure that the correct patient is on the table and agree on what procedure is being performed. Under these rules, there must be a clearly established procedure to resolve these issues when in dispute. Surgical errors can result in the loss of the hospital’s accreditation, the doctor’s medical license, and expose all liable parties to substantial damages in a medical malpractice suit.

If you were injured by a surgical error, consult the experienced Maine surgical error lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates today. We have successfully represented numerous patients injured by preventable surgical errors. Our in-house investigators and medical experts will thoroughly evaluate the cause of your injury and identify all liable parties. We have recovered substantial jury verdicts and out-of-court settlements for clients throughout Maine. If you had trouble during recovery or think your surgeon’s explanations do not add up, consult one of our seasoned medical malpractice attorneys immediately. Our team can review your records to determine if you have a claim. At Peter Thompson & Associates, we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call our lawyers at 800.804.2004 for a free consultation or contact us online.

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My brother is an attorney in New York. After my accident 2 years ago I asked him what firm I should go with. He researched and told me to call Peter Thompson and Associates. I followed his recommendation and am glad I did. From the opening bell they were timely, informative, professional AND WARM. Thank you. R.S., South Portland, ME