What Can I Do If a Surgical Procedure Goes Wrong?

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While surgical negligence is not something that many people experience, it does happen. Surgical negligence is when the surgeon does not fully meet the standard of care expected for a particular surgical intervention. Usually this is the result of the surgeon failing to follow standard medical procedure. The realization of surgical negligence usually happens relatively soon after surgery when a patient does not recover as expected or needs a second surgery to repair the error that occurred during the first surgical intervention.  

Impact of Surgical Negligence on Patience 

When a person experiences surgical negligence, it can result in additional time to recover, additional surgery, lost wages, extended treatment types, and more medications. All these happenings can result in the patient losing quality of life, enduring unnecessary pain, experiencing longer recovery times and incurring additional time lost from work, causing more lost wages. 

What Errors Qualify as Surgical Negligence?  

Surgical negligence can take many forms. Some acts of surgical negligence are minimal and can be easily cured. Other acts can cause permanent damage and a loss of quality of life. 

Some examples of surgical negligence’s include: 

  • An infection that is the result of using a non-sterile instrument 
  • A small surgical tool being left inside of the patient such as a small sponge, a piece of gauze or a surgical clamp 
  • A lack of careful explanation about the risks of the surgical procedure 
  • Performing surgery on the wrong body part 
  • Causing additional damage to another body part during the surgery 
  • Inadequately concluding the surgery by improperly closing wound or surgical incision 

What is the Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Surgical Negligence?  

There is a big difference between a physical who commits medical malpractice and one that commits medical or surgical negligence. The main difference is that a surgeon who commits medical malpractice is one that is believed to have taken an intentional action that resulted in additional harm to the patient. This is also known as an intentional breach of the medical standard of care. Surgical negligence is akin to an accident. The surgeon is believed to have intentionally gone against the standard of care but made an unintentional mistake. 

How Do You Prove Surgical Negligence?  

You must be able to show that the surgeon did not use the proper standard of care as expected of a medical practitioner and the error must have caused harm or injury to the patient or an undisclosed risk caused the injury or harm to the patient. 

If there is no additional injury or harm, then even with the making of a mistake, it is possible no compensation will be awarded. 

What Types of Damages Can Be Recovered? 

If you are injured because of surgical negligence, you can claim certain types of damages. Those damages may include: 

  • Lost wages and/or superannuation values 
  • Additional physical pain and suffering 
  • Cost of additional treatment such as physical therapy, medications, long term care 
  • Psychological distress 
  • Any level of additional permanent disability 

Similar to other types of injuries, a surgical negligence will require the filing of a lawsuit and participation in mediation and/or arbitration and/or other forms of litigation, which can result in a settlement agreement or a court finding of negligence and an award of compensation. 

In the event that you find yourself in need of assistance, please contact the law offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780. 



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