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Performance issues during surgery can lead to malpractice suits

On Behalf of | May 18, 2020 | Medical Malpractice

A medical mistake taking place during surgery — even if minor — carries the potential for catastrophic bodily harm. In some cases, a patient may require long-term care and treatment. 

Unnecessary injuries that occur during surgeries generally prolong patients’ recovery time and hinder their ability to carry on regular activities or return to work. When a Georgia medical practitioner makes such an error, a patient has a right to pursue a legal action for compensation. 

Second-highest cause of legal actions 

In a study on medical malpractice claims conducted between 2014 and 2018, researchers discovered that stress in care providers ranked as the second-highest reason behind patients filing legal actions. As reported by Business Insurance, malpractice claims asserting mistakes and errors made during an operation accounted for 25% of all actions taken against a physician. 

More than three-quarters of those claims were due to performance issues. Issues concerning a diagnosis resulted in 32% of the claims, which reflected the highest number of incidents. 

Possible causes for surgical mistakes 

Chronic stress reduces an individual’s ability to concentrate. People under stress also become fatigued and begin feeling depressed or anxious. Stress or fatigue can worsen during an operation that requires a high degree of concentration. 

According to a study conducted by a Columbia University researcher, stress can result in 66% more errors taking place during surgery. Sudden noise or falling objects in the operating room could also cause a surgeon to lose focus long enough to mistakenly burn or cut a patient. 

Surgeons and their duty of care 

Medical practitioners owe a duty of care to ensure patients undergo safe procedures with the least possible chance of surgical errors or complications. Injured patients pursuing a legal action may need to show how a surgeon deviated from his or her duty. 

If the standard of medical care falls below the accepted norm and causes harm, both the surgeon and the hospital where a procedure took place could face liability. A remedy may include compensation for an injured patient’s long-term health care, corrective surgery and rehabilitation. If the patient can no longer work, he or she may recover for lost wages.