Patients entrust their health to highly trained doctors and surgeons every day. A patient should never have to wonder if they will be safe in doing so, but unfortunately, healthcare professionals make mistakes more often than people may think. Surgical mistakes can be some of the most serious instances of medical malpractice, and could end up causing severe injury or death to a patient. These mistakes can occur before, during, or after a procedure.
If you or someone you know has been harmed by a medical professional due to a surgical mistake, you may be eligible for compensation. We invite you to contact our Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice attorneys to discuss potentially filing a claim – We have the experience to successfully handle your severe medical malpractice case.
Contact Our Fort Lauderdale Surgical Error Attorney
At Kelley/Uustal, we make your fight our fight. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys believe in justice for all, which is why when you retain our firm, you pay nothing up front to begin your case. With our contingency fee guarantee, you only pay if our attorneys are able to make a recovery on your behalf. Initial consultations are also provided free of charge, so there is absolutely nothing to lose in calling our firm and speaking with an experienced Florida surgical error attorney. Call us today for your free case consultation, (954) 522-6601.
Our Medical Malpractice Case Results
- $38,500,000.00 – Anesthesia error leading to permanent brain injury
- $7,000,000.00 – Emergency room error leading to stroke in young boy
- $2,580,000.00 – Confidential settlement in birth injury case
- $1,950,000.00 – Medication mix-up leading to brain injury
- $1,200,000.00 – Confidential settlement in birth injury case
Many issues that arise before surgery involve patients that should not be having surgery to begin with. Pre-surgery errors may include:
- Ordering a surgery that is not necessary
- Ordering a surgery based on a mistaken diagnosis
- Failing to appropriately assess a patient’s symptoms
- Failing to account for “co-morbidities” that may outweigh the risks associated with a non-medically necessary procedure
Mistakes During Surgery
Surgeries can be complex and thus present a number of opportunities for error. Mistakes commonly made during surgery include:
- Anesthesia errors (delivering too much or not enough medication)
- Performing surgery on the wrong site
- Retained towels, sponges, and/or instruments
- Using non-sterile techniques that lead to infection
- Accidental injury to other body structures, such as nerves, blood vessels, organs, or bowels
Issues After Surgery
Surgical mistakes that arise after a procedure typically involve a failure to recognize and treat injuries that occurred during the surgery. If these injuries are not promptly identified and cared for, a patient is at a serious risk of developing potentially life-threatening complications, such as infections, which can lead to permanent injury or death.
Cosmetic Surgery Injuries
Cosmetic surgery is almost always an elective surgery designed to improve a person’s appearance. However, it is still surgery and can result in serious and life-altering health consequences. There are several issues that arise frequently with cosmetic surgery, including the following:
- Many plastic surgeons operate in their office and perform complicated procedures that require patients to be under the influence of general anesthesia for several hours at a time. If an emergency arises, they are often ill-equipped to address it, especially if they are not near a hospital. Also, many plastic surgeons use nurse anesthetists instead of professional anesthesiologists to save money. During a complicated procedure, it is a nurse who manages a patient’s breathing, circulation, and airway.
- Another current trend is for non-plastic surgeons to perform plastic surgery procedures. Obstetricians and other non-surgeons are taking weekend courses in liposuction and advertising themselves as experts. Optometrists are offering cosmetic procedures. The result is inexperienced doctors venturing out of their expertise and frequently causing undesirable results.
- Problems also frequently arise when patients have co-morbidities (other serious health issues, like diabetes, high blood pressure, or some other disease processes). We, unfortunately, see too many cases where the plastic surgeon risked the patient’s life by placing them under general anesthesia and performing invasive procedures.
How We’ve Helped Recover Compensation for Cosmetic Surgery Errors
A woman who went to a plastic surgeon for a tummy-tuck was overweight and had high-blood pressure, but the surgeon convinced her to have the operation in his office anyway. During the procedure, her blood pressure was allowed to go dangerously low, and she arrested. The surgeons were unable to resuscitate her and she unfortunately died. A $2.2 million recovery was made on behalf of the woman’s husband and children.
Nerve damage and disfigurement are devastating results of cosmetic surgeries gone badly. Still, the most tragic cosmetic surgery cases involve wrongful death and brain damage. Cosmetic surgery is both an art and science, and there is never a guarantee that a patient will be satisfied with his or her cosmetic result (within reason). However, no patient assumes the risk of going to a plastic surgeon to make their breasts or nose look better and losing their life or sustaining a brain injury as a result.
Bariatric Surgery Lawsuits
When a person weighs 20% or more than their ideal body weight, they are considered obese. When a person is overweight and they are at high risk for serious disease or detrimental health conditions, they are considered morbidly obese. A person can also be considered morbidly obese, if they have a body mass index of 40 or more, or are 100 pounds or heavier than their ideal body weight.
According to statistics, over a third of the United States’ population is considered obese or overweight. Out of this total, up to 10 million Americans are considered morbidly obese. Because excessive weight-related issues can pose serious risks and threats to a person’s life, many obese and morbidly obese persons undergo bariatric procedures, such as the following:
- Gastric banding
- Gastric bypass
- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass
Common Errors Before and After Bariatric Procedures
Many bariatric procedures are considered invasive, regardless of whether or not they are minimally invasive. As a result, errors made during bariatric procedures can cause a patient to suffer serious injuries and sometimes wrongful death.
Most medical errors that occur during bariatric procedures can be placed in the following two categories:
- Errors that occur after surgery:
- Example: A person who underwent gastric bypass surgery develops an intestinal blockage after the procedure. This condition leads the person to suffer serious gastric complications or aspiration, a condition that occurs when the contents of the stomach appear in the lungs. Both of these conditions can lead to death if a patient does not receive medical care right away.
- Errors that occur during the procedure:
- Example: A surgeon performing a gastric bypass does not ensure the intestines are completely closed and reattached correctly. As a result, the operation leaks into the patient’s abdomen. If the patient does not receive immediate medical attention, the patient can die.
Kelley/Uustal Recovered $1.5 Million for a Patient’s Family
After undergoing a bariatric procedure, a woman experienced intestinal blockage. Due to this blockage, every food or drink item the woman consumed accumulated in her stomach and small intestine instead of passing through her digestive tract. The bariatric surgeon could have inserted a naso-gastric tube that would pass through her nose and down to her stomach to drain the contents within. However, the surgeon failed to do so. After a few days, while she was undergoing a second procedure to remove the obstruction, she vomited liters of fluid into the lungs and died due to aspiration. Her family immediately contacted our firm and our lawyers were able to recover $1.5 million for the woman’s children from the doctor and hospital.
Like doctors and surgeons, anesthesiologists carry a serious responsibility to their patients. In reality, anesthesia providers are some of the most overlooked yet important care providers during surgery. In addition to administering anesthetic agents, they manage the patients’ fluids, breathing, circulation, and more. Given these serious responsibilities, a negligent anesthesiologist can cause devastating injuries – even wrongful death.
Types of Negligence Linked to Anesthesia Errors:
- Improper management of fluids
- Failing to monitor blood pressure
- Improper breathing management
- Failing to respond to emergencies
In some cases, anesthesia errors happen because an under-qualified person administers and monitors the anesthesia. For example, some hospitals expect a nurse to provide primary anesthesia, while the actual anesthesiologist only oversees the operation. Some hospitals even allow nurses to administer anesthesia without the supervision of an actual anesthesiologist, creating an even higher risk of complication during the procedure.
Our Experience with Anesthesia Error Cases
When it comes to finding the right lawyer for your injury case, experience is key. In the past, our firm has represented clients in anesthesiology error cases, along with other types of surgery lawsuits. In one case, our attorneys helped a man who sustained a significant brain injury after a nurse administered 11 liters of fluid during a hip operation, depriving him of oxygen and causing him to go into cardiopulmonary arrest. The man agreed to undergo the surgery only if an anesthesiologist was present; however, a nurse replaced the anesthesiologist once the patient was unconscious. With the help of Kelley/Uustal, the man recovered a confidential, multi-million-dollar settlement.