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Atlanta Surgical Error Lawyer

Surgeons are regarded as some of the most highly skilled members of the medical profession. They carry the responsibility of performing their jobs flawlessly. In many cases, anything short of perfection can have a serious negative impact on the welfare of the patient. If you or someone you love has suffered because of a surgeon’s error, you should seek the advice of a reputable personal injury attorney right away.

If you have suffered any kind of ill effect due to a surgical error, call our Atlanta surgical error lawyers today for a free consultation.

Why Choose Us For You Surgical Error Claim

These cases can be extremely complex. Hospitals and surgeons have high-priced lawyers who will argue that the surgeon followed best practices and that, in all likelihood, there was nothing that could have been done to avoid the error.

  • We have over 35 years of experience fighting for those who have been injured due to medical malpractice.
  • We do our own work – the lawyers you meet are the lawyers that actually handle your case.
  • We have a proven track record of success and have recovered millions of dollars for our clients.

Types of Surgical Errors We Handle

At the law firm of Hilley & Frieder, P.C., in Atlanta, we have helped countless clients to successfully resolve claims against some of the most recognized hospitals and health care organizations in Georgia. We are fearless in our advocacy for our clients, and we will not stop fighting until we are satisfied that the best possible compensation package is on the table. If a fair settlement can’t be negotiated, we are fully prepared to take your case to court.

We have helped clients successfully resolve all types of surgical error claims, including:

  • Unnecessary surgeries
  • Botched surgeries leading to infection or other injuries
  • Leaving a medical instrument inside the patient, such as a forceps or sponge
  • Injuring a different organ or body part during surgery
  • Performing surgery on the wrong body part
  • Use of incompatible or diseased tissue samples
  • Performing surgery on the wrong patient
  • Performing the incorrect type of surgery
  • Anesthesia mistakes, such as too much or too little anesthesia
  • Intubation errors
  • Wrongful death due to a surgical error

No matter what type of surgical error injured or affected you in Atlanta, contact us to find out how we can help. Our lawyers will listen to your story and let you know if we believe you have the elements of a medical malpractice lawsuit. If for some reason we cannot take your case, we will direct you to a qualified colleague who can.

Why Do Surgical Errors Occur?

According to researchers from Michigan State University and Kaweah Delta Medical Center, approximately 4,000 surgical errors occur each year in the United States. These errors result in severe complications and major injuries for many patients. These errors tend to come from issues before and after the surgical procedure, rather than during the surgery itself.

Some of the most common causes of surgical errors include the following:

  • Rushed procedures and time pressure
  • Miscommunication between medical staff
  • Lack of communication between the surgeon and the patient
  • Use of dangerous or defective equipment
  • Lack of rules or regulations
  • Lack of adequate training
  • Human error
  • Fatigue
  • Use of drugs and alcohol
  • Lack of appropriate hygiene procedures

While an operating room can be a stressful place, it is the responsibility of all medical professionals involved in the procedure to ensure a patient is receiving a reasonable standard of care. If a healthcare provider fails to provide this care and causes harm to the patient, he or she commits an act of medical malpractice.

How Common Are Surgical Mistakes?

No patient wants to believe that he or she can become the victim of a surgical error. Yet thousands of these cases have come to light over the years. Medical errors are currently recognized as a major public health problem. While expert opinions on this statistic vary, a publication by Johns Hopkins Medicine in 2016 asserted that medical error was the third leading cause of death in the country.

After analyzing death data over an eight-year period, researchers at Johns Hopkins concluded that 10 percent of all U.S. deaths were due to medical mistakes. They found that an estimated 250,000 deaths were caused by medical errors each year. On the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Lead Causes of Death in 2020 List, this places medical errors at number three (excluding deaths related to COVID-19).

It is difficult to find accurate data on surgical errors specifically. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one study found an incident rate of just 1 in 112,000 surgical procedures – but this study only looked at procedures performed in operating rooms. Another study found that about half of serious surgical errors occurred outside of the operating room. This places the number of surgical errors much higher than the first study.

Are All Surgical Errors Considered Malpractice?

No, all surgical errors are not considered medical malpractice in Atlanta. For a patient to have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Georgia, a surgical error must have involved the negligent or wrongful act of a health care professional. The surgeon or health care practitioner must have made a mistake that a prudent professional would not have made in the same or similar circumstances.

Four key elements are necessary to prove that a surgical error is medical malpractice:

  1. The defendant owed the patient a duty to use a reasonable amount of care. A doctor-patient relationship must have existed at the time of the alleged surgical error, giving the surgeon or medical professional a legal obligation to uphold the medical industry’s standards of patient care.
  2. The defendant failed to meet the standard of care. The defendant must be guilty of a breach or violation of the standard of care during the operation – an act or omission that fell short of proper surgical or patient-care procedures.
  3. The defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate cause of the surgical error and the plaintiff’s related losses. There must be a provable link between the defendant’s negligent act or omission and the patient’s injury or illness.
  4. The plaintiff suffered compensable damages due to the surgical error. The patient must have real and specific losses connected to the surgical error, such as medical bills or permanent disability.

The burden of proof in a surgical error lawsuit is a preponderance of the evidence, or clear and convincing evidence. This is enough proof to persuade the courts that medical malpractice occurred with at least a 51 percent likelihood. In addition, you need an “affidavit of expert.” This is a legal document prepared by a qualified medical expert who agrees that the defendant in your case committed at least one negligent act. An attorney at Hilley & Frieder, P.C. can help you with all of the elements necessary for a surgical error lawsuit in Atlanta.

Common Complications Due to Surgical Errors

While all surgeries carry the risk of complications, injuries due to surgical error can have significant adverse effects on patients. Depending on the nature of the harm, a patient can suffer from any of the following complications due to surgical error:

  • Permanent nerve damage: A surgeon may slice through a nerve while performing delicate surgery, leading to a loss of sensation or function.
  • Brain damage: Anesthesia miscalculations, improper monitoring during a surgical procedure, and other acts of malpractice can lead to a lack of oxygen to the brain during surgery. Prolonged oxygen deprivation can lead to permanent brain damage.
  • Organ damage: A surgeon may accidentally lacerate your internal organs during surgery, leading to bleeding, punctures, and even death.
  • Amputations: A surgeon may perform surgery on the wrong body part, accidentally amputating a healthy limb.
  • Infections: Improper cleaning procedures, non-sterile equipment, and failure to wear personal protective equipment during a surgical procedure can result in the transmission of bacterial infections, such as Hepatitis B.

Damages in Atlanta Surgical Error Lawsuits

If you suffer injuries due to a surgical error in an Atlanta hospital, you have the right to recover compensation for the losses you sustained. This compensation may include both economic and non-economic damages, and, in some cases, punitive damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the tangible losses that you can prove with bills, receipts, invoices, and other forms of documentation. You can recover monetary damages for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earnings, and other expenses related to the surgical error.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify since they refer to your physical and emotional pain and suffering. Your surgical error lawyer will help you estimate the amount of non-economic damages you can claim, which may include the following losses:

  • Depression
  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Disability
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement

Punitive Damages

You may qualify for punitive damages in cases where the surgeon exhibited willful misconduct, malice, fraud, oppression, wantonness, or conscious indifference to the consequences of his or her actions. The ultimate purpose of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault party.

For example, if the surgeon was under the influence of drugs at the time of your surgery, the judge may view this as willful misconduct due to how these substances impair the surgeon’s ability to perform his or her job. In these situations, you may receive additional compensation.

Calculating damages can be complex, but the Atlanta surgical error attorneys at Hilley & Frieder, P.C. have the experience and resources you need to understand your maximum possible settlement. We will evaluate all pathways to optimal compensation and provide you with an estimated settlement amount, helping you avoid accepting a lower offer than what you need to recover.

Schedule Your Free Initial Consultation Today

To discuss your case with an Atlanta medical malpractice attorney, contact us as soon as possible. You can call locally at (404) 233-6200 or toll-free at (877) 938-2300. Reach out today.