Surgeries can resolve your medical problems, but the success of a procedure depends largely on the surgeon’s skill. For this reason, surgical patients in Texas essentially trust their health care providers to do the right thing for them. Due to the complexity and inherent risk of most surgeries, they are the second leading cause of medical malpractice cases after diagnostic mistakes, according to a five-year study conducted by a medical liability insurer.
Errors attributed to surgeons
Researchers for the insurer identified 2,579 claims arising from surgical mistakes. Their analysis revealed that in 78% of those cases, the victims blamed their poor outcomes on the performance of the surgeon. A close look at these cases showed that 39% of claims cited insufficient technical skill. Another 27% of the cases blamed poor clinical judgment and communication.
Surgical specialties most associated with malpractice
The top three surgical specialties involved in the malpractice claims were general surgery, orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery. These surgical areas accounted for almost half of all surgical mistake insurance claims.
Permanent harm frequently suffered by victims
Surgical errors often resulted in permanent harm or death. The data showed that 29% of surgical injuries were significant and permanent. The patients died in 9% of the cases considered by the study.
Surgical patients vulnerable at all stages
Although the data indicates that the surgery itself will likely be the riskiest part of your surgical care, malpractice can occur at other times. A clinician’s decision making that promotes the surgery may be the primary source of error. Mistakes during follow-up care might also cause harm.
Legal advocacy for patients
The law places high standards on proving negligence in a medical setting. When you cannot get clear answers from a surgeon or health care facility, legal representation may overcome these barriers. An attorney motivated by your need for justice after an unacceptable medical procedure might strengthen your malpractice case. Legal counsel may collect independent testimony about the failures that caused medical harm.