Wrong Patient Surgery, Who is Responsible?

Every day, thousands of people all across the United States turn to their doctors and surgeons for help in repairing a number of issues.  Some of these people require surgeries for conditions that are life threatening, some surgeries are a form of preventative care, and some of these surgeries are elective.  Regardless of the reason for the surgery it is important to understand that all surgeries come with risks, and that even the most highly trained surgeon can make mistakes. 

One issue that can arise when discussing surgical procedures is wrong patient surgery.  This is a very serious problem that is a type of medical malpractice.  As the name suggests, wrong patient surgery is when a surgical procedure is done on the incorrect patient.  This can be enormously dangerous and can yield complications that can be catastrophic or deadly.

If you or someone you know has suffered needlessly because of a wrong patient surgery, it is important to understand that you do have legal rights, and you should speak with a qualified personal injury attorney who specializes in the area of medical malpractice as soon as possible.

Wrong patient surgeries can happen for several different reasons, most commonly due to negligence of, or a mistake on the part of, a doctor, nurse, or another form of medical professional.  A recent report that was published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), found that wrong patient surgery is typically a result of the following:  a miscommunication amongst the members of the surgery team, hospital personnel, or even the patient; atypical emergency situations that arise in the hospital or time constraints; a preoperative process for verification that is lacking or nonexistent; a lack of control and policies in place by the hospital; and various other types of interference.

The consequences that come with a wrong patient surgery can be very serious and can include issues such as infection from a medical procedure that was invasive or unnecessary; a loss of an internal organ or limb; scarring; disfigurement; and even death.  When these consequences result, the patient can become devastated both emotionally and physically. 

When surgery is performed on the incorrect patient, compensation can be awarded by filing a malpractice suit.  There are many different ways to proceed with such a case including filing on the ground of medical negligence, battery, or lack of informed consent.  Damages can be sought for medical bills (past, present, and future related to the wrong patient surgery), pain, suffering, emotional harm, a loss of income, and disfigurement.  In some cases, punitive damages can be sought on top of the other damages.  This is done as a way to punish those responsible for the harm, in an effort to deter future similar acts from taking place.

A wrong patient surgery can be a terribly traumatic event.  Not only is it scary to think that such a major mistake was made, it can be something the patient has to live with for the rest of his or her life, and in some cases could cost the patient his or her life.  If you or someone you know has suffered because of an incident like this, you should not hesitate to contact a qualified, understanding personal injury attorney who specializes in the area of medical malpractice.  These professionals can help you with every aspect of your case, from start to finish, and can help you to obtain the compensation you are entitled to receive.

Generally speaking, when it comes to wrong patient surgery cases it is not a matter of proving fault.  It is simply a matter of proving negligence, which can be somewhat tricky.  This is why you should not attempt to file a claim as serious as this without consulting with an attorney.  Hospitals and insurance companies try many different techniques to bully patients into going away quietly so they do not have to pay.  By hiring an attorney you should the doctor, hospital, and their insurance companies that you are serious, you mean business and you will go to trial if need be; something all responsible parties hope to avoid at all costs.

On top of filing all of the legal paperwork necessary to get your claim started, a personal injury attorney will collect evidence, interview witnesses, gather medical data, and even arrange for the best medical experts to testify should it be needed.  All of these steps can make or break a case, and can have a tremendous impact on the outcome.

Since most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, you do not have to worry about funding your claim upfront.  In fact, most attorneys require no payment whatsoever until the time your case settles.  This can provide you with a great sense of peace of mind as you will be able to focus on your personal health and recovery and be able to rest assured a caring attorney is keeping track of your legal matters.

In the event that you have lost a loved one due to a wrong patient surgery you should know that you may be able to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of your relative.  These claims help to provide compensation for any medical bills that were accrued due to the negligent act, loss of income, pain and suffering, and final expenses and funeral costs. 

A personal injury attorney who specializes in medical malpractice cannot reverse the damage that has been done due to a doctor or hospital’s error.  That being said, they can help you to be able to move forward in a positive direction and help you and your family rebuild the broken pieces left by someone else’s carelessness.  These types of acts should never happen, and they can and should be avoided.  Taking legal action not only helps you to recoup some of your personal losses, it also helps to protect other innocent patients from becoming victims in the future.  Do not risk becoming a victim twice; contact a personal injury attorney today to protect your legal rights.