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What to Do Should You Fall Victim to Surgical Errors

You go into surgery recognizing that when you wake up, the big toe on your left foot will be gone. This emotionally traumatic event can turn even more devastating when you later discover the diseased big toe is still there and the healthy big toe on your right foot is missing. This kind of surgical never-event happens with disturbing regularity in U.S. hospitals. It is negligence that can qualify as medical malpractice under Florida law.

In fact, a recent study examined U.S. medical malpractice claims and conservatively estimated that surgical teams make completely avoidable errors at a rate of about 4,000 per year. Conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins, the study revealed alarming error rates, such as the following:

  • Leaving foreign objects in patients’ bodies (39 times per week)
  • Performing the wrong procedure on patients (20 times per week)
  • Operating on the wrong body site (20 times per week)

These errors can horribly alter patients’ lives, yet they are easily avoidable by instituting simple safeguards; for example, clearly marking surgical sites, reviewing records immediately prior to surgery and conducting a careful inventory of surgical tools prior to closing the patient. Although hospitals claim to be instituting these and other safety measures, patients need to be proactive by discussing their concerns with their doctors, surgeons and even the individuals responsible for surgical policies within the hospital.

If you sustain permanent injuries as a result of surgical error — and even if additional surgery or other treatment can correct the error — you deserve compensation for your physical and emotional losses. Seek advice and support from an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney to help you pursue the justice you deserve.

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