Archive for the ‘Surgical Errors’ Category

Did You Know What You Were Getting Into Prior to Surgery?

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Pennsylvania law generally requires that a patient provide informed consent to an operation before it occurs. Informed consent is not the same thing as consent. It is not enough for you to say, “yes, go ahead with the operation.”

Before those words have any legal meaning, you must be informed about:

  • The procedure about to be done to you;
  • The risks of the procedure; and
  • Any reasonable alternatives to the procedure.

While there are exceptions to the informed consent rule, most notably in emergency situations, it is important for everyone to be aware of the information to which they are entitled before they need it.

You should expect your doctor to give you the information that you need to make a reasonable decision. If your doctor does not obtain your informed consent prior to surgery, your case does not fit into an exception to the informed consent rule, and you suffered a physical injury then you may be entitled to damages.

Do doctors always take the time to get your informed consent? Do you think the informed consent rule is useful? Please leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Can You Sue for an Elective Surgery Mistake?

Monday, October 24th, 2011

The decision about whether to have elective surgery may not be one of life or death.  You are likely choosing elective surgery because it will improve your quality of life, not because you are seeking to save your life.

However, when it comes to medical malpractice, that distinction is not important.  A surgeon performing elective surgery is required to exercise a reasonable degree of care just like a surgeon performing emergency surgery. You have the right to provide your informed consent to the operation and with that you accept that certain things may go wrong that are outside the control of the surgeon.  Yet, if the surgeon completing your elective surgery is negligent and causes you physical harm then you have the same right to file a Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawsuit as you would if the surgery had been done to save your life.

You may choose to have elective surgery but you may not choose to be the victim of medical malpractice.

Warning Issued by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Late last month the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) issued a warning to patients.  The ASPS announced a new public safety campaign urging patients to check the qualifications of their plastic surgeons.  The warning comes after a series of surgical mistakes that occurred when non board certified plastic surgeons performed plastic surgeries.

While the law allows any doctor who is licensed in any field of medicine to perform plastic surgery, that does not mean that any doctor is qualified to perform plastic surgery or can do so without committing significant mistakes that may amount to medical malpractice.

To find out if your doctor is board certified in plastic surgery, you can visit the ASPS website for more information.

Does Your Surgeon Know How to Communicate?

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Surgeons are busy in medical school, during residency and throughout their education.  They have a very skilled trade that they need to learn. However, did your surgeon’s education include instruction on effective communication? Does it matter?

A study published in the August 2011 Archives of Surgery found surgical residents can be taught how to better communicate with patients about specific conditions, but cannot be taught more general communication skills such as empathy.

Patients, and their families, are often looking to surgeons for advice on the some of the biggest decisions they will ever make.  Good communication may not only be more pleasant for patients and their families, but may also help them make better informed decisions that they will not regret in the future.

Anesthesia Fatalities Reported to Rise After Decades of Decline

Friday, August 26th, 2011

While anesthesia related deaths remain rare, they do happen and a new study has found that they are happening more often.  Specifically, the study found that deaths related to the use of general anesthesia are rising worldwide and that a significant reason for the increase, after decades of decline, is because more surgeries are being done on elderly patients.

Of course, the solution to the rising anesthesia fatality rates is not to stop operating on elderly people. Instead, researchers and others recommend that doctors carefully monitor patients during and after anesthesia so that any complications can be quickly controlled.

Have you or a loved one suffered form an anesthesia error?  Please share your story in the comments so that others can learn what happened to you.