Every surgery comes with a certain amount of risk, but sometimes surgical intervention is a patient’s best option. When doctors and other medical professionals perform surgeries, we expect them to proceed with due care and do their best to prevent surgical complications and injuries. Unfortunately, provider negligence results in thousands of surgical errors every year.
If you sustained injuries due to a suspected negligent surgical error, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses. A surgical error attorney in Cheyenne can help you understand your rights and pursue the money you deserve.
Why Do Surgical Errors Occur?
Surgical errors are mistakes that harm patients during surgical procedures. Common causes of surgical errors in Cheyenne include:
- Poor communication – If doctors, nurses, or other medical staff members fail to relay critical information to one another before, during, or after surgery, preventable errors can result in serious patient injuries.
- Lack of experience or training – If surgeons lack the experience or training needed to perform a surgical procedure, they are significantly more likely to commit surgical errors.
- Inadequate preparation – Surgical errors may occur if healthcare providers fail to properly review patient histories, assess patient condition, or prepare necessary medical equipment before surgery.
- Poor post-operative care – If hospital staff or surgeons fail to monitor patients or provide adequate care after surgery, post-operative complications may arise.
- Surgeon impairment – In some tragic cases, surgeons have been found to operate while dangerously impaired by fatigue, alcohol, drugs, substantially increasing the risk of preventable surgical errors.
How Can a Surgical Error Lawyer Help Me?
Lawyers for victims of surgical malpractice help clients identify possible malpractice, gather compelling evidence, and pursue fair compensation for their losses. A trusted Cheyenne surgical error lawyer can support your medical malpractice claim by:
- Helping you understand your legal rights and options
- Researching the appropriate standard of care for your surgical procedure
- Investigating your surgery to identify possible malpractice
- Consulting with medical experts
- Communicating with other parties on your behalf
- Filing a medical malpractice insurance claim or lawsuit on your behalf
Is the Hospital Liable for Surgical Errors?
When it comes to surgical errors and other types of medical malpractice, hospitals can be held liable for their negligence or the negligent actions of hospital employees. A hospital could be directly responsible for negligence in the form of hiring unqualified staff members or failing to properly investigate or discipline staff members with a history of negligence.
Hospitals may be vicariously liable for surgical errors committed by staff members in Cheyenne hospitals under the doctrine of “respondeat superior.” This legal doctrine allows injured victims to hold employers responsible for the actions of their employees, as long as the employees’ actions were within the scope of their employment.
In some cases, Wyoming law even allows injured patients to hold hospitals accountable for the actions of independent contractors and other non-employee surgeons.
Most Common Types of Surgical Errors
Just because a patient sustains an undesirable outcome during surgery does not necessarily mean malpractice was a factor. A surgical injury must have resulted from a medical professional’s negligence or deviation from the standard of care to be considered malpractice.
With that in mind, the following types of surgical errors could be worth investigating closely:
- Anesthesia and medication overdoses or errors
- Damage to surrounding tissues, nerves, bones, or organs
- Avoidable post-operative infections
- Failure to inform patients of surgical risks
- Surgical errors or improper surgical techniques
- Operating on incorrect patients or body parts
- Surgical implements left inside of patients
- Faulty or defective equipment malfunctions
- Unnecessary surgical interventions
- Lack of necessary surgical intervention
- Deviations from the usual standard of care
Consequences and Compensation for Surgical Errors
The consequences of surgical errors can be severe, often resulting in painful injuries and enormous financial burdens. With a successful medical malpractice claim, you could receive compensation for your losses related to the surgical error, such as:
- Current and projected future expenses related to treating your injuries
- Lost wages from missed time at work while you recover from surgical injuries
- Lost earning potential if your injuries leave you disabled and prevent you from returning to your usual job indefinitely or long-term
- Physical pain, anguish, and emotional suffering
- Death and funeral benefits for surviving family members of patients who die as a result of surgical errors
Compensation in Surgical Negligence Cases
Unlike some other states, Wyoming does not set an upper limit on the amount of money you can recover in a surgical negligence case. Not only can you seek reimbursement for the actual costs of any medical bills or measurable financial losses you incur, but you can also seek unlimited compensation for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.
Wyoming also has a statewide Patient Compensation Fund that can provide money to patients whose claims exceed their providers’ insurance limits. As long as your doctor carries at least $50,000 in medical malpractice insurance, any compensation the court awards you beyond their insurance limits may be paid out by the fund.
Up to $1 million in Patient Compensation Fund (PCF) money is available per physician each year. Wyoming’s PCF helps plaintiffs by ensuring they receive the money they need and encouraging more surgeons to carry medical malpractice insurance.
Statute of Limitations on Surgical Malpractice Cases in Wyoming
All medical malpractice cases in Cheyenne are subject to the statewide statute of limitations laws, which limit the amount of time you have to pursue legal action. When it comes to surgical malpractice cases, the law says you have two years from the date of the suspected malpractice to file a lawsuit against the negligent provider. If the malpractice is discovered within the second year of the two-year period, the deadline may be extended by six months.
If the malpractice was not apparent within two years of the surgery, you have two years from the date when the malpractice was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.
Talk to a Cheyenne Surgical Error Lawyer Now
At Olson Law Firm, our medical malpractice lawyers are experienced advocates who fight to hold surgeons and hospitals accountable when their negligence causes people injuries. Contact us today for a free initial consultation to discuss your case with a Cheyenne, WY surgical mistake attorney.