Can You Sue for Surgery Complications in Michigan?

Michigan Surgical Error Lawsuit Attorney

can you sue for surgery complications

Most patients understand that a perfect outcome is never guaranteed in any surgery or medical procedure. After all, doctors are required to inform their patients of any potential risks or complications before the procedure occurs. Even if you’re adequately warned about your surgery, what happens if a medical professional causes you injury during surgery? Can you sue for surgery complications in this case? Injured patients or surviving family members have the right to file surgical error lawsuits if the surgeon engaged in medical malpractice.

If you or someone you love suffered harm from a surgical error, you deserve compensation for those surgical complications. The Southfield medical malpractice attorneys at Lipton Law have considerable experience handling even the most complex of cases.

We can help you file a medical malpractice claim either on behalf of yourself or a deceased loved one. Not only do we have the legal experience you need for a successful medical malpractice claim, but we also have nurses on staff to assist us in our determination of the appropriate standard of care.

If you have suffered an injury, illness, or complication due to medical malpractice or surgical complications, contact our office as soon as possible. To schedule your free consultation with us, please call 248-557-1688 or fill out our online intake form.

What Are Surgical Errors?

A surgical error is a type of medical malpractice that occurs during surgical procedures. If a patient suffers an injury from a mistake made during their surgery that was not a normal risk of the procedure, they may have a valid surgical malpractice claim. To put it more simply, surgical errors are preventable mistakes that occur during surgery.

When medical professionals tell their patients about a procedure, they must inform them of the potential risks of that procedure. If the patient signs a document saying they understand the risks, this is known as “informed consent.” Generally, surgical errors are incidents that are not considered a normal risk of a particular procedure. They go beyond the risks that a patient is informed of.

What Is Surgical Negligence?

Any form of neglect or medical negligence during surgery can be considered surgical negligence. When surgeons fail to be as careful as they should be, they could find themselves faced with medical malpractice lawsuits. Negligence is the basis of every personal injury and medical malpractice lawsuit. For example, if a surgeon fails to sanitize their surgical instruments properly, this could lead to all sorts of complications.

Why Do Surgical Errors Happen?

surgical error lawsuits

As we mentioned before, every surgery has a certain degree of risk. Even a surgery performed perfectly by a highly skilled and experienced surgeon could have complications or less-than-ideal outcomes. Therefore, not all surgical errors are the result of medical negligence.

However, when you add negligence to the mix, the risk of complications increases significantly. When surgeons fail to uphold the medical standard of care, surgical errors occur in many cases.

Below, we list a few ways in which negligence could result in a surgical mistake and an injured patient.

  • Poor communication: Communication is key in every doctor-patient relationship, especially when it comes to surgery. Surgeons must communicate about every detail, such as the proper surgery site, the right dosage for a patient, and more. If they forget even one critical detail, the consequences could be catastrophic.
  • Substance abuse: Surgeons often lead stressful lives because of their jobs. This constant stress can lead to substance abuse. If drugs or alcohol were involved at the time the surgeon operates, any number of critical errors could occur.
  • Fatigue: Surgeons also tend to work long, often late, shifts. If they haven’t gotten enough sleep, this can increase their chances of making a mistake.
  • Incompetence: Certain surgical procedures are more complicated than others. If a surgeon is performing a particular surgery that they have little to no experience with, this can increase the chances of a mistake.
  • Poor surgical planning: Surgery requires careful planning and forethought. If a surgeon fails to properly prepare and gather all the necessary equipment, this may lead to a surgical error.
  • Improper steps: Lastly, it’s important that the surgeon follows all the necessary steps in a procedure. Failure to do so could result in injury to the patient. Cutting corners simply isn’t something that should be done in surgery.

Most Common Types of Surgical Errors

surgical errors

Many people are stressed by or scared of surgery due to its nature. Patients depend on their doctors and surgeons to exercise all necessary precautions from start to finish. Unfortunately, some surgeons administer negligent care and therefore make mistakes.

Some of the most common surgical error lawsuit cases include the following.

Part of surgical preparation involves ensuring that the right site has been marked for surgery. If someone rushes the preparation or safety measures before surgery, this may result in the wrong site being operated on. For example, let’s say that the surgery involves internal organs. If the surgeon removes the wrong body part, such as removing a kidney rather than an appendix, this could have dire consequences. In very severe cases, they could even amputate the wrong limb.

Having a retained surgical instrument means that the surgeon accidentally left a foreign object in the patient’s body. This is, surprisingly, one of the most common surgical errors. Examples of objects that might be left behind include sponges, gauze, clamps, or other tools. This can cause intense pain, discomfort, and even life-threatening infections in patients. If a doctor then fails to diagnose sepsis, the patient could lose their life.

If a surgeon makes a mistake during surgery that injures a patient, they can be held liable for the related medical expenses and other damages.

When patients are taken into the operating room, they trust that they are in good hands with their doctor. Unfortunately, mistakes during preoperative preparation can result in a doctor operating on the wrong patient. This is a similar issue to wrong site surgeries.

Anesthesia is generally considered safe and effective, but it must still be administered with care by competent anesthesia providers. It helps patients to relax and feel no pain during their surgery. However, administering too much or too little anesthesia can cause problems. This could lead to an anesthesia malpractice claim.

  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Nerve damage
  • Infection
  • Wrong incision site
  • Failure to diagnose a serious condition during surgery
  • Damaging an organ during surgery
  • Failing to fix or handle complications during surgery
  • Failing to monitor a patient after surgery

Can You Sue for Surgical Errors?

surgery complications

Yes. As we stated before, positive outcomes are never a guarantee when it comes to surgery. However, a patient who is harmed by a preventable mistake has the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Additionally, if the patient dies, their surviving family members have the right to file a medical malpractice wrongful death claim. We recommend speaking with an experienced medical malpractice attorney before starting your claim.

When Can You Sue for Surgery Complications?

If a surgeon or other medical professional makes a preventable error that injures a patient, they can be held accountable for that error. Successful malpractice claims must show that a reasonably prudent surgeon in the same or similar circumstances with similar training would not have made that same mistake. These claims must also show that the patient suffered actual harm or losses as a result of the mistake.

How Long Do You Have to Sue a Doctor After Surgery?

According to Michigan Comp. Laws section 600.5805, the Michigan statute of limitations for medical malpractice is 2 years from the date of the alleged malpractice. If a doctor, anesthesiologist, surgeon, or other medical facility made mistakes during your medical treatment that resulted from negligence, you may have a valid malpractice claim.

While two years may seem like a long time to file a claim, we recommend speaking with an attorney about your situation as soon as possible. If you wait too long to file a claim, this could bar you from seeking compensation or cast doubt on the validity of your claim.

How to Prepare for a Surgical Error Lawsuit

To have a successful malpractice claim, we recommend working with a seasoned medical malpractice attorney. Establishing an attorney-client relationship early on will allow you to have the skills and knowledge of an attorney from beginning to end. This will only serve to help your claim. Other ways you and your legal team can prepare include the following.

Document and save everything. You should keep detailed notes about your experience. Take photos and videos of anything relevant to your claim. Write down relevant names and dates.

Don’t post on social media. Try not to overshare on the Internet. It’s not a good idea to talk to anyone about your case except an attorney. Anything you say or share online could end up damaging your claim.

Get copies of your medical records. Ask for copies of your medical records from the hospital, and keep any relevant notes or prescriptions.

Hire an attorney as soon as possible. The instant that something doesn’t feel right, reach out to an attorney. Even if all you do is schedule a consultation, it can help you gain a better understanding of whether or not you have a valid claim.

Don’t sign anything without consulting your attorney. Signing documents provided by the hospital or surgeon could impede your ability to recover compensation. At the very least, wait until your attorney can look over it and advise you on how to proceed.

How to Prove Medical Malpractice in Michigan

surgical errors lawsuit

In order to prove medical malpractice in Michigan, certain elements must be present in your case. The basic requirement of this type of legal claim is that the surgeon acted negligently. Establishing negligence in a medical malpractice lawsuit requires the following elements.

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed.
  • There was an established standard of care.
  • The surgeon deviated from that standard of care.
  • That breach of the duty of care directly caused the patient’s injury.
  • The patient’s injury resulted in actual damages.

What Compensation Could You Recover in a Surgery Error Lawsuit?

The compensation you could receive after a botched surgery depends on a number of things, including the severity of your injuries, the impact on your life, and how your finances have been affected. In a successful surgery error lawsuit, you may see the following types of compensation.

  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Monetary damages, such as medical bills and medication costs
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium
  • In rare cases, punitive damages

When you decide to take legal action after your injury, your attorney will be able to evaluate your claim and give you a better understanding of what it may be worth.

Contact the Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Lipton Law

At Lipton Law, we always put our clients first and focus on their needs. If you have been injured or if you’ve lost a loved one due to a surgical mistake, contact our medical malpractice lawyers. We have decades of experience, a passion for helping people through litigation, and a team of nurses on staff.

These nurses provide significant insight into our medical malpractice cases, which gives us a leg up on the competition. To schedule your free consultation with us, please call our office at 248-557-1688 today.