My Iowa Doctor Made a Mistake During My Surgery. What Should I Do?

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Posted by Farl Greene

Serious surgical errors are some of the most common mistakes that Iowa doctors can make.  Over 4,000 of these errors are estimated to occur each year – to the detriment of patient health.

There is always a risk of injury during a medical procedure – you usually sign a form before surgery that states you understand there is a risk.  However, a surgical error can cause unexpected serious injury.  Surgical errors fall outside of the risk you knew you were taking.

What Are Some Common Mistakes Made By Surgeons?

Some common surgical mistakes can include:

  • Operating on the wrong part of the body. For example, you may have needed surgery on your left arm, and instead the surgeon operated on your right arm.
  • Injury during the surgery. A surgeon can be negligent if they damage an organ, cut a nerve, or puncture an artery while operating.
  • Leaving surgical tools inside a patient. When surgical sponges or other instruments are left inside a patient, it can lead to infection or further injury.  In these cases, another surgery will be needed to remove the tools.
  • Anesthesia errors. This can include too much or too little anesthesia, giving the wrong type of anesthesia to a patient, or failing to monitor a patient while they are under the effects of anesthesia.

A surgical error does NOT include a result that you are not 100% happy with or a result that was likely to happen because of expected risk. This is an important distinction to remember, because Iowa medical malpractice lawyers will not take a case that isn’t a result of negligence.

Why Does This Happen?

There are a variety of reasons for a surgical error to occur.  It can happen because of:

  • Fatigue due to a doctor working long hours
  • Miscommunication between staff before, during, or after the procedure
  • Lack of preparedness on the surgeon’s part
  • Distraction during critical parts of the procedure

Regardless of the cause, a medical malpractice victim can suffer injury or even death because of these errors.

What Are My Rights as a Medical Malpractice Victim?

If you have suffered serious and permanent injuries because of a surgical error, you are not helpless.  There are a couple of steps you can take to get justice for your injuries.

You may consider filing a complaint with the state medical board.  The board may conduct an investigation into your case.  The surgeon may have to pay a fine, or in serious cases, may have their license suspended or revoked.  Your attorney will not be involved in the board’s investigation, as they do not have the authority to revoke or suspend a doctor’s license.

However, an attorney can help you file an Iowa medical malpractice lawsuit.  You will need to prove that the doctor was negligent during your surgery and caused you serious injury.  To do this, an experienced Iowa medical malpractice attorney will need to hire experts to review your medical records and testify on your behalf that negligence occurred. In addition, an attorney will need to do several months of research on your claim to determine if you have a good medical malpractice case.

Keep in mind that you have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit or settle your claim. That’s why you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to review your case.  RSH Legal offers free, no-obligation case evaluations for Iowans seriously injured by surgical errors.  Call today at 1-319-774-1783.

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