Welcome to Cuneo & Leonetti Law Firm, your trusted source for legal representation in surgical injury cases. Our Cherry Hill Surgical Injuries Lawyers understand that undergoing a surgical procedure is stressful enough without the added burden of medical negligence. When things go wrong in the operating room due to the actions—or inactions—of healthcare providers, the consequences can be devastating, both physically and emotionally. You don’t have to navigate this challenging time alone; our legal team is here to fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve. With extensive experience and a commitment to personalized service, we stand ready to assist you every step of the way. Contact us today for your free consultation with a specialized Cherry Hill medical malpractice attorney.
What Is A Surgical Injury?
Surgical injuries refer to harms or complications that a patient experiences during or after a surgical procedure, which are directly attributable to errors, negligence, or malpractice by healthcare providers. These are not the typical risks associated with surgery, but rather avoidable outcomes that result from mistakes or lapses in standard care. Surgical injuries can be severe and life-altering, affecting both the physical and emotional well-being of the patient.
Types of Cherry Hill Surgical Injuries
Surgical injuries can be caused by medical malpractice, negligence, or errors during surgery, and can include the following:
- Incorrect Incisions: Unnecessary or improperly placed cuts can lead to additional medical problems or complications.
- Nerve Damage: Accidental damage to nerves during surgery can lead to long-term or even permanent issues such as numbness or paralysis.
- Anesthesia Errors: Mistakes in administering anesthesia can cause a range of issues from awareness during surgery to potentially life-threatening complications.
- Foreign Objects Left Inside: Items such as surgical sponges, tools, or other materials left inside the patient’s body can cause infections and other complications.
- Wrong-Site Surgery: Operating on the incorrect body part can have devastating consequences, requiring additional surgical intervention and causing long-term problems.
- Wrong Procedure or Patient: Extremely rare but devastating, these errors involve performing the wrong operation or performing an operation on the wrong person.
- Postoperative Infections: Infections acquired during or after surgery due to improper sterilization procedures or post-operative care are another type of surgical injury.
- Excessive Bleeding: Failure to control bleeding during or after surgery can result in serious complications, requiring additional medical treatment.
- Burns: These can occur due to electrical equipment malfunctions or improper use, or from hot surgical instruments.
- Breaches in Sterility: A lapse in maintaining a sterile environment can lead to severe post-operative infections.
Common Causes of Surgical Injuries
Some common causes of Cherry Hill surgical injuries include:
- Human Error: This could include mistakes made during the surgical procedure itself, such as incorrect incisions, or errors in administering anesthesia.
- Lack of Communication: Ineffective communication among healthcare providers can lead to devastating errors like wrong-site surgery, wrong patient, or wrong procedure.
- Inadequate Planning: Failure to adequately review a patient’s medical history, or to plan properly for potential complications, can result in injury.
- Fatigue: Surgeons and medical staff work long hours and sometimes suffer from fatigue, which can affect their decision-making and attentiveness.
- Inadequate Skill or Training: Sometimes surgeons or medical staff are not adequately trained for a particular procedure, leading to mistakes.
- Equipment Malfunction: Faulty or poorly maintained equipment could fail during surgery, leading to possible injury.
- Inadequate Staffing: A shortage of qualified medical or support staff can lead to oversights or delays that result in patient harm.
- Failure to Follow Protocol: Not adhering to established medical or surgical guidelines can result in preventable injuries.
- Contamination: Poor sterilization procedures can lead to postoperative infections, which are another form of surgical injury.
- Anesthesia Errors: Incorrect dosage or administration can result in anything from patient awareness during the procedure to potentially life-threatening conditions.
- Systemic Issues: Sometimes the healthcare facility itself may have systemic issues that contribute to surgical errors, such as a culture that discourages reporting of errors or inadequate oversight of staff.
Standard of Care in Surgical Injury Claims
Generally speaking, the standard of care refers to the level and type of care that a competent healthcare professional in the same field, with similar training and experience, would provide under the same or similar circumstances. The concept is crucial in medical malpractice claims, including surgical injury claims, as it serves as a benchmark for evaluating the healthcare provider’s conduct. The experienced Cherry Hill personal injury lawyers at Cuneo & Leonetti are prepared to handle multiple different aspects of medical malpractice claims.
In a surgical injury claim, establishing a breach of the standard of care involves several steps:
- Identifying the Standard: Expert witnesses, usually experienced medical professionals, may be called to testify about what the accepted standard of care is for the specific surgical procedure that was performed.
- Showing a Breach: The claimant must demonstrate that the healthcare provider deviated from this accepted standard of care. This could include errors like incorrect incisions, anesthesia errors, leaving a foreign object in the patient, etc.
- Causation: It must be shown that this breach directly caused the surgical injury in question. In other words, the injury would not have occurred but for the healthcare provider’s breach of the standard of care.
- Quantifying Harm: Finally, the claimant must show that the surgical injury led to specific damages. These could be additional medical bills, loss of wages, pain and suffering, or other forms of harm.
Expert Testimony in Surgical Injury Claims
In surgical injury claims in Cherry Hill, expert testimony plays a critical role in establishing the key elements required to prove medical malpractice. An expert witness, usually a medical professional specializing in the relevant field, provides essential insights into what constitutes the “standard of care” for the specific surgical procedure in question. This sets the benchmark against which the actions of the defendant healthcare provider are evaluated. The expert witness not only identifies this standard but also helps determine whether the healthcare provider’s actions constituted a breach of this standard, thereby leading to the patient’s injury.
Beyond establishing the standard of care and any breach thereof, expert testimony is crucial in proving causation—that is, linking the healthcare provider’s breach directly to the injury suffered by the plaintiff. Experts can detail the physiological processes that led from the breach to the injury, thereby supporting the plaintiff’s claim for damages. Moreover, these experts often counter opposing testimonies provided by the defense, helping to reinforce the plaintiff’s case. The credibility, experience, and expertise of a proven expert witness can significantly impact the outcome of a surgical injury claim in Cherry Hill.
Statute of Limitations in Cherry Hill Surgical Injury Claims
The general statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims, including surgical injury claims, is typically two (2) years from the date when the cause of action accrues. This means that you have two (2) years from the date you either discovered or reasonably should have discovered the injury to file a lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, your case is likely to be dismissed, barring some exceptions.
There are some circumstances under which the statute of limitations might be extended, such as in the case of minors or if the defendant fraudulently concealed the cause of injury. However, there is usually an “absolute” statute of repose, which sets a final deadline by which any claim must be filed, regardless of when the injury was discovered.
Contact Our Cherry Hill Surgical Injury Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one has experienced a surgical injury, time is of the essence. These injuries can have lasting physical, emotional, and financial impacts, and the law provides a limited window to seek the compensation you’re entitled to. At Cuneo & Leonetti, our skilled Cherry Hill surgical injury lawyers are dedicated to offering you the legal experience and compassionate support you need to navigate this complex journey. We will work tirelessly to hold the responsible parties accountable and to secure the justice you deserve. Don’t let the statute of limitations run out on your claim; contact Cuneo & Leonetti today for a free consultation and take the first crucial step toward reclaiming your life.