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Can I Sue if My Surgery Had Complications?

When you go into surgery, you should understand the risks of the particular procedure, including not only the complications that commonly arise, but also complications that are uncommon, if those complications may be serious. Recovery from surgery is difficult enough when everything goes according to plan. When it doesn’t, your recovery can be prolonged, or additional medical care may be needed.

When you experience a complication, your first instinct may be that you deserve compensation from the surgeon who performed the procedure. However, not everyone who experiences complications has the right to take legal action against a medical professional. The following are examples of when you may be able to sue after a surgical complication.

Complications Due to a Doctor’s Error

Some complications are unavoidable and happen due to a patient’s medical history or inherent risk factors. If a complication happened outside of a doctor’s mistake, the patient will not have the right to sue the doctor.

On the other hand, some complications happen because a surgeon (or someone else in the operating room) made an error. When a surgeon’s conduct fails to meet the required standard of care for that procedure, the surgeon should be held fully accountable for the harm caused. Some examples of surgical errors that can lead to complications and lawsuits include:

● Failing to perform the right procedure

● Performing the procedure on the wrong body part

● Leaving items or tools inside a patient

● Getting “lost” and injuring structures or organs where the surgeon should not be operating

● Failing to identify and protect key structures, such as certain blood vessels or nerves

● Not reviewing a patient’s medical history and risks prior to surgery

● Failure to provide proper post-operative care and monitoring

● Failing to call for help when the surgeon runs into problems he or she is not fully prepared to deal with

● Operating while intoxicated or overly fatigued

● Operating while distracted (yes, doctors sometimes look at the internet or text family or friends while in the OR!)

● Permitting an inexperience resident or fellow to perform procedures or portions of procedures for which they are not adequately prepared

Identifying when a doctor’s conduct constitutes medical malpractice can be challenging, so you should always have an experienced Cleveland attorney review your case.

Failure to Warn of Possible Complications

A surgeon should always fully inform patients of all the possible common risks of a procedure, so the patient can make an educated decision whether to undergo the surgery. When a doctor fails to warn a patient of a known risk, and the patient experiences that type of harm, the doctor can be held accountable.

Common Surgical Complications

There are many different types of surgical complications that can occur, and complications vary depending on the procedure and the patient. Some common complications include the following:

● Nerve damage

● Hemorrhaging or bleeding

● Injury to organs

● Vomiting, nausea, and dehydration from anesthesia errors

● Throat pain from a breathing tube

● Pain and swelling of the incision site

● Infections

● Constipation and bloating

Some of these complications may extend your time in the hospital or cause you to return to the hospital after your discharge. You may need to have subsequent surgeries or take medication you otherwise would not have needed. You may miss work for longer than you expected due to your recovery time and may experience significant pain and suffering, especially if you were not expecting any complications to occur.

Our Cleveland Medical Malpractice Attorneys are Ready to Help

At The Eisen Law Firm, we can evaluate what led to your surgical complications and advise you whether you have a valid legal claim. These cases are complex, and you want the right legal team on your side. Call 216-687-0900 or contact us online for a free consultation.