Medical Malpractice in California: Surgical Injuries

When a surgeon operates on a patient, he or she is expected to operate with an expert level of skill. The surgeon is expected to handle the procedure with the same level of care that is possessed or practiced by other surgeons that operate in the same field and under similar circumstances. When a surgeon is careless, fatigued, or inattentive, however, he or she could cause serious and even fatal injuries.

Recognizing and Addressing Medical Errors Before and During Operation

A surgery that is adequately performed is designed to improve the patient’s quality of life. When the surgery is not carried out dutifully, however, the end result can be catastrophic. This can happen when the surgeon has performed unnecessary procedures or when the procedure was handled improperly. For instance, when a surgeon has made an unintentional cut or has failed to recognize damage, these surgical errors can cause permanent and sometimes irreversible damage to the patient.

Some of the most common types of surgical errors that can occur involve the following:

  • Inadequately performing surgery
  • The failure to recognize accidental damage to the anatomical structures of the patient
  • Unnecessary performance in the surgery
  • The failure to warn the patient of any possible risks and side effects associated with the type of surgery
  • The failure to be fully competent about the human anatomy, thus being unprepared
  • Performing the operation on the wrong part of the patient’s body
  • Leaving behind any surgical instrument in the patient’s body
  • Administering the incorrect type or incorrect amount of anesthesia

Filing a Claim for Surgical Error in California

In California, patients that have been injured by the negligence of a surgeon or other surgery staff may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. It is important to understand, however, that limit a person’s ability to present a claim against a surgeon, even if injury did in fact occur.

In the State of California, medical malpractice claims need to be filed within three (3) years from the date of the patient’s injury. If time has passed and the injury did not become immediately apparent, the patient will have one (1) year from when he or she discovered the injury to file the medical malpractice claim.

The State of California also requires that potential defendants (health care provider that is being sued) be formally informed about the intention to sue. The medical care provider should be notified at least 90 days before a claim is filed.

Although there is no particular format or form that should be used to notify the defendant, the following information should be provided:

  • The basis of the claim
  • The type of injury or loss that was sustained
  • The nature of damage suffered

Hire an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or someone you love was injured because of an operation, consider seeking the legal advice of an attorney who has experience in handling medical malpractice cases involving surgical errors. Victims who have suffered because of the negligence of a surgeon are entitled to receive financial compensation for their losses.

The attorneys at the Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP., have many years of dedicated experience in representing patients who have suffered grievances because of a surgeon’s negligence. When it comes to medical malpractice cases, seek the right legal support as soon as possible.