Differences Between Surgical Complications and Malpractice
If you recently had a poor outcome after surgery, it can be difficult knowing whether that outcome was caused by malpractice. In some cases, complications arise during surgery that are completely out of anyone’s control.
If surgical malpractice has occurred, your injuries must have been caused by a medical professional’s negligence. In a surgical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) must prove the doctor, or another medical professional, was at fault.
A top medical expert can help build your case. A top medical expert can:
- Identify the standard of care. The standard of care is the way a prudent medical professional should act in any given situation.
- Establish whether the standard of care was breached, and if so, whether it caused harm.
- Testify at trial on your behalf, if necessary.
Suppose the complications during surgery stem from the patient’s poor health. The doctor acts properly to treat those complications, but the patient is still left with long-term harm. Under this scenario, medical malpractice has probably not taken place.
But if the surgeon breached the standard of care by nicking an organ, leaving a surgical sponge inside the body, or committing another error, this would be medical malpractice.
In some cases, a breach of the standard of care is not clear. Multiple medical experts may be needed to consult on issues of liability, causation, and damages. In other words, multiple experts need to review your case to prove exactly who caused your injuries. At Finz & Finz, P.C., we have the experience and resources to identify and retain the field-leading experts needed to help hold those at-fault parties responsible for their actions.
During this process, the experts may discover negligence by other medical professionals and not just the surgeon. Those at-fault parties may include anesthesiologists, nurses or other medical professionals who assisted with the surgery. By going after all responsible parties, we can maximize your potential financial compensation.
Compensation in Surgical Negligence Cases
In New York, victims of surgical negligence are entitled to two types of compensation: economic and non-economic. These types of compensation are designed to make you “whole” again after you have been injured.
Your compensation may cover these economic losses:
- Ambulance fees
- Burial and funeral expenses, if the surgical negligence caused the death of a loved one
- Lost future wages, if you won’t be able to resume working
- Lost past wages, if you had to take time off from your job
- Nursing and home healthcare services
- Ongoing and future medical care related to your injuries
Compensation for non-economic losses covers:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Other mental anguish
Statute of Limitations on Surgical Malpractice Cases
The statute of limitations determines when you can file a surgery malpractice lawsuit. In the State of New York, you must file your lawsuit within 30 months of the date of surgical negligence. However, there are a few exceptions exist to this deadline.
Surgical malpractice may involve a foreign object left inside your body, such as a surgical sponge or instrument. When that is the case, you must file a lawsuit within one year of discovering the foreign object. This is sometimes referred to as the “foreign object rule.”
If your case is more complex, it can be difficult determining the exact deadline to file a lawsuit. To be safe, contact an experienced surgical malpractice attorney as soon as you suspect negligence, so that you don’t miss the deadline.