Newfoundland and Labrador Lawyers - Surgical Error Claims

Surgical errors, also known as surgical negligence, refers to a preventable mistake made by medical professionals during a surgery.

Surgical negligence can be the result of the actions or inactions by the surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurses and other members of the surgical team.

What is Surgical Negligence

There is no guarantee that a surgery will be successful. You expect that the medical professionals will take every reasonable measure to improve your health. You certainly do not expect a surgeon to take an unreasonable measure that has the effect of harming you.

A doctor performing surgery has a duty of care to exercise reasonable care towards a patient. Specifically the doctor must exercise the level of care that a doctor with a similar level of education, training and skill would provide.

  • Distinctions are sometimes made between when doctors graduated. A doctor who graduated in 1985 would not necessarily be expected to be familiar with a procedure that was being taught for the first time in 2014.
  • Doctors who practice in remote locations are not held to as high a standard as doctors in urban settings who have access to more resources. In remote locations under life-threatening circumstances, a doctor may have to conduct emergency surgery regardless of the doctor's level of education or skill in the particular surgery if it is the only available option.
  • Specialists are expected to exercise a higher level of skill than general practitioners. Subspecialists are held to a higher standard of care than specialists. In urban tertiary care hospitals, specialized procedures are often performed by a team of specialists. For example, complicated spinal surgery may be performed by an orthopaedic surgeon and a neurosurgeon.

What are the causes of surgical errors?

There are many types of potential errors during surgery. Some of the more common types are:

  • Lack of the necessary skillset to perform a certain surgery, but still proceed with the surgery. (The surgeon may not have been educated or trained to perform the surgery.)
  • Lack of sufficient experience in performing the surgery. (A surgeon who performs a surgery once or twice a year will not have the same success rate if that same surgeon had performed the surgery regularly during the year.)
  • Failure to take reasonable measures before and during the surgery to ensure that the underlying diagnosis indicating the surgery is a reliable diagnosis.
  • Accidental injury to an adjoining organ, nerve, or other body part.
  • Failure to diagnose a complication or injury which occurs during the surgery itself.
  • Failure to have a back-up plan in place to deal with specific known and serious risks of the surgery.
  • Failure to recognize a need or call for back-up from other physicians or medical staff if complications develop that require additional assistance.
  • Failure of surgical team to clearly communicate. (Poor communications lead to errors.)
  • Ordinary negligence performance of the surgery. (Some surgeries simply go wrong because the surgeon has made a careless mistake or needless omission; even very highly skilled surgeons can make a negligent error.)
  • Failure to remove all surgical equipment, instruments and sponges from the body.
  • Operation takes place on the wrong body part.
  • Poor pre-operative planning. (The planning process is a multi-person step, and includes the surgeon, nursing staff, technicians, among others. The inadequate planning on the part of anyone can present problems at the time of the operation.)
  • Administration by an anesthetist of the wrong medication at the wrong body site.
  • Failure to administer the proper dosage of anesthesia.
  • Failure to properly monitor and treat the patient while under anesthesia.
  • Failure to take reasonable care before and after surgery to minimize infection risk.
  • Failure to properly monitor the patient after the operation or premature discharge of the patient.

Informed Consent

Almost every surgery carries certain levels of risk and complications. A patient will undergo a surgery after being informed of the benefits of the surgery relative to the likelihood of success and the risks associated with the surgery.

If the surgeon has not properly explained the risks of the surgery, the patient will not have the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision on whether to have the surgery. If a reasonable person would have declined the surgery knowing the full nature and extent of the risk, the patient will have a claim against the surgeon if that risk occurs. This law applies even if the surgeon was not negligent in performing the surgery.

Medical Malpractice Claim: When do you need a lawyer for a surgical error claim?

Retaining an experienced, resourceful and comprehensive lawyer in medical malpractice is in your best interests. Geoff Aylward, Q.C. is highly knowledgeable about medical malpractice laws and procedures. Geoff Aylward will investigate your case thoroughly, approach it from different angles, and discuss your options and counsel you on the best course of action. The team at Geoff Aylward, Q.C. work tirelessly toward an outcome that benefits you with fair and just compensation.

If you or someone you love has been injured by a surgical error, time may be of the essence. You have two years from the date you reasonably discovered the surgical error occurred unless you are/were under the age of 19 or have a mental disability and, if so, then other conditions apply. Time slips by fast, especially under stressful times, thus, you need a surgical errors lawyer as soon as you discover the error.

If after surgery you experience intense, sharp pain, fever, burning sensations, vomiting, abdominal pain, redness or swelling around wounds, among other ailments or other unanticipated consequences, then it may indicate a surgical error. Contact your physician and Geoff Aylward, Q.C. immediately. The earlier you contact a medical malpractice lawyer, the better. Your recollection of what happened will be better. Witnesses are more readily available and have better recollections, too. There is also less risk of accidental document loss or alteration.

Comprehensive, Compassionate Surgical Errors Lawyer in Newfoundland & Labrador

Geoff Aylward, Q.C. will provide effective advice and representation in seeking benefit payment or compensation. Contact lawyer Geoff Aylward for surgical errors representation today either online or at 709-726-7260.

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101-400 Elizabeth Avenue,
St. John's, NL A1B 1V2

Located in St. John's. Serving clients who reside across Newfoundland and in Labrador.

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709-726-7260 (24hours)
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