If you or someone you know has suffered an injury that is debilitating or fatal as a result of one or more surgical errors, you have the right to file a claim against one or more members of the medical team or the hospital responsible for the harm. If you’re located in Southern California and are seeking a surgical error lawyer in the Inland Empire, Raynes | Erickson can help.
As a patient undergoing an operation, there’s a substation amount of trust that is in the hands of your surgeon and the medical team. Surgeries are complex, and because your life is often at stake as a patient, it’s vital that surgeons apply their best abilities, judgment, and effort in each procedure. That trust is increased when you have to undergo an operation.
What do you do when a surgeon or a member of the surgical team violates that trust by behaving negligently or irresponsibly resulting in harm? This is a form of medical malpractice and you have the right to file a claim against one or more members of the medical team or the hospital responsible for the harm.
There are different types of surgical errors that can occur as well as preventative steps that you could take that can help when it comes to future surgical procedures. At Raynes | Erickson, we focus our practice on the legal representation of clients who are victims of medical malpractice. We have a qualified team of attorneys that handle surgical error cases, so our team will be discussing common surgical errors, some simple steps that could be taken to prevent surgical errors, and what you should do if you feel you have a surgical error case.
Make yourself aware of some common surgical errors that could occur.
- Wrong-site surgery (wrong body part)
- Wrong surgical procedure
- Surgical instrument left in the body
- Wrong patient surgery
- Surgery unrelated to the patient’s diagnosis
- Performance of unnecessary surgery
- Other mistakes made before or during surgery or post-operation
Consider the case of a surgeon who was found negligent in the death of a patient. We previously talked about Surgeon Richard Kangah, a general surgeon at Redlands Community Hospital and Beaver Medical Group.
In 2016, Kangah was found “negligent in the diagnosis or treatment,” and his negligence was a “substantial factor in causing damage” to Dirk Hansen, whose wife Kathy died May 8, 2009, after undergoing surgery to remove part of her pancreas at Redlands Community Hospital.
The surgery performed on Kathy Hansen, known as a Whipple procedure, is the most common surgery for cancer of the pancreas, according to the American Cancer Society. This surgery is a “very complex operation” that is “best done by a surgeon who has done it many times in a hospital that does at least 20 Whipple procedures per year, according to the American Cancer Society’s website. Kangah had performed the surgery three times in his career before Kathy Hansen.
While the surgery needed to be done to remove a mass or tumor on the pancreas, this was a procedure in which the patient should have been referred to a major facility. Redlands Community Hospital is a facility that performs the procedure less than seven times a year, so it’s considered a low-volume center and, therefore, should have been completed by the hands of a more experienced surgeon.
Consider some steps that could be taken to prevent surgical errors. Although you’re the patient, understanding what preventative measures could be taken can allow for transparent conversations with your surgeon and medical team prior to the procedure to establish trust and a measure of relief.
There are many actions for a surgeon and medical team to take that will help prevent surgical errors. The following are a few that could help when it comes to avoiding medical malpractice in the form of surgical mistakes:
- Thoroughly review the patient to determine if the surgery is necessary. The surgery performed on Kathy Hansen, known as a Whipple procedure, is the most common surgery for cancer of the pancreas, according to the American Cancer Society. Hansen ended up not having cancer yet died as a result of receiving an operation to remove cancer of the pancreas.
- Communication between members of the medical staff. Physician Wisam Haddad, who assisted Kangah, was also found negligent. Haddad did not correctly voice concerns during the procedure and, although the decision-making was ultimately the surgeon’s, such communication could have led to a different, non-fatal outcome for the patient.
- Thoroughly review the patient’s medical history.
- Completely review the surgery plan.
- Verify the information with the patient. Jeffrey Raynes, who represented Hansen, says: “This patient went in for a very complicated procedure with no knowledge or information that she may be safer in the hands of a more experienced surgeon, and died as a result of Dr. Kangah’s negligence during the procedure.”
While these aforementioned steps seem obvious, in the process of starting and completing a procedure, anything could occur. After all, we’re all human, and that includes the medical professionals who we expect to take care of us.
By understanding these common steps to take, you as a patient can have these conversations with your surgeon and medical team prior to any operation or procedure to establish trust and understanding and create a measure of relief.
If you’re in Southern California and you feel that you might have a surgical error case, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Southern California surgical error lawyer today.
As a firm that specializes in medical malpractice, Raynes | Erickson can provide the professional and legal guidance you need when it comes to medical malpractice via surgical errors. If you’re looking for a surgical error lawyer in Southern California, contact us today. The applicable statute of limitations is likely already running, so timing can be critically important to your case. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation, confidential legal consultation.
Finding the right attorney could make the difference in the compensation you receive. We are Inland Empire & Southern California Malpractice Attorneys located in Redlands, California, and we’re proud to serve clients in the counties of San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego.