Anyone who opts for surgery should be told that surgical procedures carry inherent risk. But even if the operation is a success, even if you make it through the procedure without any medical complications, you could still be a victim of medical malpractice.
An experienced medical malpractice firm like Hannon Legal Group can assure you that medical malpractice in Florida is limited neither to the exam room nor the operating room. Once a patient is out of surgery and recovering, there is still a critical window of time when medical professionals cannot afford to act negligently. During this time of post-operative care, it is crucial for the health and wellbeing of the patient that the physicians, nurses, and other health care providers who are treating the patient act professionally and provide care that is in line with the minimal acceptable standard of care.Acceptable Medical Care Prevents Postsurgical Medical Malpractice
What does a minimal acceptable standard of care look like? The standard of care is said to be the way in which similarly qualified practitioners would have managed the patient’s care under the same or similar circumstances. Obviously, it differs from patient to patient and condition to condition, especially considering the various types of surgeries. But at the very least, medical professionals should provide timely follow up care where they observe and listen to their patient. Patient complaints cannot be ignored at this point just because their surgery is over, nor can a nurse or doctor assume the patient simply has a low threshold for discomfort and fail to take steps to treat the patient.
Another important part of adequate postoperative care is the monitoring of vital signs. When lab work is involved, physicians should study the patient’s lab results to ensure that no internal bleeding is taking place, among other possible complications. If it is, they must treat it in a timely and professional manner. Doctors should also be making every effort to preserve respiratory stability and cardiac stability. They must work to prevent blood clots or the possibility of an embolism, where a blood clot moves through the veins. And they must be vigilant, always looking for signs of an infection and treating it should it arise.The Negative Outcomes of Postoperative Medical Malpractice
Unfortunately, the errors and negligent care that takes place after surgery can be avoided. A shocking 18% of problems stem from poor communication between medical staff, according to a study conducted by the American College of Surgeons and uncovered by Miami-based medical malpractice law firm, Hannon Legal Group. When that happens and the patient is not monitored closely following a surgical procedure, negative outcomes can follow. Below is a list of just a few of the problems that a doctor, nurse, or medical professional should be working to avoid or remedy in a postoperative patient:
- Abdominal catastrophes / Acute abdomen
- Blood clots from improperly inserted IV needles
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Ileus, colon and bowel perforations
- Infections / Sepsis
- Pulmonary embolism
- Superficial thrombophlebitis
- Cardiac arrest / Myocardial infarction
- Anastomotic leak
- Wound dehiscence / separation
Some of the conditions mentioned on this list are obviously serious. Others, like infections, may not seem as serious because of how commonplace sinus infections, throat infections, and other routine infections are. But sepsis, a specific form of bacterial infection that affects the bloodstream, can be much more dangerous than the others. Sepsis can quickly progress to septic shock, which can, in turn, lead to life-threatening problems like kidney failure or even death.
Any complication that arises because you aren’t adequately monitored and cared for following your surgery can be postoperative malpractice if it causes you harm or injury.How a Post-operative Malpractice Victim Can Expect to be Compensated
When doctors, nurses, surgeons, or the staff at a hospital or surgery center have acted negligently following your surgery and you have suffered harm because of it, damages can be awarded. Generally, they fall into the following categories:
- Loss of consortium - You have a right to expect affection, comfort, companionship and sexual relations with a spouse. However, if post-surgical malpractice has caused a loss in any one of these areas, you may be compensated for the loss. Typically, damages of this type are awarded in situations where permanent or life-changing injuries have been suffered.
- Loss of earning capacity - You need to be able to work, earn money, and make a living. If your ability to do that has been damaged by post-operative negligence, either temporarily or permanently, you can be compensated to make up for this loss of the capacity to earn money.
- Lost wages - Sometimes, a postoperative error will mean a patient must miss work to recover from the injury. If that’s the case with you, you can be compensated for the lost salary or wages you had to do without.
- Medical expenses - Many times, a postoperative error will lead to additional, expensive medical treatments that would have been unnecessary otherwise. When that’s the case, a medical malpractice victim can be compensated for the cost of assistive devices, hospital stays, doctor visits, OT, PT, prescription drugs, surgery, or other healthcare expenses. If the injury is severe enough or permanent, you may also be awarded compensation for medical expenses that are likely to arise in the future.
- Pain and suffering - Pain and suffering as the result of post-surgical malpractice are very real. If you’re a victim, you can receive compensation for for emotional distress, including fear, frustration, depression, anxiety and other kinds of mental suffering.
- Other kinds of damages - This is not a comprehensive list. Hannon Legal Group can help you determine what sort of damages you can expect, based on the details of your particular post-surgical error malpractice case, as each case is unique.
As experienced medical malpractice lawyers handling medical negligence cases in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and all over Florida, the Hannon Legal Group team knows the basic standards of care you should expect from medical staff following surgery. If your post-surgical team has failed you or if you think they may have provided a level of care that isn’t acceptable, contact Hannon Legal Group for a free consultation. Our team of medical malpractice lawyers will investigate your claims and help you hold negligent health care providers accountable for their misdeeds.
Call (305) 358-3109 to speak with a postoperative medical malpractice attorney or complete and submit a contact form.