Surgical errors are some of the most difficult and severe types of medical malpractice. The lasting effects permanently alter a victim’s life. In the most tragic cases, the victim does not survive. The family must deal with the sorrow of wrongful death, medical expenses, and sometimes a legal battle.
Has Your Life Been Affected by a Surgical Error?
Has a surgical error affected your life or the life of someone you love? Discuss your case with our San Francisco surgical errors attorneys. We aim to handle your case with compassion, single-minded determination, and detailed care from start to finish. Contact the San Francisco surgery errors attorneys at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly, and Schoenberger for a free consultation today.
Clients come to Walkup, Melodia, Kelly, & Schoenberger for many reasons.
- We have won more million-dollar verdicts than any law firm in Northern California.
- We have a physician-attorney on-staff and another on-call for medical malpractice cases.
- We are an award-winning firm that is well-liked by our clients. Our Yelp reviews offer insight into the open communication we have with our clients.
What Are Surgical Errors?
Surgical errors are any errors that happen during the surgical process. They can occur during preparation if a nurse or doctor marks a wrong area for the surgery; during anesthesia, if an anesthesiologist gives too little or too much medication; and even after, if hospital staff makes an error in care. Medical staff can make errors in surgical diagnostics, pre-op, post-op, and follow-up appointments. Sometimes, a surgical error is that the surgery should not have happened at all.
Any surgical mistakes also have important legal ramifications. Our attorneys represent a wide range of malpractice cases and are particularly experienced in handling surgical cases.
Sometimes settlements are solely meant to compensate for medical expenses and hardship. However, sometimes settlements of surgical error cases include punitive damages in cases of extreme recklessness on the part of a surgeon, surgical nurse, or anesthesiologist present during treatment.
Types of Surgical Errors Our Lawyers Handle
Many types of surgical errors lead to malpractice cases, ranging from minor to severe. All types of surgical errors are medically and legally unacceptable and have an adverse effect on the victim. A surgical error is an error that occurs at any point during the surgical processes, including pre-op, post-op, and recovery.
Any misinformation, misdiagnosis, failure to provide proper treatment, or failure to inform the patient of proper steps for recovery are all are potential examples of surgical error and malpractice.
What kind of surgical error cases do we handle?
- We handle surgical error cases related to the amputation of the wrong limb.
- We handle surgical error cases where a medical professional leaves a surgical instrument or piece of equipment inside the patient’s body.
- We handle surgical error cases where surgery causes birth injuries to the child or mother.
- We handle surgical error cases where the physician performed the wrong surgical procedure on the patient.
- We handle surgical error cases where the anesthesiologist or other medical professionals administered the wrong dosage of anesthesia or other drugs.
- We handle surgical error cases where the physician failed to diagnose or treat post-surgery complications, such as infections.
Common Mistakes Resulting in Surgical Error
Surgeons, anesthesiologists, and surgical nurses all make surgical errors. Mistakes happen in the medical community every day and some of these mistakes cause extreme bodily harm and wrongful death.
What are some reasons surgical errors occur in the first place?
- Performing an unnecessary surgery on a patient is surgical malpractice. The severity of the offense increases depending on whether it was an accident, or due to malicious intent.
- A medical professional negligently using surgical tools is surgical malpractice. This includes but is not limited to using unsanitary tools and leaving tools inside the body.
- Medical professionals engaging in unsanitary preparation for surgery is surgical malpractice.
- Medical professionals misreading, ignoring, or misreporting lab results is surgical malpractice.
- Discharging a patient prematurely after surgery is surgical malpractice.
- Failure to advise a patient of all risks and side-effects of surgery beforehand is surgical malpractice.
Many of these types of surgical errors result in extreme physical impairment and hardship for the victim. Unfortunately, some of these surgical errors also result in death. We have extensive of courtroom experience dealing with surgical errors and wrongful deaths and are prepared to help you or your loved one with a claim.
Punitive Damages in Medical Malpractice
Punitive damages are possible in some medical malpractice and surgical error cases. When defendants have shown reckless behavior or malice toward the victim, courts may award punitive damages as a punishment. These cases are not standard cases where a mistake led to a medical problem. These are severe cases, such as if a surgeon operated while intoxicated or operated to intentionally injure the patient. While these situations are rare, they do happen. Our firm has experience with some of the highest profile and most complex surgical malpractice cases in Northern California.
Though the court may award punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages, every state has a cap on how much the jury can award for punitive damages in medical malpractice cases. In California, that limit is 250,000. If you believe punitive damages may apply to your surgical error case, our attorneys can investigate.
The Statute of Limitations for Surgical Malpractice in California
Every state has a statute of limitations or a limit on how long a victim may wait to come forward with a medical malpractice claim. In California, the statute of limitations for surgical malpractice is one year. However, the state has another statute called the discovery rule. This rule extends the time a victim can come forward with a medical malpractice claim to three years. This applies when victims can prove they only discovered the condition or complication from surgery one-year statute of limitation.
The discovery rule acknowledges that not every surgical error is immediately obvious after an operation. In some cases, surgical materials degrade over time inside the body, such as internal stitches, surgical mesh, or medical devices. In other cases, an error during surgery or recovery simply does not become obvious until years after the procedure. For these reasons, it is extremely important for victims to discuss their case with an attorney as soon as they are able. If a plaintiff waits too long, it could negatively impact the case, or prevent the case from going to trial at all.
Just a Few Examples of Our Case Successes Through the Years
The Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Shoenberger firm has served clients in California for over 50 years. As one of the top personal injury firms in the country, we have an unparalleled record of multi-million-dollar settlements, awards, and verdicts.
- A $38.6 million settlement awarded to the victim of Myrick v. Hansa in a medical malpractice case concerning the failure to diagnose a stroke.
- A $23.2 million settlement awarded to the victim in Rogers v. AMC Clinic for obstetrical negligence resulting in cerebral palsy for the child.
- A $9.4 million jury settlement awarded to the victim in Dahl v. Stone, M.D. for delayed diagnosis of an abscess.
- A $9 million settlement awarded to the victims in Twins v. Fertility Center for failure to diagnose cystic fibrosis.
- A $6.5 million settlement awarded to the victim for a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) brain injury at birth.
- A $6.25 million settlement awarded to the victim in Minor v. Valley HMO for negligent neurosurgery resulting in personal injury.
- A $6 million settlement awarded to the victim in a case of delayed cesarean section/HIE resulting in birth injury.
- A $5.7 million settlement awarded to the victim in Infant v. Regional Medical Center for birth injury.
- A $5.6 million settlement awarded to the victim for anesthesia causing wrongful death.
- A $5.5 million settlement awarded to the victim in Physician v. Hospital for failure to diagnose an abscess.
- A $5.38 million settlement awarded to the victim in Lin v. HMO for birth injury from medical malpractice.
- A $5.1 million settlement awarded to the victim in Patient v. Medical Device Manufacturer for a dangerous surgical device and medical malpractice.
Why You Need a San Francisco Surgical Error Attorney
If you or a loved one experienced surgical error resulting in injury, complications, pain and suffering or wrongful death, talk to one of our attorneys. Because of the statute of limitations on when you can file a malpractice claim, contact an attorney as soon as possible. Our firm has some of the best personal injury attorneys in the country, and will help you navigate your surgical error case. Though no outcome in a courtroom can undo the injustice done to you or someone you love, a compensatory settlement can help reimburse medical expenses and ease some personal suffering.
With over 50 years of experience in California personal injury and medical malpractice law, Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Shoenberger have the experience you need. Contact us today for a free surgical error case consultation.