Is Unnecessary Surgery Grounds for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
It’s everyone’s worst nightmare—waking up from surgery only to find yourself worse off than you were before the surgery because of complications—or worse, not waking up at all. And it happens more often than you might think. Unnecessary surgical procedures are a form of medical malpractice, and while not every case is grounds for a lawsuit, if it’s clear that a doctor was negligent, then you are likely eligible for compensation. Let’s go over some basic facts regarding what situations qualify for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
When is a Surgery Considered Unnecessary?
When considering filing a medical malpractice suit, it’s important to understand when surgery is considered medically unnecessary. Here are a few instances in which you can file a medical malpractice suit:
- When negligence causes a doctor to misdiagnose a patient
- When a patient is not given informed consent before their surgery
- A doctor operates on the wrong body part or person
- When a doctor performs an unnecessary procedure to receive a higher payment
- And more…
Unnecessary surgeries place patients at a higher risk for complications and infections. They also cause the patient to experience a longer recovery period, often resulting in lost wages, physical therapy fees, and higher hospital bills.
To prove medical malpractice occurred, a lawyer must show that the operating doctor deviated from the appropriate medical standard of care. While it’s easy to claim that a medical procedure may have been unnecessary in hindsight, the plaintiff must prove that it was unnecessary from the onset of the problem. This means if a patient arranged for surgery to repair a broken foot bone, but during the procedure, the doctor noticed a severe infection that required removal of the entire foot, then the patient must then prove there were justifiable and alternative means of curing the infection other than amputation. To do this, attorneys summon expert witnesses to the stand.
Proving Medical Malpractice Through Expert Witness Testimony
In order to demonstrate the defendant was negligent in providing proper medical treatment, your lawyer will likely summon professionals within the medical field to testify about how your surgery was medical malpractice. Evidence to prove medical malpractice can include gathering information on the patient’s condition before the procedure, their symptoms, and all relevant records on their medical history. Additionally, the expert witness will provide insight into the defendant, including their past experience treating similar medical problems and whether or not the defendant informed the patient adequately regarding the procedure (referred to as “informed consent”). Other details, such as current research guidelines about treating the plaintiff’s condition and potential complications surrounding the surgery, are also considered.
While damages are different for each individual, most cases of medical malpractice are eligible for financial compensation for the following reasons:
- Lost Wages
- Lost Future Earnings
- Wrongful Death Claims (If the Patient Dies During Surgery)
- Costs of Prescription Medications
- Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy Costs
- Emotional Distress/Pain and Suffering
Have You Been the Victim of Medical Malpractice or an Unnecessary Surgery?
Because medical malpractice risks are so high, doctors have excellent insurance companies that will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying you the money you deserve. That means that without a skilled lawyer by your side, maximizing your settlement will be extremely challenging.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer experienced in medical malpractice claims is tremendously important to ensure you win the compensation for your damages possible.