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Surgical Mistakes

It may seem like the plot of a bad made-for-TV movie that a scalpel is left inside the patient’s body after an operation or when a surgeon operates on the wrong organ…

Unfortunately, surgery requires the use of numerous tools and involves dozens of people and mistakes happen.  Surgical errors that have led to lawsuits in recent history include:

  • Forgotten medical instruments
    • Surgery requires numerous tools and devices, including small and seemingly unimportant parts like scissors, sponges, clamps, or needles.  When one of these is left in a person’s body, that person can become gravely ill or even die from it. 
      • Hospitals and the medical profession has procedures all medical professionals must follow to try to prevent such things from happening. But when those rules are disregarded and a person is careless, that constitutes medical negligence and malpractice.  
  • Infections
    • Cutting open a body puts a person at risk for infection prior to healing – bacteria can get inside the wound and cause serious even fatal complications
    • But sometimes, infections occur while the patient is still at the hospital.  Approximately 1 out of every 20 patients undergoing surgery will develop an infection while still in the hospital.  And most infections like these are caused by poor hygiene on the part of the surgeon, medical assistants, and hospital staff.  
      • Improper hygiene is no reason for a person to become sicker during a medical procedure.  Medical malpractice law is meant to hold medical facilities accountable for poor maintenance and substandard disinfection.
  • Falls
    • People undergoing surgery are often under anesthesia or sedation, rendering them more disoriented than usual.  People may also be weakened because of the medical condition necessitating the surgery or even on account of the trauma of the surgery.  And sometimes, people are hooked up to IVs and wearing gowns and slippers, two conditions most people don’t deal with when walking around, increasing even more the risk for tripping, sipping, and falling.
      • Hospitals and medical staff are responsible for ensuring you can safely move around and are not at risk of falling.  If someone’s error or carelessness caused you to become hurt, this is medical negligence.
  • Wrong-site surgery or surgery on the wrong patient
    • Hospital procedure is designed to ensure that no patient goes into bypass surgery for a heart problem but emerges with a missing appendix.  Unfortunately, these mistakes do happen.
      • Cases occur each year wehre a patient was put into the wrong operating room and the wrong surgery was performed.  Still other cases occur where a surgeon mistakenly operated on the left instead of the right limb.
      • These mistakes could be gravely dangerous should never happen.  At NB&W, we are here to help you hold those negligent parties accountable if you have been seriously hurt by a medical professional’s negligence. 
  • Anesthesia problem
    • Putting a patient under anesthesia can be a high-risk situation. 
      • If an anesthesiologist makes a mistake that causes you further medical problems or costs a family member his or her life, you or your family could be entitled to recover for medical expenses, pain and suffering, wrongful death, and possibly more.   


  • Surgical accident
    • Sometimes there is no problem with hygiene, no tools were forgotten, and the correct procedure was performed on the right patient, but still, the patient is injured and requires further medical treatment
      • For example, when undergoing the removal of an ovarian cyst, a surgeon may nick the patient’s bowel, causing further problems and necessitating still another surgery.
        • When you have been hurt worse by a medical procedure, even if the consequences are unavoidable or are known risks for that situation, still, you may be entitled to recover for your medical expenses, your pain and suffering, and possibly more.  

When a surgical error causes a serious injury which could have been prevented, you and your family should not be responsible for the damages.