There’s really no way to describe the feeling unless you’ve been through it. You enter a hospital room somewhere in Massachusetts and are ushered through a series of procedures and given many different lectures about what is about to happen. Eventually, all that remains is your lingering remnants of consciousness as you slip off into an anesthetic slumber, leaving your life in the hands of a surgeon who will proceed to cut into your body. The medical field of surgery is an undeniable testament to the progress of mankind’s endless thirst for knowledge and our progress in being able to treat diseases and ailments that were, at one time, completely untreatable and debilitating. Over 26 million surgeries were performed in 2012, and that number steadily increased from 1992 by 17 percent.
When dealing with a process as dangerous, complicated and unpredictable as surgery, patient deaths are an unfortunate certainty. What is most unsettling, though, is that a huge volume of patient deaths occur annually as a result of completely preventable mistakes, such as operating on the wrong person, or performing the wrong procedure, or something as careless as leaving a surgical device in somebody’s body. Numbers for this tragic reality are hard to pin down, but recent investigations have revealed that anywhere between 210,000 and 440,000 patients die every year due to preventable mistakes, which would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America behind only heart disease and cancer. Medical institutions take issue with this number, saying it is closer to 100,000. Realistically, any preventable death is a tragedy.
Specifically related to surgery, John Hopkins University published a study in 2012 reporting that about 4,000 “never events” – events that should never happen during happen surgery – happen annually in the United States. The study indicated that, every week in America, a surgeon leaves a surgical device such as a sponge or towel in a patient’s body 39 times, performs the wrong surgery on a patient 20 times, and performs surgery on the wrong part of a patient 20 times a week. These “never events” can have no consequences or life-threatening consequences, and are most likely underreported as some people will simply not be aware if the incident occurred unless something after the surgery goes wrong.
Never accept a surgical mistake
When we go into surgery, we are quite literally putting our lives into the hands of a stranger. A medically-trained and experienced stranger, sure, but a stranger all the same. We have to be able to expect they are prepared, competent and responsible enough to perform their job without committing any unavoidable mistakes that can cost us irreparable harm or much worse. If you or somebody you love has been the victim of a surgical mistake, do not sit quietly and endure suffering that was entirely not your fault. You are entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering and any subsequent operations required to handle the surgeon’s mistake.
At Altman & Altman LLP, our experienced legal team has over 40 years of experience litigating every different kind of medical malpractice suit imaginable. We are experts in pursuing settlements and taking more complicated matters to court when necessary. Negligence is never acceptable in a surgical setting. The stakes are simple too high. We will not rest until you receive the payment that you are legally entitled to and reserve. A consultation with one of our seasoned legal professionals is entirely free, and we don’t earn a penny unless you are successful in your claim. Call us today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7.