Maryland Surgical Error Lawyers: When Does a Surgical Complication Become Malpractice?April 12, 2012
Surgery is complicated, no matter how large or small a procedure may be. There are always risks inherent in surgery. Sometimes complications just happen naturally, due to the age, health, or condition of the patient. However, sometimes complications happen because a doctor or other professional doesn’t do his or her job correctly. When this happens, we call it medical malpractice.
How do we know when it’s malpractice and not just a surgical complication?
The burden of proof in a medical malpractice claim lies with the plaintiff. The plaintiff must prove:
- That the doctor owed you a duty of care
- That the duty of care was breached
- That the breach caused injury
- That the breach resulted in damages
Here are a few examples of medical malpractice:
- Surgery on the wrong body part. The wrong organ is removed, or the wrong side is operated on.
- Foreign object left behind. A medical instrument is left behind in the patient’s body, causing lasting and significant injury.
- Unsanitary equipment. Improperly sanitized equipment causes life-threatening infection.
- Anesthesia errors. Improper dosing, wrong medication, or a form to which the patient is allergic can cause brain damage and sometimes death.