Surgical Errors and Medical Malpractice in Maryland: Understanding Liability and ConsequencesAugust 4, 2023
Medical malpractice can leave you or a loved one dealing with significant injuries. One of the most common types of medical malpractice is surgical errors. Each year, estimates of deaths from medical mistakes in the United States range from 250,000 to 440,000. Those patients who survive surgical errors could be dealing with the effects for years, whether they need additional surgeries or have permanent injuries. You may be able to receive financial compensation for errors resulting from surgical injuries.
Common Causes of Surgical Errors
Surgical errors can happen for several reasons, including:
- The doctor did not adequately plan the procedure considering your health and condition.
- The surgeon made an error during the procedure itself.
- The doctor did not have the proper experience and training to perform the surgery.
- There was a lack of communication between the doctor, the anesthesiologist, and the medical team.
- The medical team administered the wrong medication or anesthesia to the patient during surgery.
There are two categories of surgical errors:
- Errors of omission, where the doctor fails to do something they should have done.
- Errors of commission, where the doctor makes a mistake in an action that they have taken.
Proving Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Case
You have the burden of proof to show that the doctor did something wrong. As in any personal injury case, negligence is the legal standard you must meet to receive compensation.
To prove that a doctor should be liable for medical malpractice, you must show that they acted unreasonably under the circumstances. The law anticipates that not every surgery will lead to the ideal result. Just because there were complications or the surgery was ineffective does not mean the doctor has automatically done something wrong. To win your case, you must show that the doctor did something the ordinary doctor would not have done.
There are two significant issues in a surgical error medical malpractice case:
- Showing that the doctor failed to use reasonable care.
- Defeating the argument that you would have obtained the same result from your surgery regardless of what the doctor did or did not do.
There are some surgical error cases where what happened speaks for itself. For example, when the doctor leaves surgical equipment in your body or operates on the wrong body part, there is little way to defend that. However, those types of medical malpractice cases are scarce. More commonly, you suspect the doctor did not use ordinary skill and care, but you need evidence.
How to Prove Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Case
It is not always easy to prove your case to a jury, a group of people who were likely conditioned to trust doctors. You need evidence of your own that shows the doctor did something wrong. The best way to prove your case is through using medical expert witnesses. These doctors also review your medical records and testify that the doctor was negligent. They would describe what the reasonable doctor should have done under your circumstances.
Who May Be Responsible for Your Injuries?
If you can show that the doctor was negligent, you may be able to obtain compensation from one or more additional defendants. When a doctor works for a hospital or medical practice, their employer is responsible for negligent acts they committed during their employment. Joining a hospital to a lawsuit allows you to recover significant damages because the hospital has assets and a large insurance policy. The hospital usually becomes the plaintiff’s main defendant, and you must deal with their lawyers.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Can Stand Up for You
If you have been injured by medical malpractice, contact our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton today. Call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.
We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, Lanham, and Owings Mills, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.