Effective Washington, D.C. Surgical Errors Injury Lawyers
Advocating for fair treatment of victims throughout the Nation’s Capitol
Every surgery poses some level of risk, even when performed by experienced medical professionals. When a surgeon or the attending staff makes a mistake, however, the results can be devastating. At Paulson & Nace, PLLC, we are your advocates when a medical professional’s negligence resulted in a surgical error. For more than 40 years, our family law firm has protected the rights of victims and the futures of their families throughout Washington, D.C. We have secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for medical malpractice victims, and we may be able to help you, too.
Common surgical errors you may face in the District of Columbia
The experienced team of trial attorneys at Paulson & Nace offers comprehensive guidance and support to the victims of surgical errors. Some of the cases most often referred to us include:
- Wrongful amputation. We take on complex amputation cases, including those where a surgeon has removed the wrong limb, as well as cases involving patients who may have been able to avoid amputation had there not been a failure to diagnose and treat conditions more quickly.
- Foreign objects left in bodies. Surgeons leave sponges, small tools and other surgical debris in patients’ bodies more often than you might think. Leaving foreign objects inside a patient can lead to infections or organ perforation, and necessitate additional surgery to correct.
- Anesthesia errors. If the wrong dosage of anesthesia is administered, it can have life-altering – and potentially fatal – results.
- Incision mistakes. One wrong incision can lead to internal bleeding. If the bleeding is not stopped almost immediately, a patient could die. Paulson & Nace handles all cases involving incision mistakes, including those that lead to a perforated bowel or a damaged organ. We also take cases involving permanent nerve damage and paralysis that occurs as the result of an incision error.
- Oxygen deprivation. Brain cells begin to die between four and six minutes of being deprived of oxygen. Anesthesia errors, neurosurgery errors, internal bleeding and improper monitoring techniques could all lead to oxygen deprivation and permanent brain damage.
- Operating on the wrong patient or part. Everyone involved in a surgical procedure should be expected to double-check which patient goes into the operating room. If a surgeon operates without looking at a patient’s chart, he or she could end up performing a procedure on the wrong patient. The surgeon could also perform the wrong type of surgery, leaving the damaged or infected body part or organ in place while operating on a perfectly healthy one
Our skilled team of lawyers also provides legal assistance and guidance to victims who have developed an infection after a surgery, either because of improperly sterilized tools or a hospital staff’s failure to monitor the patient closely. Any of these events can become eligible for a Washington, D.C. surgical error lawsuit.
What is a surgical never event?
Wrong-site surgeries include some of the surgical errors mentioned above such as amputating the wrong limb, or operating on the wrong patient or part of your body. These egregious mistakes are termed “never events” because they should never, ever happen because they are largely preventable when the right protocols are followed. These events also include “clearly identifiable and measurable” incidents that leave patients seriously disabled or even cause their wrongful death.
There are several categories of never events involving surgical errors such as:
- Surgical or procedural events. This primary category is where devastating wrong-site surgeries
- Product or device events. These result from the use of contaminated drugs or devices or using a medical device outside of its intended function.
- Patient protection events. This is when patients who have undergone medical care, including wrong-site surgeries, are wrongfully discharged from care, become further injured due to improper supervision, or the psychological affects of the surgical error cause them to commit suicide.
- Care management events. Medication errors or use of incorrect blood products that coincide with surgeries on the wrong patient can cause injury or death.
- Environmental events. Where lines designated for oxygen or gas delivery are contaminated or contain the wrong gas for the wrong patient cause severe injury, disability, or death.
- Criminal events. Performing a wrong-site surgery can occur when a surgeon is illegally working under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which can leave patients disabled for life, or cause their death. This has been the case with a number of surgeons, including one who became known as “ Death.”
You need a team of attorneys who take their duty to investigate your case as seriously as you do. The personal injury lawyers at Paulson & Nace, PLLC take these surgical error injuries personally because you should not have to worry about whether you can trust a surgeon when you are at your most vulnerable.
How common are surgical errors at Washington, D.C. hospitals and centers?
Surgical errors unfortunately occur at a pretty steady pace. Orthopedic surgeons alone have monitored the incident rate for wrong-site surgeries and the following statistics were reported over a six month period:
- Operating on the wrong side of the body occurred in 59% of procedures.
- Operating on the wrong body part occurred in 23% of procedures.
- Conducting the wrong surgical procedure occurred 14% of the time.
- Performing surgery on the wrong patient occurred 5% of the time.
It has been estimated overall that only one out of every 112,000 surgical procedures performed in the operating room encounters one of these errors. That seems to indicate that these errors would only happen once at any given hospital every 5–10 years. Unfortunately, that data doesn’t consider ambulatory surgeries or other settings such as medical facilities operated by Veterans Affairs, where it has been documented that 50% of wrong-site surgical errors took place outside of operating rooms.
Should I file a lawsuit for a surgical error?
When a surgeon or the attending staff makes an error during the procedure, there is always a chance that you may need to undergo a revision surgery to correct it. This means you will spend more time under anesthesia, more time with your body exposed to potential pathogens or infections, and more time recuperating. Not all insurance companies will pay for revision surgeries, either, which can increase your medical bills exponentially.
At Paulson & Nace, PLLC we know what you and your family face when an act of medical negligence leads to a surgical error. We know that you are frightened about your health and your future. We are aggressive advocates for our clients’ rights as patients and as victims, and we do not back down in the face of insurance companies or hospital administrators who do not want to provide you the compensation required to get well. We work with expert witnesses, financial experts, and other professionals to build your case, so we can present the full scope of your injuries to a jury. We have been fighting successfully on behalf of medical malpractice victims in Washington, D.C. for decades, and we know what it takes to build a winning case against a negligent medical facility or healthcare provider. With Paulson & Nace, PLLC by your side, you will never be left to stand and fight this alone.
We make the rights of D.C. surgical error victims a priority
Paulson & Nace, PLLC, is a premier surgical error injury law firm that is privileged to claim more than 40 years of serving our community by helping victims across the greater Washington, D.C. area. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury at the hands of a surgical team please contact Paulson & Nace, PLLC to schedule your free case evaluation by calling 202.463.1999 or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact form.