In our last post, we mentioned a recent study which highlighted the benefit of returning to the facility that performed a surgical operation when post-op complications arise. As we mentioned, it is important for any patient who experiences serious complications after an operation to consider whether the providers who performed the operation did so in accordance with accepted standards of care.
When a patient suffers life-threatening complications following a surgery, the costs can be significant, depending on the nature of the complication, how it must be addressed, and any long-term consequences, such as lost earning capacity and pain and suffering. In cases where a surgical complication is fatal, of course, there are not only these costs, but lost earnings from the deceased family member, as well as funeral expenses and emotional damages.
Not every medical error, it should be made clear, rises to the level necessary to constitute the breach of a standard of care. In any surgical operation, there are some risks and the patient has to be aware of these as a possibility. That being said, physicians are expected to abide by minimum standards of care.
Standards of care can vary according to the type of operation and the state or area in which the operation occurred, but there are some standards that are universally accepted. Still, sorting out the issue in court can get complicated, as can sorting out the issue of causation. By causation, we are referring to the fact that even when a physician is found to have breached an accepted standard of care, that breach must be causally connected to the harm suffered by the patient. Proving this can be a challenge as well.
In any medical malpractice case, of course, it is critical to work with an experienced attorney, both to have the case properly evaluated as to its viability for medical malpractice litigation and to ensure the strongest case possible is presented in court.