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34 percent of medical malpractice claims are for surgical errors

Approximately 34 percent of all claims filed against doctors are for mistakes made during surgeries. Estimates indicate that errors occur once in every 10,000 procedures. Oregon readers might find it interesting that medical malpractice suits filed due to surgical errors cite mistakes such as operating on the wrong part of the body, leaving surgical materials in the patient and burns patients receive from surgical fires.

Every case is unique, however, and some cases arise out of different circumstances. Recently, a family was awarded $30 million by a jury in a medical malpractice case involving a toddler. When the child was born in 2009, he suffered from numerous conditions, none of which were considered to be life threatening. One of those conditions was a leak in the child's esophagus.

The Illinois surgeon whose care the child was under put him through 25 procedures in just 17 months. According to the child's family, the surgeries caused irreversible brain damage and cerebral palsy. The parents contend that the surgeon's care was irresponsible and careless. Furthermore, the family accuses the hospital of failing to oversee the surgeon's activities. The jury agreed.

Surgical mistakes can leave a patient with irreparable injuries and permanent disabilities -- that is, if they survive. Oregon residents who suffer injuries, or lose a loved one, due to a negligent surgeon retain the right to ask a civil court to hold the surgeon, and possibly others, financially responsible. Filing a medical malpractice claim could provide the patient and/or the family with an award for damages that could help defray the financial burdens that often accompany surgical errors.

Source: skylinenewspaper.com, "Surgeon Involved in $30 Million Medical Malpractice Settlement", March 22, 2016

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