Surgical Injury Lawyers New Jersey
If you or a loved one suffered serious injury because of a surgical error or negligence on the part of a hospital in New Jersey, call the NJ medical malpractice lawyers of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP. We are recognized among the pre-eminent personal injury law firms in the state, representing people who have suffered injury or lost a loved one because of surgeon malpractice or other negligence on the part of a medical professional. Our record of compensation recovery includes multi-million dollar verdicts and settlement awards.
What you should know about how surgical errors are classified
A research study out of Johns Hopkins University reports that each year there are about 250,000 deaths due to medical mistakes in the United States. If medical error were listed as a cause of death on death certificates, it would rank as the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. Even respiratory disease, which kills more than 150,000 people each year does not surpass the number of deaths from preventable medical errors. Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H., a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is advocating for changing how deaths are reported in the United States to reflect the reality of the staggering number of patient deaths from medical mistakes.
Most serious injuries and deaths resulting from surgical procedures are not reported as surgical errors. While the operation may have been a success the patient often suffers injury or death resulting from postoperative care, including infections, improper monitoring of vital signs, heart failure, or harmful medications.
Extreme surgical errors called "never events"
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that there are few surgical errors as terrifying as those that involve surgery on the wrong body part, or the wrong body entirely. These serious medical mistakes are referred to as "never events," because they are preventable medical errors that should never occur. The fact that they ever occur points to significant safety problems in the healthcare organization.
Examples of medical mistakes that lead to patient injury
When a person schedules surgery, the patient is counting on several medical care providers fulfilling their responsibilities to the patient and working together to ensure the best result possible. From initial diagnosis, to X-rays, to anesthesiology and surgery, to post-op care. The hospital is required to have communication systems in place to ensure that the medical services meet the accepted standard of care, including effective communication with the patient’s primary care physician. Any breakdown in diagnosis or medical care that results in increased injury to the patient may make the hospital and/or surgeon liable for medical negligence.
There are countless different types of surgical errors, some of which cause minimal harm, but some lead to serious injury or death. AHRQ estimates that 60 percent of surgical errors are related to operating on the wrong side of the patient. The following are examples of serious, preventable medical mistakes that cause injury or death to patients:
- Operating on the wrong side of the body. Wrong side surgery, as horrifying as it sounds, occurs far more often than it should in hospitals throughout the U.S.
- Wrong site surgery might involve operating on the wrong level of the spine, or on the wrong lobe of the lung.
- Operating on the wrong patient. This kind of inexcusable error is often the result of poor communication and negligent hospital protocols.
- Leaving a foreign object inside the patient. In their rush to close and move on to the next surgery, physicians might leave a sponge, pad, clamp, or other surgical implement inside the patient's body which can lead to pain, infection, and even death.
- Anesthesia errors can be deadly if too much medication was administered. If not enough anesthesia was administered, the patient could wake up during surgery and suffer excruciating pain and trauma.
- Negligent conduct during surgery. If the physician is intoxicated, sleep deprived, or otherwise not at his or her best, he or she can make mistakes that could injure the patient or lead to death.
- Nerve damage or perforated organs can occur when a physician accidently nicks a nerve or neighboring organ unintentionally, which can cause infection, pain, and disability.
- Failure to recognize a complication during surgery.
If you or a loved one was injured because of medical negligence, the skilled NJ medical malpractice attorneys at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow are here to represent you and to fight for the compensation you deserve.
Common causes of surgical errors in NJ
The following are examples of some of the causes of surgical errors and the types of medical negligence cases we handle:
- Anesthesia complications, anesthesiologist negligence
- C-section and delivery room surgery errors
- Communication errors between doctors and primary care physicians
- Errors regarding informed consent
- Eye Surgery Error
- Laparoscopic Surgery
- Medication errors, injuries from pain medication
- Misdiagnosis resulting in unnecessary surgery
- Negligent preoperative clearance
- Negligent postoperative care, malnutrition, dehydration, infections
How much time do I have to take legal action for a surgical mistake?
In New Jersey, the legal time limit for filing a claim for medical negligence is called the statute of limitations, which is two years from the date of injury. In cases where the injury is discovered some time after the surgery, such as happens in the case of a retained object, the clock begins tolling when the injury was discovered, or when it reasonably should have been discovered.
Because of the limited time frame, it is critical that you contact a knowledgeable NJ medical malpractice attorney from Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow immediately so that we can begin the work of preparing your case.
NJ surgical malpractice lawyers protecting your future
We have experience representing clients in injury and wrongful death cases resulting from surgical errors and other forms of medical negligence. From offices in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, the NJ medical malpractice lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP advise and represent clients in medical malpractice and personal injury litigation matters throughout New Jersey. Call our office at 732-777-0100 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.