While any surgery involves some risk of harm, some injuries that arise following an operation are not caused by known risks but result from surgical errors. Surgical errors do not occur without some degree of negligence, and they can cause severe and permanent harm. If you sustained damages due to a surgical error, it is critical to engage a knowledgeable Rhode Island surgical malpractice lawyer who is adept at proving liability in medical malpractice lawsuits. Attorney David Tapalian will work diligently to help you pursue the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case.Common Types of Surgical Errors
Prior to performing any surgery, the surgeon is required to advise the patient of the known and foreseeable risks of the surgery. Surgical risks vary depending on the nature and complexity of the surgery. When a surgery causes an injury that is not a known risk of a particular surgery, it is often due to a surgical error. Common examples of harm caused by surgical errors include nerve damage, leaving foreign objects inside a patient, and operating on the wrong site or wrong patient. In some cases, a surgeon may err by choosing the incorrect surgical procedure to address the patient’s health issues. Inappropriate amounts of anesthesia may constitute a surgical error as well.Liability for Surgical Errors
In lawsuits involving surgical errors, the injured person and a surgical malpractice attorney in Rhode Island must prove that the surgeon negligently breached the standard of care. The standard of care imposed on surgeons differs from the reasonable person standard of care that applies in most Rhode Island negligence cases. Since surgeons are required to obtain specialized knowledge and skill to engage in their profession, they are required to perform their duties with the degree of care and skill that a competent surgeon in the same practice area would employ under similar circumstances. After the standard of care is established, the person harmed by the surgical error must then show that the error constituted a breach of the standard of care. Finally, the injured person must prove that the error caused him or her to suffer actual damages.The Need for Experts in Surgical Error Lawsuits
In most medical malpractice cases, a medical expert is required to establish the standard of care. Under Rhode Island law, only individuals with skill, training, and experience practicing in the same field as the defendant surgeon are qualified to testify as to whether the alleged surgical error constituted a breach of the standard of care. A Rhode Island surgical malpractice attorney generally will need to retain an appropriate expert to help prove a victim’s case. Expert testimony is also usually required to prove the manner in which the breach of the standard of care caused the harm alleged.
In cases involving a clear error, such as when a doctor operates on a patient’s left leg rather than their right leg or leaves a sponge inside the patient, the patient may be able to rely upon the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, which means that the error speaks for itself. For an injured person to rely upon the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, they must show that the injury suffered would not occur without negligence, the injury was caused by an instrument in the exclusive control of the surgeon, and the injured person did not contribute to the cause of the injury in any way. Thus, expert testimony may not be needed to establish the standard of care if the negligence is so clear that it is within a layperson’s knowledge.Meet with a Knowledgeable Surgical Malpractice Lawyer in Rhode Island
Surgical errors can result in catastrophic, lifelong harm. If you sustained harm due to a surgical error, it is critical to meet with a trusted medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and what you must prove to recover compensation. Attorney David Tapalian has the knowledge and skill needed to help you set forth compelling arguments in favor of your recovery. He has an office in Providence and is available to meet for consultations by appointment at his second office in Seekonk, Massachusetts. You can reach Mr. Tapalian through the online form or at 401-552-5000 to schedule a conference to discuss your case.