Patients seek help from a surgeon because they want relief from symptoms or to stop the progression of a disease. Despite their desire for better health, many patients go under the knife reluctantly. Yet they trust their surgeons to use their training and skill for the patient’s benefit.

Unfortunately, the unimaginable sometimes happens, and surgeon operates on the wrong body part. This could still leave a patient at risk of the medical consequences surgery was supposed to alleviate and with a deformity caused by the operation.

If your surgeon operated on the wrong body part, you could hold them accountable through a surgical malpractice lawsuit. A Poughkeepsie wrong-site surgery lawyer could help you get monetary damages to compensate for the harm the negligent surgeon caused.

Surgery on the Wrong Body Part is a Preventable Error

There is no way for a surgeon to operate on the wrong body part absent carelessness on someone’s part. Hospitals and surgical centers usually have multiple processes to ensure that such errors do not occur.

The main accrediting body in the US requires hospitals to follow universal protocols to prevent wrong-site surgery. These protocols call for medical personnel to mark the surgical site on the patient’s body and require the surgical team to confirm the patient’s identity and the procedure they are scheduled to undergo.

According to a recent study in the Global Spine Journal, these protocols could prevent a surgeon from operating on the wrong patient or the wrong side of the body, but in spite of all this, wrong-site spinal surgery still occurs. It happens most often when a surgeon operates on the wrong vertebra during back surgery. This is called “wrong level” spine surgery. Whenever this occurs, a Poughkeepsie wrong-site surgery attorney could hold the surgical team accountable through a malpractice lawsuit.

Proving That Negligence Led to Wrong-Site Surgery

Proving negligence in any medical malpractice case requires the patient to show that the medical professional did not provide an appropriate standard of care. The appropriate standard of care is the degree of knowledge and skill that a healthcare provider with the same training and experience would have provided to a patient in similar circumstances. Operating on the wrong site would violate the standard of care under almost any circumstances.

In some cases, there might be a question about whether an orthopedic surgeon who operated on the wrong level of someone’s spine violated the standard of care. Differentiating the placement of vertebrae is challenging in some patients, especially those with obesity or specific spinal abnormalities. In such cases, a physician might argue that a similarly credentialed provider might have made a similar error on a particular patient.

However, convincing a jury that wrong-site surgery is an excusable error is challenging. Accordingly, in many cases of wrong-site surgery, the healthcare providers settle a case without going to trial. A Poughkeepsie wrong-site error attorney could negotiate to ensure the plaintiff receives a fair settlement for all they endured.

Damages for Wrong-Site Surgery

Negligent healthcare providers owe damages to patients who suffer from the inconvenience and potentially permanent health impacts of wrong-site surgery. A patient’s damages would include all costs associated with the wrong-site surgery, as well as a surgery to perform the originally scheduled procedure. In addition, a patient could receive non-economic damages to compensate for the subjective losses they experienced due to the error. Even if a wrong-site surgery did not cause permanent damage to the patient’s health, they experienced the pain, emotional trauma, and inconvenience of additional surgery and deserve to receive compensation.

In rare cases, if the plaintiff could prove that the defendant acted with willful disregard for their wellbeing, they might collect punitive damages in a medical malpractice case. A Poughkeepsie attorney could advise a patient whether the facts of their case could support a claim for punitive damages.

Trust Your Claim to a Poughkeepsie Wrong-Site Surgery Attorney

If your surgeon operated on the wrong part of your body, you deserve compensation. Wrong-site surgery is a preventable mistake and your surgical team should be accountable for harming you. A Poughkeepsie wrong-site surgery lawyer could help you get appropriate damages for your harrowing experience, so call today to schedule a case review.