Physicians don’t always provide the professional standard of care required by law on behalf of their patients. Sometimes, they make negligent or reckless mistakes that end up harming the people who trust them.
When it comes to the risk of surgical errors, people often focus on what happens before the operation or during the procedure. Anesthesia mistakes, wrong-site errors and retained foreign bodies are all examples of how things can go drastically wrong during or right before a surgery. However, for many patients, the complications they experience develop after a procedure is complete. A surgeon or medical facility may be partially liable for someone’s poor medical outcome if inadequate surgical aftercare leads to preventable complications.
Why aftercare matters
Even simple surgeries come with certain risks. At the very least, surgical patients need education and tools to help them keep their incision clean as it heals. People could end up with a severe infection, especially if their incision is in a hard-to-reach area and they don’t receive any education about keeping the wound properly clean.
Frequent communication with medical professionals after the procedure would help someone better monitor the state of their incision and identify warning signs of an infection. The incision itself may not heal properly without supervision following the procedure. Patients often do not follow or understand the restrictions on their activity following surgery and could reopen their wound or prevent it from fully healing.
Pain management is also a reason why proper aftercare is so important. Patients who don’t have a doctor supervising them as they taper off of opioid drugs might find themselves addicted and end up trying to source the same medication on the unregulated market. All of these risk factors are well-known and should therefore influence how doctors provide care for people who have undergone surgical procedures.
Poor care may constitute malpractice
When a patient suffers a poor outcome that directly relates to something their doctor did not do, they may potentially have grounds for a malpractice claim. Insufficient aftercare is one of several concerns related to surgery that might lead to a medical malpractice claim against the surgeon or the facility that employs them.
Being able to identify a medical concern as a form of medical malpractice is important for patients who are coping with the consequences of substandard medical care. As this identification process is often an extremely difficult and complex undertaking, seeking legal guidance from a knowledgeable legal professional is often the best way forward.