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Can families file wrongful death lawsuits after surgical errors occur?

Surgery is one of the most invasive types of medical care possible. Doctors who perform surgical procedures go through some of the most intense training and internships out of any medical specialists. Despite the thorough educational requirements and licensing standards imposed on surgeons, mistakes do still happen in the operating theater.

The unfortunate reality is that mistakes that occur during surgery can potentially lead to someone dying. Those waiting for someone to come out of surgery may instead learn that they will never get to talk with their loved one again. Families coping with the surprising and unexpected grief that comes from a sudden death may wonder about what options they have if they want to pursue justice.

Fatal medical malpractice is potentially actionable

Surgeons have a duty of care to each of their patients. They should focus on the operation that they perform so that they don’t make mistakes. They need to acknowledge when personal limitations could affect job performance and also need to stay up to date about the best practices for the types of operations that they perform. Surgeons and anesthesiologists who make mistakes during procedures can cause preventable fatalities. Those affected by someone’s death could potentially file a wrongful death lawsuit if they can establish that negligence or misconduct caused their loved ones that.

Major errors in an operating room, such as surgical never events, may provide the necessary grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. A never event is an error so severe that it should never happen in a professional setting. It is a preventable medical mistake. Leaving an object inside a patient, performing the wrong procedure on a patient or operating on the wrong part of the body are all examples of never events that could lead to someone dying. Showing that someone did not follow proper protocol could help prove that a surgeon was negligent.

Many surgical fatalities involved not the operation itself but rather issues with anesthesia. Failing to review someone’s medical history, check them for allergies and properly identify drugs could all lead to fatal anesthesia errors. Those preventable errors might also warrant a wrongful death lawsuit.

If other professionals with the same training and expertise believe that what a surgeon or anesthesiologist did was wrong or that they failed to do something necessary for the protection of a patient, then grieving family members may be able to take legal action in response to their recent family tragedy. Yet, it can be quite difficult for those with limited medical knowledge to develop a wrongful death lawsuit related to surgical malpractice. Having help when analyzing a medical tragedy and preparing for court could help families secure justice after a surgery takes a tragic turn.