Going into surgery can be nerve-racking. Whether your operation is a complicated, hours-long operation or a fairly routine outpatient procedure, surgery is surgery. You are entrusting your health in the surgical team’s hands. A careless mistake by someone on the team could cause serious complications or even put your life at risk.
One man’s experience during cataract surgery gives an example of how things can go wrong even during a very common operation. Eye surgeons in Des Moines and across the country perform millions of cataract operations every year. The procedure is simple and typically takes about half an hour. But the patient typically must be put under anesthesia, which always carries risk.
‘Pressure’ from a cut during sedation
In this case, the man suffered a cut to his forehead while being put under anesthesia. He later recalled feeling “pressure” on the right side of his head as the nurse anesthesiologist increased the sedation dosage. Suddenly, the patient sensed a commotion around him. The doctor screamed in his ear not to move and asked someone else, “What’s that cut on his head?”
The patient forgot about it at first, and nobody told him about the cut. But when he later woke up from a nap to find blood on his pillow, he remembered what he felt and heard in his partly-sedated state. At his post-operative checkup, the doctor admitted the error.
Holding the responsible parties liable for medical mistakes
Fortunately, the cut was small and not serious. But surgical errors like this happen more often than you think. Sometimes, they permanently disable the patient or require grueling revision surgery and other interventions to fix. Doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists and hospitals that commit medical malpractice are responsible for the damages to their patients. But to enforce your right to compensation, you will need a strong case based on the evidence and the applicable law.