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Surgical mistakes: What are your rights when something goes wrong?


Researchers from Johns Hopkins University report that surgical errors are quite common in America. Approximately 80,000 preventable surgical mistakes occurred between 1990 and 2010. These errors include leaving foreign objects in patients, operations on the wrong area of the body and performing incorrect surgical procedures. Such mistakes may lead to debilitating injuries, as any surgical error attorney in Tennessee would know. Many victims of medical errors do not realize that they have a number of rights in these types of situations.

The right to learn what happened

According to the National Institutes of Health, patients have the right to know the extent of their injuries. They also have the right to learn precisely what went wrong. In cases in which the cause of a surgical problem is not readily apparent, patients may investigate the issue further. This may involve second opinions from other doctors. The physicians involved in the surgery must comply with patients' requests to send relevant medical records to other doctors for review.

The right to investigate the surgeon

In some cases, a surgical error is one problem in a long line of improper behavior by a particular doctor. Patients who suffer injuries due to a surgical mistake may wish to investigate not just the error, but also the surgeon.

There are many avenues through which this may be pursued, as any surgical error attorney in Tennessee would note. For example, Johns Hopkins University explains that hospitals are required to inform the National Practitioner Data Bank of all "never event" surgical errors. These types of mistakes are called never events because they are entirely preventable and should never occur. The data in the NPDB is available to the public, and may be useful in researching a surgeon or a hospital's record.

The right to pursue compensation

According to the Tennessee Medical Malpractice Act, patients who have been injured due to medical malpractice have the right to sue. If successful, the patients in these cases may be able to obtain compensation for the damages they sustained. Compensation in such lawsuits may include economic losses that the patient suffered as a direct result of the surgical error. Awarded damages may also address medical treatments and rehabilitation services that were required for recovery as well as pain and suffering inflicted by the actions of hospital staff.

Surgical errors are a serious problem in many health care facilities in the United States. Patients who have suffered injuries due to botched surgeries should know that they have rights. Perhaps the most important of these is the right to pursue litigation against physicians who failed to provide adequate surgical care. Those who wish to learn more about the legal options available to malpractice victims may wish to speak with a surgical error attorney in Tennessee.

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