Medical Malpractice

Surgical Errors

According to American Medical News, each year there are over 4,000 mistakes made during surgery that should never happen. These surgical errors are often called “never” events, as they never should have occurred. These events can include leaving surgical instruments behind in the patient, performing a wrong procedure, operating upon a wrong surgical site, or performing a surgery on the wrong patient. While the majority of the time the injury suffered is temporary, there are occasions when a patient is left with a permanent injury. In any case, these never events are unacceptable.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a surgical error caused by a medical professional, please contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation. We offer a free, no-obligation case evaluation to those who have been injured needlessly by a medical professional. If necessary, we will obtain your medical records, and we will conduct the review necessary to determine whether or not we can help you.

Although wrong site surgery is rare, the results can be disastrous, and it never should happen. Any type of surgery can become a wrong site surgery. For some, these errors will result in death. Other wrong site surgery victims will suffer a lifetime of poor health or disability. Even for those who do not suffer significant physical harm, the psychological impact can mean avoiding life-saving surgery in the future.

COMMON TYPES OF WRONG SITE SURGERY INCLUDE:

  • Surgery on the wrong vertebral level of the spine
  • Wrong organ removed
  • Wrong limb amputated
  • Surgery on the wrong side of the body
  • Surgery on the correct site/wrong level or area (such as surgery on the correct hand, but the wrong finger)
  • Surgery on the wrong patient – can result in reversed procedures where two patients receive the wrong surgery

Surgical errors are preventable. Certain circumstances, such as emergency procedures, which create time pressures or patients having unusual physical characteristics, can contribute to the risk of wrong site surgery. Proper policies and procedures can significantly reduce risks.

COMMON MISTAKES AND CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING TO WRONG SITE SURGERY INCLUDE:

  • Poor pre-surgery planning
  • Inadequate patient assessment
  • Failure to observe “time out” before surgery
  • X-rays read backwards
  • Inadequate site marking procedures
  • More than one surgeon involved in a procedure
  • More than one procedure or surgical site involved in one surgical session
  • Poor communication between surgical team members
  • Time pressures
  • Failure to communicate with patient or patient’s family before surgery

Surgery on the wrong part of the body or the wrong patient can be devastating. Amputation of the wrong limb can mean the loss of both limbs and a lifetime of disability. Removal of the wrong internal organ can change the outcome from one of improved health to a lifetime of serious health problems and even death. At the very least, victims of wrong site surgery lose faith in health care providers and may avoid life-saving procedures in the future.

Although rare, some of the most tragic examples of medical malpractice involve patients who are paralyzed as result of preventable surgical spinal cord injury (SCI), which is spinal cord injury sustained during surgery. Each year, numerous individuals suffer life-altering and painful spinal cord injuries as a result of negligent care.

Spinal Cord Injuries usually cause severe swelling of the spinal cord from the location of the injury downward. As such, patients with spinal cord injuries to the upper part of the spinal column suffer from a greater loss of function and mobility, as more of their bodies are affected. Spinal cord injuries fall into two main categories:

  • Complete (Total) Spinal Cord Injuries – no functioning below the level of injury; or
  • Incomplete (Partial) Spinal Cord Injuries – some feeling and/or movement below the injury, but impaired.

Disabilities Associated With Spinal Cord Injuries
Victims of spinal cord injuries can experience a wide range of health issues beyond a loss of mobility, including:

  • Quadriplegia
  • Paraplegia
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Loss of bladder/bowel control
  • Muscle spasms
  • Infections
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Ventilator dependence
  • Dependence on tube feeding
  • Depression/anxiety

Sometimes a piece of medical equipment, such as a tube, sponge, or surgical needle, is left unintentionally in a patient’s body after surgery. When a surgeon or medical professional leaves behind retained foreign bodies, also called retained surgical items, the patient is at a great risk for infection, illness, organ damage, and even death. Although medical professionals usually take great pains to eliminate the risk of retained foreign bodies, this safety measure can sometimes go overlooked.

The failure to remove a surgical instrument or other object after surgery is a serious event. The patient will almost always have to undergo another invasive surgery, with its own additional set of possible complications, in order to remove the retained foreign body.

Anesthesia Errors

The Trial Lawyer Magazine honors Michael Burg; firm of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine

 February 6, 2017

The Trial Lawyer Magazine honors Michael Burg; firm of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine

Michael S. Burg Named One of America’s 50 Most Influential Trial Lawyers Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine Named One of America’s 25 Most Influential Law Firms The Trial Lawyer magazine honorees to be celebrated at The National Trial Lawyers’ annual summit Denver, CO – Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, PC is proud to… Read more »

7 Burg Simpson Shareholders Named to 2017 Top Lawyers List

 January 23, 2017

7 Burg Simpson Shareholders Named to 2017 Top Lawyers List

Denver, Colorado – Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. is pleased to announce that seven shareholders have recently been named to 5280 Magazine’s 2017 Top Lawyers list. Founded in 1993, 5280 is the largest local magazine in Colorado. The Burg Simpson attorneys selected for inclusion in 5280 Top Lawyers are: Michael S. Burg –… Read more »

2016: Another Year Burg Simpson Changed Lives

 December 8, 2016

2016: Another Year Burg Simpson Changed Lives

The Burg Simpson attorneys had another outstanding year changing the lives of those they represent. The firm’s ability to properly value cases—whether personal injury, medical malpractice, construction defect, or mass tort—and fight tirelessly as a cohesive team to obtain the compensation its clients deserve sets Burg Simpson apart. Here is just a small sample of… Read more »

Janet Abaray Profiled in Super Lawyers Magazine

 December 7, 2016

Janet Abaray Profiled in Super Lawyers Magazine

The most recent edition of Super Lawyers Magazine features a profile on Burg Simpson Ohio’s managing shareholder, Janet Abaray. In the feature, Ms. Abaray discusses some of the highlights of her career, the art of “looking around corners” in a case, taking on big pharma, and a well-known class action against the Bengals. Amongst her… Read more »

Fatal Post-Surgical Heart Attacks and Malpractice

 March 16, 2016

Fatal Post-Surgical Heart Attacks and Malpractice

For most patients undergoing surgery, issues related to infections or anesthesia-related complications dominate their concerns about the procedure itself and their recovery period. Many people don’t know that heart attacks can pose a significant risk to recovery. Millions of victims worldwide suffering cardiac arrest after surgery each year. Frighteningly, 10% of these patients perish within… Read more »

Malpractice Victims Must Overcome ‘Culture of Secrecy’

 March 9, 2016

Malpractice Victims Must Overcome ‘Culture of Secrecy’

Regardless of the amount of faith many Americans want to place in their doctors, the fact remains that physicians are capable of mistakes. Some of these mistakes can unfortunately result in serious injuries and even death. While some of these mistakes are allegedly “unavoidable,” a news investigative report suggests that the damage caused by such… Read more »

 February 9, 2016

Survey Indicates Doctors Often Blame Victims for Malpractice Suits

In 1971, leading sociologist William Ryan published his landmark work, Blaming the Victim, in which he identified a phenomenon in which perpetrators of harm justify their actions by pointing the finger at their victims. While Ryan’s work focused on ethnic minorities and the attempts of his colleagues to pin the blame for their plight on… Read more »

Diagnostic Errors: A Major Source of Malpractice Death and Injuries

 October 20, 2015

Diagnostic Errors: A Major Source of Malpractice Death and Injuries

A recently released report from the Institute of Medicine, entitled “Improving Diagnosis in Health Care,” provides some sobering information, concluding that there is a dire need for “widespread changes in health care to improve diagnoses.” Among the report’s more alarming findings, is the pronouncement that nearly every American will experience a diagnostic error at some… Read more »

Ring of Fire: Even Republicans Are Disgusted by The Republican Party

 May 3, 2016

Ring of Fire: Even Republicans Are Disgusted by The Republican Party

A Ring of Fire first! Host Farron Cousins talks to former Senator Alan Simpson in a unique opportunity on Ring of Fire to speak with a Republican about the current state of the Republican Party.

CBS 4: Michael Burg Inducted to Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame

 April 28, 2016

CBS 4: Michael Burg Inducted to Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame

CBS 4 in Denver highlights Burg Simpson attorney Michael S. Burg’s induction into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame

Radio 850KOA: Michael Burg Inducted to Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame

 April 28, 2016

Radio 850KOA: Michael Burg Inducted to Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame

Denver’s Radio 850KOA ran a news story about Michael Burg’s induction into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.

Burg Simpson Legal Minute: Civil Justice System

 April 21, 2016

Burg Simpson Legal Minute: Civil Justice System

Burg Simpson shareholder Calvin Tregre Jr. examines changes to the civil justice system, where limitations have been placed on monetary awards to seriously injured victims of corporate negligence. Are you protected?

Trial Talk magazine

 November 18, 2015

Trial Talk: Cross Appeal? Now What?

Burg Simpson Attorney and Shareholder Diane Vaksdal Smith’s article, published in CTLA’s Trial Talk, April/May 2015, addresses specifics of appellate practice and procedure. Download full article PDF

Net Neutrality

 November 18, 2015

Net Neutrality: A Panel Discussion

Rick D. Bailey contributes his opinion on Net Neutrality in this panel article published in Best Lawyers® Business Edition, Summer, 2015. Download full article PDF

The Trial Lawyer Magazine

 November 18, 2015

Homebuilders v. Homeowners

Threats to Shift an Already Tilted Playing Field More in Favor of Homebuilders Burg Simpson attorneys Jennifer A. Seidman and Ronald M. Sandgrund examine what could happen if lawmakers allow builders to take advantage of and mischaracterize the causes of the Great Recession’s lingering effects, and the facts regarding the real causes of the decline… Read more »

Rick Bailey - Hearing and Mishearing

 November 18, 2015

Hearing and Mishearing: Psychoanalytic Observations on the Attorney-Client Relationship

Trial lawyer Rick D. Bailey co-authored this white paper with David Stevens, a practicing psychoanalyst/clinical psychologist and associate professor at the university of Colorado Health Sciences Center. They address the attorney-client relationship throught the lens of psychoanalysis and cognitive neuroscience. Download full article PDF

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