Doctors are sometimes thought of as miracle workers when treatment goes well, and the patient responds as hoped for and proceeds to a speedy and complete recovery. In other instances, a doctor may make heroic efforts, but the situation is clearly beyond hope, and nothing can be done. However, when a New York doctor makes a mistake that, perhaps, didn’t have to happen, questions naturally follow. Surprisingly, errors are often made on routine matters rather than in performing procedures that require great skill and extensive training.
Medical experts report that nearly half of all medical errors involve surgery, and most of those can be traced to failures directly in the operating room. That seems intuitive because of the complexities of surgery, but some surgical errors involve what could only be described as careless behavior, such as leaving a surgical sponge in a patient, and then closing the incision.
Other types of errors may happen based on the reaction the surgeon may have to an occurrence in the operating room. A loud noise, a conversation between others in the room or a reaction to an unanticipated event can be a distraction. A surgeon’s overall performance is based on factors other than pure technical proficiency. Additionally, errors are not necessarily those of commission, where an incorrect action took place, but may also be of omission, characterized by a failure to act when the prudent doctor would have affirmatively acted.
A mistake, no matter how egregious, may not be enough to support a malpractice claim. The mistake made must also be the cause of harm to the patient that would not have occurred no matter what diagnosis and treatment were made. As an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can explain, this is often a difficult hurdle to overcome.