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Medical malpractice suit filed after wrong-site operation

The mere thought of surgery is enough to make some queasy. The fact that a patient is cut open and physiologically changed puts a lot of stress on the patient and a great deal of responsibility on the surgeon. Yet, years of training, a competent medical staff, and safety protocols typically prevent mistakes from happening. But accidents do happen. When a surgical error occurs, the results can be devastating. Miami residents should take note of one recent incident.

A woman's health was eroding when she started to have mini-strokes. To remedy the problem, she was scheduled to have a left-sided craniotomy surgical procedure. Instead, the neurosurgeon botched the surgery by giving the woman a right-sided craniotomy. In other words, the doctor operated on the wrong side of the patient's head. According to a lawsuit filed against the surgeon and the hospital, the woman can no longer speak properly. Unfortunately, this is one surgery mistake that was completely avoidable.

Medical malpractice such as wrong-site surgeries often leave victims seriously injured. Permanent disability can result, requiring physically trying and expensive long-term care. Yet, costly rehabilitation and other medical services may be the only way a victim can recover. A lawsuit may be able to help alleviate the expenses associated with such care.

A successful medical malpractice lawsuit is dependent upon a showing of certain factors. A doctor's duty to the patient must have been breached, and that breach must have led to the victim's injuries. Once successful on a medical malpractice claim, the victim may be able to obtain compensation.

In addition to possibly recovering money for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, punitive damages may be available. These awards seek to punish errant medical professionals so that preventable mistakes do not happen again. In the case of a wrong-site surgery, such punishment is just.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Lawsuit accuses surgeon of operating on wrong side of woman's brain," Jim Doyle, Apr. 30, 2013

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