Before their operation, a lot of individuals have nightmares of a surgery gone wrong. Most of the time these nightmares are just dreams. But other times they become a frightening reality. When a surgical error occurs, a victim can be seriously injured or die. Perhaps the worst part of a surgery mistake is that it is completely avoidable. A recent incident at a hospital near Sarasota highlights the dangers of such surgical errors.

In that case, a woman was to have an operation inside her skull to relieve a condition that causes severe pain in the head. After waking up from the surgery, the woman was asked to sign a piece of paper allowing the surgeon to go back in and conduct the surgery again, this time on the proper side. The original operation had been conducted on the wrong side of the patient’s head, leaving her with vestibular nerve damage. The victim now often finds herself dizzy, nauseated and susceptible to falls.

Mistakes like this are unacceptable and can leave victims with a lifetime of physical harm. Additionally, these individuals struggle with the emotional toll from their injuries which may be further exacerbated by unexpected medical bills. A lawsuit against an errant doctor can help alleviate these wrongs.

To hold a doctor liable, a victim must succeed on a medical malpractice claim. Certain elements must be proven to win a case and recover damages. These elements are that the doctor owed the patient a duty of care, that duty was breached, and the breach caused the victim’s injuries.

Once these elements are satisfied, a victim can obtain compensation. These awards can be applied toward medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Then, the victim can obtain the best care possible and hopefully achieve a full recovery.

Additionally, a successful medical malpractice lawsuit punishes errant doctors and hospitals and lets them know that negligence will not be tolerated. Perhaps then medical professionals will take the steps necessary to achieve a safe healthcare environment.

Source: Herald-Tribune, “Woman sues neurosurgeon over wrong-site operation,” Donna Koehn, Mar. 16, 2013