Some errors are obvious, like forgetting objects inside of patients. Some mistakes are difficult to detect, as the case of one woman who lived with a sponge in her body for four years. This post will address the various injuries that questions that arise during surgical errors.
Whenever a person suffers an injury that is so unusual that it could only have occurred if a mistake or “tort” was committed, then the person or persons likeliest the culprit are held responsible. For example, a person finding a surgical sponge in their body years after their surgery can safely assume that an error occurred because surgical sponges do not spontaneously appear in people’s bodies. This theory relieves the victim from proving causation and allows them to focus showing their injuries.
Do medical malpractice injuries always require expert witnesses? It depends on the nature of the injury. For example, in the sponge scenario illustrated above, you probably would not need an expert witness because that is obvious to any lay person. But if the error has to do with a particular medical procedure or tool then you may need an expert to discuss the merits of the decision and valid alternatives.
How can you access medical records? You are entitled to your medical records and can obtain them with subpoenas or the regular discovery process. Occasionally you may have to submit the information to the judge before it is given to you (to protect the privilege of other third-party people).
If you learned that your doctor committed an error during your surgery then you may want to call a lawyer, you could have an actionable claim for damages. As you can see, errors are not always obvious nor are they always attributable to the doctor. A lawyer can review your case to determine if you can recover damages for your injuries. You shouldn’t pay for future medical care to address the injuries you incurred due to a doctor’s error, the doctor or hospital should pay for your therapeutic treatment. A lawyer can help ensure that you recover the money that you deserve.