Surgical Errors in Atlanta
Surgeries are inherently risky. Patients who undergo surgery are usually warned that surgery is complex and surgical procedures carry the risk of unexpected occurrences that can lead to medical complications, permanent injury and even death. Nonetheless, patients have the right to expect doctors and medical staff will be careful, avoid unnecessary risks and take all possible precautions. If you have been hurt by a surgical error in Atlanta or surrounding counties, the trustworthy Atlanta medical malpractice attorney Michael Braun may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries.
Surgical errors include: failure to take a complete history, operating on the wrong body part, leaving sponges or instruments inside a patient, failure to correct injuries that occur during a surgery such as a perforated organ, failing to take proper precautions against infection before a surgery, and failing to communicate appropriately with another medical professional. Whatever the error, it is crucial to consult an attorney as soon as you suspect a problem, due to an extremely limited window in which to sue for damages.
Liability for Surgical Errors
In order to bring a medical malpractice case for a surgical error in Georgia, a plaintiff must get an affidavit from a surgeon in the same specialty attesting that the defendant surgeon breached his duty to exercise the requisite skill and care for a particular procedure. The expert must testify that the defendant surgeon violated the applicable standard of care and that the violation or deviation is the proximate cause of the injury suffered. If a plaintiff fails to submit the affidavit or submits an affidavit from someone not qualified to opine as an expert, the case may be dismissed.
Hospital emergency departments or surgeons providing “emergency medical care” have a different standard of care, however. Emergency medical care under OCGA § 51-1-29.5 (a) (5) are bona fide emergency services provided after the start of a medical or traumatic condition that appears through acute and severe symptoms including severe pain. These are services that are so necessary that if immediate attention is not provided the patient’s health will be placed in serious jeopardy.
Plaintiffs that have emergency surgeries must prove gross negligence, not just ordinary negligence, under O.C.G.A. § 51-1-29.5 (c). “Gross negligence” is the absence of even “slight diligence”; a defendant fails to exercise slight diligence under O.C.G.A. § 51-1-4 when he fails to meet the degree of care someone of common sense, no matter how inattentive he is, utilizes under similar circumstances. A surgeon does not provide “emergency medical care” once a patient is stabilized. After a patient is stabilized, the ordinary standard of medical negligence applies.
Bringing a Surgical Error Lawsuit in Georgia
Calculating the window in which a lawsuit may be brought for surgical error in Georgia can be complicated. The statute of limitations for most medical malpractice claims is 2 years after discovering an injury or after the surgery. However, you usually only have a window of five years after the act constituting medical malpractice occurs. There are certain exceptions. Notably, if a surgeon leaves a foreign object is left inside your body during surgery, a Georgia medical malpractice claim can be filed within 1 year of the discovery, even if it exceeds the 5-year limit for the statute of repose.
The experienced Atlanta medical negligence attorney Michael Braun serves clients who have been injured by doctors in Atlanta and surrounding counties. . As soon as you suspect an injury, contact us at (770) 421-6888 or via our online form.