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Surgical Malpractice

Medical Malpractice and Surgical Errors

You may have heard the phrase, there is no such thing as “minor” surgery. That is because whether you are having an elective cosmetic procedure or life-saving bypass surgery, there is always a chance that something can go wrong.

No one wants to wake up following a medical procedure to find out that an error occurred. However, does every error equate to medical malpractice? Not necessarily.


Just because an error has occurred during surgery does not necessarily mean anyone is liable for medical malpractice. The medical treatment (including surgery) must have been below the accepted medical standard of care, and the sub-standard treatment must result in injury to the patient.

In other words, an error that does not fall below the medical standard of care, “The level and type of care a prudent, ordinary, health care professional with similar training and experience would provide under similar circumstances in the same locale” does not fall under the category of medical malpractice. Furthermore, if you were not harmed by even sub-standard care, there is no malpractice.

Surgical Error

It is usually rather simple to establish that the surgeon’s actions were below the standard of care in most surgical error cases. Once this fact is established, it is necessary to prove that you were harmed by the error.

Because all surgeries involve an element of risk, it is typical to sign a form that states you understand these risks. This is called “informed consent,” meaning the expected possible risks have been explained to you prior to the surgery taking place.

A surgical error goes beyond the known risks of surgery, and is considered unexpected. Surgical errors occur for varying reasons, and every case is unique. That being said, common reasons for these types of errors include incompetence, improper work process, insufficient preoperative planning, poor communication, the use of drugs or alcohol, simple carelessness, and fatigue.

Types of Surgical Errors

Some of the most common types of surgical errors include administering too much or too little anesthesia or other medication, injuring a nerve during surgery, operating on the wrong body part or the wrong patient, placing an incision in the wrong place, or leaving a piece of surgical equipment inside the patient.

Reach Out to a Lawyer

If you have been harmed during surgery and you are unsure as to whether or not a surgical error is actually medical malpractice, your best course of action is to consult with a qualified Chicago medical malpractice lawyer. Our legal team at Shea Law Group has been working with medical malpractice victims for more than twenty years, and we are here to help. There is absolutely no risk, because our representation costs nothing unless you receive compensation. Reach out to us at (877)-365-0040 to book your free consultation.