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Orthopedic surgeons perform a variety of important functions. They specialize in diseases and disorders of the musculoskeletal system — bones and joints. The doctors diagnose, provide treatment, and rehabilitate patients who suffer from ligament, joint, bone, or nerve damage. In addition, they track a patient’s condition and if necessary perform surgery.
If your surgeon makes a mistake or is negligent and in the process, you are injured, you may have a case for medical malpractice. In the case of an orthopedic surgeon, the lawsuit is for orthopedic surgery malpractice. There are several reasons the surgeon may have been negligent.
What are Some Reasons an Orthopedic Surgeon May be Charged with Medical Malpractice?
- An overworked doctor. Many doctors attempt to treat too many patients and working only 40 hours a week is a thing of the past.
- Improperly delegating tasks to assistants. When this happens, there is little or no interaction between the doctor and patient, thus raising the chance for error during surgery.
- Patient improperly prepared for surgery — resulting in surgery performed on the wrong body part
- Misread diagnostic tests — this could result in performing the wrong surgery
- Using the wrong devices — incorrect tools used during surgery, such as the wrong size pins, plates, or screws
- Wrong size prosthesis — Using the wrong size prosthesis for a patient
- No Follow-up Visits — Doctor not available for follow-up when patient experiences while in recovery
How to Know if You Have a Valid Case Against Your Orthopedic Surgeon
There are several requirements that need to be met in order to be able to sue your orthopedic surgeon for medical malpractice. These requirements are:
- There must be a doctor/patient relationship at the time of the injury
- There must be proof that the doctor breached the reasonable standard of care required from a similarly-trained physician under the same conditions. A medical expert is usually tasked with providing this proof.
- Provide proof that the patient’s injuries were a direct result of the physician’s negligence.
- Proof that the injuries suffered resulted in pain and suffering damages to the patient or their loved ones.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in the Medical Malpractice Case Against the Orthopedic Surgeon?
Each case is different, and the kind of damages you may be able to receive in an orthopedic medical malpractice case will be dependent on your particular situation. Generally, damages may include
- Reimbursement for medical costs, which include rehabilitation costs
- Wages lost because of the surgery
- Necessary long-term care
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanently disabled or disfigured as a result of the surgical error
When you are preparing for surgery, you are probably not thinking about the worst-case scenario happening to you. You certainly aren’t worried at the time that your surgeon will not be fully prepared to perform the surgery or be negligent in handling your case. By seeking the help of a medical malpractice lawyer Salt Lake City, UT trusts who is skilled in dealing with orthopedic cases, you can determine whether or not you have a legitimate case against your surgeon.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into medical malpractice and orthopedic mistakes.