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Can You Sue After Complications From an Elective Surgery or Procedure?

Jun 22, 2020 | Medical Malpractice

It’s well known that all surgical procedures carry some amount of risk. Some are very safe, with minimal risks, but there is always the potential for something to go wrong once you go under the knife. Most patients undergo emergency or elective procedures every day without incident or issue. Unfortunately, complications or surgical errors can have horrible results. There are many situations in which an operation did not go as planned, resulting in complications from elective surgery. 

Elective surgeries can be complicated, and the term is somewhat misleading for the public. The word “elective” implies that the procedure is voluntary and optional; however, that is not always the norm. All an elective procedure really means is that it is planned instead of being performed in an emergency.

The complications you may suffer after an elective surgery are not something you should take lightly if the injuries are severe or dramatically change your life. Victims that endure pain or suffering caused by an elective procedure deserve justice. You may be entitled to a financial reward to cover your medical bills and emotional damages if you’re a victim of medical malpractice. 

The attorneys at Stewart & Stewart have extensive experience seeking justice in cases of medical malpractice. We’ve compiled some helpful information on complications resulting from elective procedures that can help you evaluate whether you should seek legal counsel.

The Risk of Medical Procedures

Surgical operations carry some inherent amount of risk and danger. Consequently, it is the responsibility of the doctor and clinic to inform the patient about any potential risks associated with the surgery.

Ideally, operations are straightforward and successful. The surgeon and medical team performing the procedure are adequately trained, experienced, and highly skilled to prevent any surgical errors or health complications.

However, there are unfortunate incidents in which the procedure does not go as planned. In worst-case scenarios, the victim is left with health complications that are worse than before they went into surgery. Medical malpractice and other errors can lead to permanent injuries or even wrongful death.

Understanding Elective Surgery

As we mentioned, some people incorrectly believe that because an operation is deemed “elective” by medical professionals, it is optional and not necessary. Therefore, when the surgery goes wrong, the elective designation leaves patients believing any adverse reactions to the operation are their own fault.

However, the only thing that separates elective procedures from other surgeries is the fact that the surgery is not performed in an emergency. Consequently, the surgery gets planned and scheduled for a later date. 

For this reason, many surgical procedures are considered “elective” despite being complex and necessary to treat a disease or complication. It’s true that other elective surgeries may be required or requested, like cosmetic procedures. But that is not to suggest that all cosmetic procedures are voluntary, as some are necessary to reverse significant or potentially life-threatening issues. 

Elective Surgery Risks

It’s estimated that nearly two million cosmetic procedures take place every year in the United States. Furthermore, there are another nine million minimally invasive procedures completed each year in the country.

Cosmetic operations represent quite a few elective procedures in the U.S. Here are some of the most common cosmetic procedures:

  • Liposuction
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Breast augmentation
  • Eyelid surgery
  • Tummy tuck
  • Facelift
  • Dermabrasion
  • Hair transplants
  • Breast reduction
  • Lip augmentation

The general risks of elective surgeries are not all life-threatening, but they are still potentially damaging. You may experience lasting complications as a result of your elective surgery, including the following:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Infections
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Scarring
  • Hematoma
  • Necrosis
  • Nerve damage

In the worst-case scenarios, patients die because of severe complications related to the procedure. Depending on the exact circumstances of the case, this could be considered wrongful death in a court of law.

Before your operation, the doctor has a duty of care to explain any health risks or complications that might occur because of a cosmetic procedure. Doctors are responsible for evaluating your current health and medical history to verify you are an appropriate candidate for the surgery. 

Doctors who are accused of med mal violations may fail to perform a full evaluation or appropriately explain the cosmetic surgery dangers associated with the operation. If you feel that you weren’t properly informed of the risks of a particular procedure, you may have a medical malpractice case.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits 

Doctors and other medical professionals generally have your best interests in mind. However, that doesn’t mean that some medical professionals don’t act negligently from time to time. It is why medical malpractice lawsuits are filed—to hold medical professionals accountable.

Though it is not always easy to prove a med mal lawsuit, negligent medical professionals must be held accountable for actions that harm others and result in serious health complications or death. Failure to provide a level of skill, care, and treatment that is reasonable for a surgeon performing an elective surgery is medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice is extremely serious, because it can completely alter your life. You may live in more pain and suffering than ever before, or find yourself drowning in hospital bills. More medical costs could arise because of additional treatment you need to seek due to the elective procedure complications. Additionally, you may miss significant time from work or not be able to work at all. Emotional damages may also occur from the stress and worry you feel about paying bills and living a healthy life. 

Stewart & Stewart Defends Victims of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a form of treatment that does not meet acceptable medical standards. It usually results in serious injury or even death because of errors resulting from a surgeon or other health professional’s negligence. 

You shouldn’t have to deal with life-altering health complications on your own—and you don’t. If you’re experiencing health complications that you suspect are related to an elective procedure that went wrong, contact our legal team today. You can schedule a free initial consultation by calling 1 (800) 33-33-LAW or filling out our online contact form. We look forward to helping you seek justice. 

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