Surgical Errors

When Does a Surgical Error Constitute Medical Malpractice in Colorado?

Like other doctors, surgeons in both emergency and non-emergency settings must exercise a certain degree of professional judgment. In certain circumstances, an injury or complication from surgery can result from a medically-justified judgment call, and in these circumstances, injured patients may not be entitled to financial compensation. However, there is a long list of surgical mistakes for which the defense of professional judgment is not available, and we encourage anyone who is concerned about injuries or complications from surgery to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

Some common examples of surgical errors constituting medical malpractice include:

  • Anesthesia Errors – Including failing to properly anesthetize, administering an improper anesthetic, and failing to monitor patients under anesthesia.
  • Failing to Maintain a Sterilized Environment – When an operating room is not properly sterilized, a surgical patient can be exposed to a host of potentially-serious infections.
  • Leaving Surgical Instruments Inside Patients – Despite clear protocols for finalizing surgical procedures, many patients suffer severe pain and complications due to surgical sponges, clamps, retractors, electrodes, drains and other instruments being left inside their bodies.
  • Mistakes During Surgery – From accidental incisions to causing damage to a patient’s internal organs, it often takes only a simple surgical mistake to lead to a lifetime of consequences.
  • Unnecessary Surgical Procedures – Performing surgical procedures that are not medically-necessary can lead to a variety of potentially-harmful complications.
  • Wrong-Patient Surgery – Medical record mix-ups, hospital overcrowding, and other administrative and medical errors can lead to a surgical procedure being performed on the wrong patient.
  • Wrong-Site Surgery – Performing a surgical procedure on the wrong body part or the wrong side of the body is a negligent mistake that is far too common in professional medical settings.


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