Articles Posted in Surgical Errors

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Legal News GavelWhen people go to a surgery center to have a procedure done, they expect the safety of a hospital. Unfortunately, they do not always get that. Surgery centers differ vastly when it comes to resources and oversight and this often impacts the level of care patients receive. If you have been injured or someone you know has died during or after a procedure at a surgery center, you need to reach out to a seasoned Baltimore surgery malpractice attorney as soon as possible. At Arfaa Law Group, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of Maryland medical malpractice victims.

A recent investigation conducted by the USA Today Network and Kaiser Health News found that 17 states have no mandate to report patient deaths after surgery center care. As such, no facility oversight authority has scrutinized whether the deaths were a statistical irregularity or cause for concern.

Essentially, the report discovered that surgery centers operate under such an inconsistent mix of rules and regulations across the United States that death or serious injuries can result in no warning being issued to government officials, much less to potential patients. The lack of oversight allows centers hit with tough federal sanctions to keep operating. In fact, no rule stops a surgeon fired from a hospital for any wrongdoing from opening his or her own surgery center nearby. This gap in oversight continues even as the nation’s 5,600 surgery centers have surpassed hospitals in number and taken on increasingly difficult surgeries.

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phoneDistracted doctoring is a growing patient safety issue that can jeopardize patient health. While smartphones can undoubtedly offer improved communication and quick data access for medical professionals, these devices can also be a distraction. If you or someone close to you has suffered harm due to distracted doctoring, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At Arfaa Law Group, our highly skilled Baltimore medical malpractice team can help you navigate these challenging cases.

A doctor engages in “distracted doctoring” when he or she takes attention away from a patient. As doctors use more devices, the potential for distraction grows. In fact, it has become more and more common for medical professionals to be texting, surfing the Internet and even posting on Facebook while busy in surgery. Consider the following. In a 2010 peer-reviewed survey of 439 medical practitioners involved in performing cardiopulmonary bypasses, more than 50 percent admited to using a cellphone during the procedure. Specifically, nearly half acknowledged sending text message and nearly a quarter reported to accessing email while performing the surgery.

In addition to affecting individual efficiency, smartphones can also interfere with highly technical medical equipment. These devices can introduce viruses and bacteria into the space, which can pose infection hazards. To minimize some of these risks, some medical facilities have chosen to limit the use of electronic devices in certain settings.

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Legal News GavelCosmetic and plastic surgeries are more popular than ever. These procedures are intended to improve people’s appearances, yet they can do more harm than good when not performed properly. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries as a result of medical malpractice during cosmetic surgery, you need to reach out to a skilled Baltimore surgical malpractice attorney who can help.

Last week, we covered the story about the “dancing doctor” from Georgia. This week, we dive deeper into one of the patients she hurt.

One 54-year-old woman was left brain damaged after undergoing cosmetic surgery just weeks before her wedding after going to the medical spa and cosmetic surgery center of Dr. Windell Boutte. While she initially went for Botox and anti-wrinkle treatment, the staff recommended a procedure that would give the bride-to-be a flat stomach prior to her wedding. Boutte’s website promoted her as a “doctor to the stars.”

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Legal News GavelWhen you undergo surgery, you expect to receive competent care. Unfortunately, not all patients receive the level of care they are owed. If you or someone close to you has suffered an injury due to a surgeon’s negligence, we can help. At Arfaa Law Group, our Baltimore surgical malpractice attorneys will help you pursue the compensation you deserve for your harm. We understand this is a stressful time, which is why you can expect the utmost compassion from our entire team.

Earlier this month, a Georgia doctor made headlines for singing, rapping, and dancing during plastic surgeries. Dubbed the “dancing doctor,” Dr. Windell Davis-Boutte can be seen in one video cutting into a patient’s abdomen in sync with the beat of O.T. Genasis’ song “Cut it” as she sings along. In another video posted to the doctor’s public YouTube channel, the Atlanta-based board-certified dermatologist dances with surgical tools in each hand but without a surgical mask or gloves. She then leans over the top of a patient’s bare buttocks as she raps, her assistants act as back up dancers, and the camera zooms into the patient’s bare buttocks. The videos have since been deleted.

Now, Doctor Boutte is facing at least five malpractice lawsuits. She has reached four settlements. Female patients claim they have suffered infections, disfigurement, and even brain damage following procedures performed by Boutte. An attorney representing three women in cases against the dermatologist says nearly 100 other women have contacted her office to claim they also suffered injuries under the doctor’s scalpel. At least two former patients said they identified themselves in the doctor’s videos.

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Legal News GavelSurgical errors can have devastating consequences for a patient and his or her family. In the worst cases, these errors can lead to a patient’s death. When surgeons cause preventable harm, they may be liable for malpractice. If you believe that you or someone close to you was injured by a surgeon’s mistake or carelessness, we can help. At Arfaa Law Group, our diligent Baltimore surgical malpractice attorneys can scrutinize the facts of your case and decide the feasibility of your claim.

In Barbosa v. Osbourne, a Maryland high court recently held that a patient’s mistreatment of himself or herself prior to seeking medical care cannot later serve as a physician’s defense against a malpractice claim. In other words, the pre-treatment conduct of a patient is irrelevant in determining whether a physician is liable for violating the standard of care in rendering medical services to that patient.

The facts of the case are as follows. The plaintiffs filed a medical malpractice case against the defendant physician, claiming that the doctor negligently cut the plaintiff’s bile duct while surgically removing his inflamed gallbladder. As a defense, the defendant invoked the plaintiff’s supposed contributory negligence in failing to seek treatment for his severe abdominal pains in a timely manner. The court ultimately concluded that since the plaintiff’s alleged negligence preceded any medical treatment that the plaintiff received from the doctor, the defendant’s contributory negligence defense had no basis in the law.

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Legal News GavelEven though a patient wants to undergo a certain elective surgery, that does not mean he or she is a good candidate for that procedure. If you or someone close to you has been injured or has died as a result of elective surgery, it is important to reach out to a skilled Baltimore surgical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. At Arfaa Law Group, we can assess the merits of your case and determine the viability of your claim. You can rest assured that we are prepared to vigorously advocate for your rights at trial.

In a recent Maryland medical malpractice case, the jury awarded a significant sum of money to the family of a man who died from heart complications following elective back surgery. The patient had a well-documented medical history of cardiac disease, with labs indicating aortic valve dysfunction, and he had been under the care of a cardiologist. He was 64 years old when he went to his doctor to be cleared for surgery in 2013. The clearance was given after an electrocardiogram (EKG). The EKG showed persistent right bundle branch block, which typically mandates a trip to the cardiologist before clearance. In this case, clearance was given and was not conditioned on the cardiologist’s approval. As a result, the man underwent surgery and ultimately died; his wife and three adult children survived him.

The patient’s surviving family members filed a wrongful death medical malpractice claim, alleging that the cardiac disease was too serious to allow elective surgery and that the physician should not have cleared the patient. The plaintiffs in the case argued that the patient would not have died if the doctor had properly referred the man to a cardiologist for evaluation. The jury agreed and awarded the plaintiffs medical malpractice damages.

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Legal News GavelThe spine is central to our ability to sense and function normally. As a result, spinal surgery is daunting, and dural tears during such surgery can have serious consequences. An incidental durotomy refers to small tears of the outer membrane of the spinal cord and is a common occurrence in spinal surgery. In some cases, the tear is unavoidable. In most cases in which a tear occurs, the surgeon will identify it and repair it in a second procedure without any long-term consequences to the patient. If the dural tear is undetected, however, it can cause serious health problems for a patient. If you or someone close to you has been injured due to a dural tear, it is important to reach out to a diligent Baltimore surgical error attorney who can help you pursue the compensation you deserve for your harm.

A recent study, entitled Medical Malpractice Claims Following Incidental Durotomy Due to Spinal Surgery, examined the role of durotomy in malpractice cases. The study found that delayed diagnosis and treatment of durotomy and improper durotomy repair correlated with risk of malpractice lawsuits and increased surgeon liability. In other words, medical malpractice claims arose when dural tears were not discovered in time and led to spinal fluid leaks and other conditions. The findings highlighted that claims involving minor tears did not result in a settlement as often, whereas dural tears that led to neurological complications or even death were more likely to be successful.

Surgical mistakes denote errors that are avoidable with proper care. Under Maryland law, individuals who have suffered harm due to a spinal surgery error can typically seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice is defined as a medical professional’s failure to follow the accepted standard of care for their specialty, resulting in patient harm. In other words, surgery malpractice takes place when a surgeon causes harm because his or her conduct deviated from the standard of care that a prudent surgeon performing the same spinal cord surgery would have used under the same circumstances. As a result, if a surgeon fails to recognize a dural tear and then does not perform a second operation to fix it, that surgeon would likely be liable for malpractice.

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The United States Food and Drug Administration reports that approximately 600,000 Lasik procedures are performed each year in the United States. While the procedure is generally safe, the reality is that mistakes do happen. Some of these mistakes can lead to long-term, even permanent harm to a patient. If you have suffered an eye injury due to a Lasik error, you need to consult a skilled Baltimore ophthalmology malpractice lawyer who can assess the facts of your case.

Earlier this year, a Baltimore man sued the Lasik Vision Institute and one of its physicians for medical malpractice after getting surgery that left him with permanent damage in both eyes. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the doctor mistakenly programmed the laser and doubled the plaintiff’s astigmatism in his left eye during his Lasik procedure. The plaintiff claims that he later found out that he was not a good candidate for Lasik eye surgery, due to a lazy right eye.

At his initial consultation, the plaintiff was informed that he was a good candidate for the Lasik procedure, since he did not have prior eye conditions that would preclude him from having the procedure. Once the plaintiff underwent the procedure, he was not able to see. At his follow up appointment, he was told his symptoms were part of the normal healing process. When the condition did not get better, the plaintiff ultimately had to go through a second, corrective surgery.

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Legal News GavelUnfortunately, surgery errors are common in Maryland and across the United States. If you or someone close to you has been injured by a surgery error, you should reach out to a skilled Baltimore surgical malpractice attorney who understands this area of the law. At Arfaa Law Group, we are dedicated to protecting patient rights at every step of the way.

A survey (login required) conducted by Medscape last year found that 59 percent of more than 4,000 primary-care physicians in the United States were involved in one or more medical malpractice claims during their career. Across specialties, male physicians are more likely to be sued than female physicians. And indeed, more male general surgeons (85 percent) were sued than female general surgeons (74 percent). The study found that general surgeons faced the third-highest risk of getting sued. In fact, the survey revealed that 83 percent of surgeons have been involved in malpractice lawsuits.

When general surgeons were asked about the nature of lawsuits that they faced, they had a variety of answers:  44 percent of lawsuits the general surgeons faced involved an abnormal injury; 21 percent of the lawsuits were for a failure to diagnose; and nine percent were for a failure to treat. The specific claims against surgeons involved post-operative infections, pain, bleeding, embolisms, and injuries to a common bile duct, nerve, vein or artery, or organ, as well as the death of a patient, a foreign object in the body, a delay in treatment, unnecessary surgery, complications from undiagnosed conditions, and complications from patient non-compliance.

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Legal News GavelSurgery, whether minor or major, is always daunting for a patient and his or her family. If you or someone you love has been injured by a medical professional at an ambulatory surgery center (ASC), you need to speak to a skilled Baltimore surgical malpractice attorney who can assess the merits of your case. At Arfaa Law Group, we have the experience to handle your case with the compassion and attention it deserves.

ASCs, also known as outpatient surgery centers or same day surgery centers, are health care facilities where surgical procedures not requiring an overnight hospital stay are performed. For patients, an ASC can be a more convenient and less costly alternative to a hospital. In recent years, ASCs have popped up everywhere. In fact, approximately 25 million surgical procedures are performed at ASCs each year, rather than at acute care hospitals.

Hospitals in Maryland and across the United States have to follow strict regulations. There is a standard process and procedure in place for virtually everything to minimize the risk of harm to patients. ASCs, on the other hand, are independently owned and managed. In some cases, the procedures at ASCs are not thorough enough and can lead to serious issues, such as:

  • Failure to sterilize equipment properly;
  • Premature discharge of a patient;
  • Lack of oversight;
  • Lack of accreditation;
  • Poor documentation of safety procedures; or
  • Failure to obtain informed consent for surgeries.

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