Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

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When Do Surgical Mistakes Happen in Burien?

Posted Friday, September 30, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Each year, American doctors make about 4,000 surgical mistakes. That number does not sound large, but if you or a loved one was a surgical mistake victim, that statistical analysis is not much comfort. Additionally, as outlined below, this figure only includes the “during” surgical mistakes. It does not include before and after surgical mistakes.

Doctors have a very high duty of care in Washington. So, it is much easier for a Burien personal injury attorney to prove negligence, or a lack of care. If a doctor was negligent, compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Usually, the hospital, clinic, or another facility that employed the doctor, or gave the doctor a place to work, is financially responsible for these and any other damages.

*Before* The duty of care does not begin when a patient is on the operating table. Instead, it begins before the first office visit.

The doctor, and not someone on the medical staff, has a responsibility to thoroughly review patient records. Electronic patient records are the norm today. So, doctors no longer have an excuse not to thoroughly review every page.

On a related note, doctors cannot access patient records on home computers or over unsecured WiFi connections. Such online records are far too easy to tap into. The duty of care extends not only to the patient’s body, but also to personal information about the patient. A Burien personal injury attorney must normally file a separate action to enforce patient rights in this area.

If doctors spot red flags during these reviews, they cannot ignore them. Instead, they must adjust their treatment plans to account for the additional risk. Asking the patient to sign a stronger waiver is not enough. Dismissing the risk as “borderline” is not enough either.

*During* Many doctors take the time to properly review records and make proper responses. This same time crush continues in the operating room itself.

A brief, pre-surgical huddle would allow all team members to catch their breaths and get on the same page in terms of the procedure. Unfortunately, many doctors are unwilling to invest even a few seconds of their precious time to protect patient health and safety.

A post-surgical instrument count would have the same positive effect. It would be easy to count the instruments on the table and make sure that the number is the same as the pre-surgical number. However, once again, many doctors are too anxious to move on to the next patient and make more money.

On a related note, instrument sterilization issues cause many injuries as well. Typically, the team superheats instruments to sterilize them. Too hot, and they cause serious burns. Not hot enough, and not all the bacteria dies, causing infection.

*After* Speaking of infections, this risk goes up dramatically when patients go to recovery rooms. Despite the increased risk, many healthcare teams drop their guard slightly in these situations. Sepsis is the most dangerous hospital infection. Septic infections turn successful surgeries into life-threatening situations.

Serious infections usually develop quickly. Patients are fine one minute and seriously ill the next minute. So, surgical teams must be on their toes at all times.

*Reach Out to a Thorough King County Attorney* Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Burien, contact Pivotal Law Group, PLLC. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.