Mistakes made during neurosurgery can cause serious, even fatal, harm to patients. Significant financial awards to patients and their families obtained in medical malpractice lawsuits over errors in these surgeries reflect this fact.
Neurosurgeons operate on the brain as well as other areas affected by the nervous system, such as the back and neck. Such procedures often can be challenging to the surgeon and the patient. Extreme care must be followed. But sometimes things go wrong.
A study from earlier this year reviewed medical malpractice lawsuits for errors made during neurosurgery (“Medical Malpractice in Neurosurgery: A Comprehensive Analysis,” World Neurosurgery, February 2018).
$2.55 Million Median Award in Neurosurgery Medical Malpractice Verdicts
The survey of over 360 medical malpractice lawsuits involving neurosurgery found that financial damages awarded to patients were substantial. The median financial award in a lawsuit settlement was $1.3 million. For verdicts won by the plaintiffs in a neurosurgery medical malpractice lawsuit, the median award was $2.55 million.
When children were seriously injured, the median financial award was $10.1 million.
The survey also found the most common reasons for these medical malpractice lawsuits:
· Procedural error
· A failure to treat
An unrelated study (“The Effect of Surgical Start Time and Day of the Week on Morbidity and Mortality for Neurological Surgeries,” Neurosurgery, August 2016) included nearly 16,000 neurosurgical procedures and identified another possible cause for errors: the time of day. The research concluded the odds the patient would suffer a complication jumped 50 percent when the surgery started between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. The findings did take into account whether the surgery was elective or an emergency procedure.
Financial Compensation Awards in Orthopedic Surgery Lawsuits
Another medical practice area, orthopedic surgery, can result in even more substantial financial damages when surgeons make mistakes. The September 2018 issue of Orthopedics published a study (“Medical Malpractice in Orthopedic Surgery: A Westlaw-Based Demographic Analysis”) that analyzed medical malpractice lawsuits arising from errors during orthopedic operations.
The top three orthopedic surgeries resulting in medical malpractice litigation identified in this study were:
· Spine operations
· Knee operations
· Hip operations
The two most common reasons for medical malpractice lawsuits from orthopedic surgeries were procedural error and negligence.
Financial damages made to patients injured from orthopedic surgery mistakes were also substantial. When a settlement was reached, the average compensation to the plaintiffs was $1.57 million. When the plaintiff won at trial, the average verdict was just over $3 million.
Surgeries in both these medical specialties can be high risk, depending upon the patient’s condition and other health-related factors. But these risks should be factored in by medical professionals. If a standard level of care is not provided during surgery and preventable errors are made, patients deserve justice, like those documented in these studies.
If you were seriously hurt or had a loved one die during or following surgery, contact a medical malpractice lawyer, who can conduct a thorough investigation and pursue just compensation on your behalf.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray Ritter Graham, posted in Articles September 28, 2018