Any time a Kentucky resident is in line for a surgical procedure, there is a great deal of paperwork to be completed prior to the actual surgery. A significant portion of it is devoted to what is known as informed consent, which may be defined as the patient’s granting of permission to proceed with acknowledgement of the possible consequences of the surgery. This basic risk and reward analysis, however, does not contemplate avoidable error on behalf of the doctor or other medical professionals. Medical malpractice is not an acceptable surgical risk.
Medical liability insurers report that surgical errors rank second only to diagnostic errors in number as the basis for claiming medical malpractice. Although the prime area of concern is related to the surgeon’s performance during the surgery itself, surgery-related errors can occur in decision making and care both prior to the surgery and afterwards. However, the fact that a surgeon or other medical professional did commit an error is, by itself, insufficient to support a legal claim for medical malpractice.
Not only must the action committed by the doctor be shown to be below the standard of an average professional similarly situated under the same or similar conditions, but the error must also be proved to be the actual cause of some injury to the patient that would not have occurred but for the doctor’s error. A surgery performed without error that is unsuccessful or does not deliver the optimal or desired results is likely not malpractice, but one where a mistake was made that leaves the patient in a worse condition than before the surgery may well be legally actionable.
Medical malpractice claims are often vigorously defended by the doctor’s medical malpractice insurance carrier. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer may evaluate a case and recommend a course of action.