A doctor’s job does not end after an operation has been completed. The patient’s primary care doctor and medical team still have a responsibility to see the patient through the first hours and days after the surgery. Post-operative (post-op) care is just as important as proper medical attention during a procedure. If a clinician fails to act with appropriate care during the post-op recovery period, the doctor and/or health care facility could be held liable (financially responsible) for related damages.
What Are Some Common Post-Op Complications?
Every operation has potential risks and complications. These health risks exist not only during the surgery itself but for some time afterward, as well – until a patient has completely recovered. Post-op care reduces the risk of dangerous complications that can have severe consequences on a patient, such as:
- Blood clots
- Heart attack or stroke
- Tissue necrosis (death)
- Respiratory depression
These complications can often be prevented with proper post-op care. Unfortunately, post-op errors often compromise a patient’s recovery – sometimes to the point of causing long-term or permanent damage or even the death of the patient.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Post-Op Errors
Post-operative care errors have the capacity to be devastating for patients. According to research published by the American College of Surgeons, about 46 percent of patients represented in post-op error lawsuits pass away from their injuries or complications. Those who survive post-op errors or poor post-operative care may suffer long-term consequences, such as:
- Diminished health due to a serious infection.
- The need for additional or revision surgeries.
- Having to spend a longer amount of time in the hospital.
- Additional medical bills and expenses.
- Amputations or permanent mobility dysfunction.
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement.
- Post-operative cognitive dysfunction from anesthesia errors.
- Mental and emotional damage connected to the incident.
- Overall decline in health, increased morbidity rate and premature death.
Post-op errors can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects on a patient. A victim’s life may never be the same after poor post-operative care and related health complications. If evidence shows that one or more parties could have prevented the patient’s post-op complication, the patient can sue for medical malpractice in Pennsylvania.
Can I Hold My Doctor Liable for Post-Op Care Errors?
Yes. You are able to file a post-op care lawsuit in Philadelphia for negligence, malpractice or preventable errors committed during your post-op care that resulted in harm. If a reasonable and prudent doctor would have done more during your post-op care to prevent the health complication, you can file a claim against your physician for medical malpractice. You may be able to hold a doctor liable for the following post-op care errors:
- Lack of proper patient treatment
- Patient neglect
- Failure to monitor the patient
- Failure to refer the patient to another doctor
- Unsanitary tools or premises
- Failure to prevent foreseeable complications
- Failure to diagnose and treat new problems as they arise
- Premature patient discharge
While no doctor is expected to guarantee a patient’s recovery, all medical practitioners must use the appropriate standards of the aftercare process to put a patient in the best possible position for healing. Your doctor’s goal should be to make sure you have everything you need to successfully recover and avoid complications after a procedure or surgery. If your doctor falls short of these standards of care, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit to hold the doctor or hospital liable.
When Should I Speak With a Medical Malpractice Attorney?
Post-op care complications are often preventable. If you believe that your doctor, nurse or another health care practitioner should have done more to prevent the health issues that you suffered after an operation, contact a medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia without delay. Tight deadlines exist on medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania – typically two years from the date of the negligent act. Consult with a lawyer without delay to avoid missing your deadline.