When Post-Operative Errors Result in Medical Malpractice

Nurse tending to patient in post-op recovery roomMedical malpractice claims too many lives. A recent Johns Hopkins Medicine study shows that 250,000 or more die from medical mistakes each year. Medical treatment doesn’t stop after diagnosis and surgery. In fact, medical staff can make significant mistakes during post-operative (post-op) care. Below, we’ll take a look at what post-op care is and how negligence during this period can constitute medical malpractice.

Post-Operative Care Is Different for Every Patient

Post-op care begins when the patient leaves the operating table. During this period, patients often recover in a room where nurses and other medical staff can monitor fluids, vital signs as the patient comes out of anesthesia, and any dressings on incisions.

Additionally, no specific timeline exists for post-op care. Depending on if the patient underwent minor or major surgery, the recovery time could last from a week to many months. A medical team monitors their patient carefully to decide when he is fully recovered.

Common Errors in Post-Operative Care

Adequately monitoring a patient’s condition after surgery allows medical staff to catch the beginnings of serious problems. Especially after serious, invasive surgery, observing a patient with extreme care is vital to a successful recovery. The following are some of the most common errors we see made during the post-op process:

  • Failure to monitor vital signs, such as blood pressure, pulse, and respiration
  • Failure to monitor for blood issues, including clotting and blood sugar
  • Failure to monitor for signs of infection, such as discoloring and pus at the incision site
  • Failure to monitor drug administration, including painkillers and antibiotic courses

Negligence in the Post-Op Phase Might Mean Medical Malpractice

Legally, doctors must uphold a certain standard of care—meaning that one doctor’s choices meet what another doctor with a similar skill set and in the same scenario would have provided. To prove a medical malpractice case, you must show that:

  • The patient was injured or further harmed
  • The doctor or other member of a medical staff was legally negligent
  • That negligence was a direct cause of the patient’s injury

Competent Legal Help at Your Fingertips

If you or a loved one was injured during surgery aftercare, and you suspect a doctor’s mistake is to blame, contact a lawyer right away. The attorneys at Tavss Fletcher fight for those whose lives have been damaged by medical negligence, and we can fight for you, too. To speak with us about your case, start a live online chat with us today.