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Surgical Errors

Medical negligence during surgery can cause catastrophic injuries, permanent impairment and wrongful death. These kinds of mistakes can include operating on the wrong body part, leaving surgical sponges in patients or failing to sanitize equipment, causing an infection. Despite medical standards and procedures, which all medical personnel must follow, surgical mistakes do happen on a regular basis. In fact, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, 4,000 patients are harmed by surgical errors in American hospitals each year.

Medical Malpractice Attorney Explains Compensation For Surgery Errors

Often, surgical errors constitute medical malpractice, meaning patients and their families may have legal options to recover compensation. However, determining what went wrong and who is legally responsible can be difficult, as doctors and nurses are rarely forthcoming about mistakes in the operating room.

Georgia medical malpractice attorney Kathy McArthur has handled many surgical error cases over the last four decades. She has recovered numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for her clients during the course of her career. In one case, our team of medical negligence lawyers secured a $5.2 million verdict for a client who had been harmed by medical negligence. Our law firm has the resources, experience, and staff to thoroughly investigate surgery malpractice cases.


Any negligence or error during a surgical procedure may cause devastating injuries or wrongful death. This includes mistakes made not only by the surgeon but also nurses, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare professionals. Common examples of surgical errors include:

  • Anesthesia errors. Doctors may use general anesthesia on patients who are undergoing complex medical procedures. This drug renders a patient partially or fully unconscious, immobilizing the patient during the procedure. However, errors with anesthesia may cause a patient to receive too much or too little of the drug. As a result, the patient may wake up during surgery or suffer further injury from anesthesia overdose. Too much anesthesia can cause brain injury, coma and/or wrongful death.
  • Leaving objects behind. Surgeons may leave equipment behind in patients, such as surgical sponges or scissors. These objects can cause infections or other complications. Patients usually must undergo secondary surgical procedures to remove the objects and correct any further damage.
  • Wrong patient surgeries. Negligent surgeons may conduct procedures on the wrong patients. This may cause unnecessary harm to a healthy patient as well as delay important procedures for the patient who needs surgery.
  • Wrong-site surgeries. This error occurs when surgeons operate on the wrong part of the body. For example, a surgeon operating on a patient with thyroid cancer may remove the wrong part of the gland. Thus, patients typically require additional surgeries and may suffer additional complications due to surgical negligence.
  • Damaging nerves or organs. Physical errors made during surgery can cause patients to suffer permanent nerve or organ damage. Severed blood vessels may also cause catastrophic injury.
  • Poor sanitation. When surgeons and hospital staff fail to sanitize equipment before surgery, patients can be put at an increased risk of infection. This type of surgery error can lead to brain or spinal cord injury, or wrongful death.
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Surgical mistakes are not always apparent right away. Before undergoing surgery, you should discuss the inherent risks and expected side effects of the procedure with your doctor. After any procedure, there might be normal swelling and pain. This does not always indicate a health issue or medical error. However, these common symptoms can mask serious problems. Post-op pain medications can also make it difficult to recognize health problems caused by surgical errors. Additionally, medical professionals rarely tell patients and their families when a mistake occurs, which can leave victims feeling hurt and confused.

Unexpected symptoms or medical issues after an operation may indicate a surgical error. If you experience problems or undue pain after surgery, go to the emergency room. Then, if possible, discuss the situation with your doctor. In the event your doctor dismisses your concerns, seek a second opinion. Afterwards, call an attorney with experience handling surgery malpractice cases. A lawyer can find the answers you need through a thorough investigation and can help you hold the liable parties accountable for your injuries and damages.

Medical malpractice attorney Kathy McArthur and her team have decades of experience with surgical error claims. In one case our law firm handled, a client complained about unexpected side effects of a procedure to her doctor multiple times. However, the doctor and hospital staff dismissed her claims. Later, she went to the emergency room in terrible pain and ER doctors discovered a surgical error. This mistake, which her original doctor should have found, could have been fatal if she had not gone to the emergency room.


If you or a loved one suffered harm from a surgical error, it important to contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for damages. Our law firm works with expert medical witnesses who can review your hospital records to determine whether malpractice has occurred. We review cases free of charge, and you only owe attorney fees if we are successful in recovering compensation for you or your family.

The attorneys at the McArthur Law Firm represent patients and family members in Atlanta, Columbus, Savannah and nationwide. We also file medical malpractice lawsuits on behalf of individuals in Albany, Augusta and across Georgia. To speak with one of our medical negligence lawyers, call us at 404-565-1621 or fill out our confidential online contact form. If you are calling from outside of Georgia, please call 478-238-6600.

More Surgical Negligence Resources

If you’d like to learn more about the different types of surgical negligence cases McArthur Law Firm handles, read our informative articles below. We explain all the different types of medical malpractice surgical negligence our Georgia personal injury attorneys handle.