If You Are the Victim of a Surgical Mistake, What Are Your Rights?

Surgical mistakes happen more frequently in Canada than you may think. Nova Scotia’s “Serious Reportable Events” database indicates that there are typically over 100 serious medical events in hospitals across Nova Scotia each year. If you become the injured victim of a surgical error in Nova Scotia, you will need the legal services and sound advice that a Halifax medical malpractice lawyer can provide.

Every day across Canada, people who are already injured or sick end up hurt a second time by negligent healthcare providers. In fact, surgical errors are sometimes responsible for injuries that can be catastrophic, temporarily or permanently disabling, or fatal.

Every surgery involves risk. The job of your medical providers is to exercise reasonable care in order to reduce the risk to you, the patient, as much as possible. While a simple surgical mistake may not constitute medical malpractice, a decline in your health or an injury caused by a failure to provide proper care does constitute medical malpractice. If you’re the victim of a surgical error, you have rights, and you deserve justice.

When Medical Malpractice Happens, How Will a Lawyer Help?

If you believe that you have been injured because of a surgical error, your Nova Scotia medical malpractice lawyer will investigate your injury or the decline in your health to determine if you have a legal claim, and if so, who should be held accountable.

The parties with potential liability for medical malpractice may include your doctor, other members of the surgical team, the medical facility where your surgery took place, a medical technology manufacturer, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, or more than one of those parties.

In order to prevail with a medical malpractice claim based on a surgical error in Nova Scotia, the harm you have suffered must have been caused by a surgeon’s failure to act as a “reasonable and prudent” surgeon would have acted in a comparable situation.

What Should You Know About Surgical Errors?

What are the causes of surgical mistakes? Frequently, it’s a failure to communicate clearly. A surgeon may not clearly communicate a correct medication dosage to a nurse, for example. In other cases, a surgeon may not be adequately prepared for the surgery or may be fatigued.

In some malpractice cases, a doctor may be incompetent, inexperienced, or may take “shortcuts” during a surgical procedure. In the most frightening cases – which are extremely rare – some surgeons have been intoxicated or impaired by drugs. The most common surgical errors include:

  1. cutting nerves during surgeries
  2. anesthesia mistakes
  3. operations on the wrong body parts
  4. cutting at the wrong location
  5. leaving an instrument or a sponge inside a patient’s body

If You Are a Medical Malpractice Victim, What Will Your Lawyer Have to Prove?

In Nova Scotia, in order to succeed with a medical malpractice claim arising from a surgical mistake, you (the “plaintiff”) and your Halifax medical malpractice lawyer will have to prove that:

  1. A doctor-patient relationship existed between you and the allegedly liable party (the “defendant”), and that party owed you a “duty of care.”
  2. The defendant did not meet that duty and did not provide the accepted standard of care.
  3. The defendant’s failure to fulfill the duty of care and to provide the accepted standard of care caused your injury or the decline in your health.
  4. Your injury or the decline in your health and your related losses are quantifiable, and the defendant should compensate you for your damages and losses.

How Will Your Medical Malpractice Case Be Handled?

Medical malpractice claims that are based on surgical errors may be resolved with privately negotiated out-of-court settlements. From the start, your medical malpractice lawyer will negotiate on your behalf for a fair and reasonable out-of-court settlement.

A defendant and a plaintiff may agree to mediation, which offers a structured framework for discussing and finding a resolution.Medical malpractice trials are rare, but if a defendant and plaintiff cannot resolve a claim privately or through mediation, the case may go to court.

At a medical malpractice trial, your lawyer will call medical experts who can describe the professionally accepted standard of medical care, explain how your treatment did not meet that standard, and clarify the details about how you were injured or harmed by a surgical mistake.

What Should You Know Before You Take Legal Action?

In Nova Scotia, you have two years from the date of a surgical mistake – or from the date you learn that a surgical mistake took place – to file a medical malpractice claim. In some cases Nova Scotia courts have the discretion to extend time limits. However, you can’t wait two years. In fact, you should arrange to speak with a lawyer at once.

Over time, evidence and important documents could be lost, and the memories of witnesses may fade. As soon as you know that you are the victim of a surgical error, schedule a consultation with a Nova Scotia medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your legal rights and your options.

If you are injured or harmed because of a surgical error, your first legal consultation is provided without cost or obligation. If you and your lawyer agree to move ahead with legal action, you will owe no lawyer’s fee until your compensation is recovered with a settlement or a trial verdict.

Which Lawyers Should Handle Your Medical Malpractice Claim?

McKiggan Hebert Lawyers has represented and has prevailed on behalf of the victims of medical malpractice in the Halifax area and throughout Nova Scotia. If you become a victim of medical malpractice, or if you’re not sure whether you are a victim, reach out to us at once.

Our team of lawyers has decades of experience fighting for the justice that abuse victims and personal injury victims need and deserve. We represent medical malpractice victims, sexual abuse victims, and anyone in Nova Scotia who has been injured by abuse or negligence.

Contact McKiggan Hebert Lawyers by calling 902-706-2298 to find out more about your options and rights as a malpractice victim. When you take your case to McKiggan Hebert, we will fight aggressively and effectively for the compensation – and for the justice – you deserve and need.