How Postoperative Negligence Can Be Life-Threatening
A successful surgery depends not only on the skill and precision of the surgical team, but also on the quality of postoperative care. This critical window of time sets the stage for recovery. Even the perfect surgery can go off the rails when negligence occurs in the postoperative context.
The Big Three
The biggest dangers for a postoperative patient include:
- Infection: Every surgery, whether major or minor, carries some risk of infection. Certain factors can increase that risk, such as invasive procedures or underlying health problems. Doctors and nurses have an important responsibility to keep the wound clean and monitor for infections. If you do develop symptoms of an infection, prompt treatment is essential. Failure to treat an infection can lead to sepsis or death.
- Blood clots: Like infections, blood clots are a risk that go along with almost any surgery — especially orthopedic procedures such as hip replacements. Some patients are at greater risk due to obesity, smoking, certain medications or a family history of blood clots. When a clot forms, typically in the leg, it can break loose and travel to the lungs, resulting in a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. Clots can also travel to the brain, causing strokes. Your care team must take appropriate steps to minimize your risk. Depending on your situation, compression stockings, medications and light exercise may be necessary. If your doctors or nurses don’t do enough to manage this risk — or fail to promptly treat symptoms of a blood clot — they might be liable for malpractice.
- Failure to monitor: Hospital post-op units are supposed to be a place for fragile patients to receive the care and monitoring they need during an especially vulnerable time. Sometimes, however, these units are poorly managed, overcrowded or understaffed. Patients don’t always get the level of attention they need, resulting in tragic consequences.
Find Out How We Can Help
Have you suffered preventable complications because of postoperative negligence? Do you suspect that negligence may have played a role in a loved one’s death? At Barry D. Lang, M.D. & Associates, we can help you understand what happened and pursue accountability.
Based in the Boston area, our attorneys are aggressive advocates for patients throughout Massachusetts. We also have doctors and nurses on staff — a unique advantage that allows us to quickly and thoroughly evaluate your claim.