When we, as patients, agree to undergo medical procedures we trust that our healthcare provider has thoroughly researched and thought over that the procedure. Additionally, we trust that during the procedure our healthcare providers will use their utmost care to properly complete the procedure to the best of their abilities. Where a medical professional fails to do so and a patient suffers serious injury or death, any and all wrongdoers can be held liable through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
According to an article in the Cook County Record, a Northwest Community Hospital doctor allegedly performed surgery on the incorrect knee of a McHenry County woman who is now suing the doctor and hospital. Attorneys for the woman filed her lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court earlier this month. The filed complaint alleges that she was admitted to Northwest Community Hospital for arthroscopic surgery on her left knee and that the doctor performed the procedure on her right knee. She now seeks over $50,000 in damages.
As our readers know, preventable medical errors are far too common and often have devastating consequences. Each year over 98,000 people are killed every year as a result of preventable medical mistakes and many more are injured. Wrong-site surgeries are among the most common medical mistakes that can easily be prevented if medical teams carefully follow protocol to reduce the incidence of wrong-site surgery.
Additionally, this example also brings up the issue of a lack of informed consent. Here, the patient consented for a procedure to be done to her left knee. She never agreed to any surgery to be done to her right knee. Consent is an important issue in the law because patients put their trust in doctors and are giving up a certain amount of control over their own bodies so that a doctor may better the individual’s health. However, just because a patient consents to give up some control does not mean that the patient has given up all of their bodily autonomy. A healthcare provider cannot perform a procedure or treatment if the patient has not consented after being educated on the risks and benefits .
In this case, due to a preventable medical error, the plaintiff continues to suffer as a result of a procedure that should not have occurred in the first place. Her right knee was not in need of any medical care that we know of, but because of this mistake, she must now faces an unnecessary but lengthy and painful recovery process for her right knee and eventually she will have to go through all of this again to finally repair her left knee.
Our attorneys stand by the idea that patients deserve the best care and that preventable medical mistakes should never be tolerated. We represent patients and families who have suffered injury or the loss of a loved one due to careless and intentional actions of healthcare providers. Where a healthcare provider acts or fails to act in a way that results in a patient’s injury or death, they should be held accountable through legal action. Medical malpractice lawsuits not only help victims recover damages for the harms caused to them, they also send a strong message to hospital administrators and medical professionals that inadequate care and preventable medical errors will not go unnoticed.