Featured News 2016 ‘Elective Surgery’ and Medical Malpractice

‘Elective Surgery’ and Medical Malpractice

In the medical community, there are three different types of surgery: emergency, urgent, and elective. "Elective surgery" means that the patient has the "choice" to have the surgery done or not. A large percentage of surgeries are elective because they are planned, non-emergency operations.

While the term elective surgery may conjure up thoughts of breast augmentation surgery, facelifts and rhinoplasty, this is a common misconception; elective surgery is not limited to cosmetic surgery. An elective surgery may be medically necessary, such as cataract surgery, or it may be "optional," such as liposuction.

Types of Elective Surgeries

There are hundreds of different types of elective surgeries, so there are too many to list, but here are some major categories of elective surgeries:

  • Laser eye surgery to correct vision
  • Plastic or cosmetic surgery
  • Gynecological surgery, such as tubal ligation or a hysterectomy
  • Orthopedic surgical procedure, such as a shoulder replacement

All Surgeries Involve a Degree of Risk

Whether a patient is having an emergency amputation, or a breast augmentation, all surgeries, whether elective or medically urgent, carry a degree of risk. Most of the time, surgeons and their medical teams are highly skilled and they take the necessary precautions, but not all surgeries go as planned.

In all types of surgeries, even elective surgeries, a surgical error will be made and the patient will suffer a permanent injury, or they will suffer a tragic, wrongful death. When a patient is wrongfully injured or killed as a result of a surgical or anesthesia error, the patient or their surviving family members are entitled to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

What are the common risks of plastic surgery?

  • Permanent nerve damage
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Blood clotting or hematoma
  • A post-operative infection
  • Complications from anesthesia
  • Necrosis, which refers to a lack of oxygen that leads to tissue death
  • Wrongful death due to complications

Elective surgery errors, especially those from plastic surgery malpractice can leave the patient with lifelong complications, permanent disfigurement or disability. If you were injured during an elective procedure, you should discuss your rights to file a claim with a medical malpractice lawyer.

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