What Constitutes Heart Surgery Malpractice?
All healthcare providers have a duty to use the most widely accepted and reasonable standards of care during diagnosis and treatment. When they breach this duty of care, patients have the right to bring a medical malpractice claim to pursue compensation for any damages they incur as a result.
In simplest terms, heart surgery malpractice occurs when a heart surgeon or another member of the surgical team breaches the duty of care owed to the patient. Below are a few common surgical mistakes that may warrant a heart surgery malpractice claim:
- Leaving a surgical tool inside the patient;
- Performing the wrong procedure;
- Using the wrong surgical technique, resulting in nerve damage, infection, or another complication;
- Administering too much anesthesia; and
- Puncturing an organ.
Elements to Prove in a Heart Surgery Malpractice Case
The following elements must be proven to prevail in any medical malpractice case:
- Duty of Care: It must be shown that the defendant owed the patient a duty of care. Establishing this duty is usually straightforward in heart surgery malpractice cases since the duty exists as soon as the healthcare provider-patient relationship is establish. As previously mentioned, healthcare providers owe a duty to patients to use the most widely accepted and reasonable standards of care.
- Breach of the Duty of Care: Your attorney will have to prove how the defendant (or one of their employees) breached the duty of care owed to you (or your deceased loved one). This most likely will involve demonstrating how the medical provider failed to use the most widely accepted standards of care given the circumstances. It may be necessary for your attorney to bring in a medical expert with the same specialization as the defendant to provide deposition and testimony regarding the defendant’s deviations from the standards of care.
- Causation: After establishing that the defendant breached the duty of care (this is called “negligence”), it must be shown that the defendant’s negligence was the actual or proximate cause of the patient’s injury or death. If the medical provider’s negligence did not result in damages—for example, if the mistake was caught before complications arose—it won’t be possible to recover compensation.
- Damages: If you were a victim of heart surgery malpractice, it may be possible to recover compensation for the resulting medical costs, lost income, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other damages. In order to win a settlement or verdict, however, your lawyer will have to prove the types of damages incurred and their value. Since malpractice victims often accrue significant medical bills and a lifetime of lost income, insurance companies tend to devote substantial resources into disputing damages. It’s often necessary to bring in economic and medical experts to provide deposition and testimony regarding the value of lost future earnings and the anticipated cost of future healthcare.
Speak with a Heart Surgery Malpractice Attorney in Florida
At Emerson Straw, we have many years of experience helping medical malpractice victims and their families fight for the compensation they deserve. We handle cases in St. Petersburg, St. Augustine, and throughout the state of Florida. To discuss your case with a heart surgery malpractice lawyer in a free consultation, call us today at (866) 515-1651 or send us a message online.