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What to Do If You Were Subjected to an Unnecessary Surgery

Updated February 23, 2023 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

Unnecessary Surgery

Multiple lawsuits have been initiated against three cardiologists and a hospital in Northwest Indiana. These medical malpractice charges involve unnecessary cardiac surgeries and other invasive procedures. According to news reports, the charges range from open heart surgery to pacemaker implantation. At least one person has died from complications related to the procedures.

The slew of lawsuits against the hospital and the three doctors involved is just one example of a common problem in medicine. Unnecessary major surgeries and other invasive procedures not only lead to enormous financial waste—they can also cause steep costs in health and quality of life.

Costs of Unnecessary Surgery

According to a USA Today review of various medical databases and government records, there are estimated to be tens of thousands of unnecessary surgical procedures in the United States. This problem may be especially prevalent in some areas of surgery, such as those involving the heart and spine. Another government study showed that for specific kinds of surgery, up to 30% of the procedures could be unnecessary.

The costs of unnecessary surgical procedures include the following:

  • Death
  • Infection, blood clots, paralysis, and other surgical complications
  • Unnecessary loss of organs or organ functioning
  • The need for follow-up surgeries and other expensive procedures
  • Overall diminished health and quality of life
  • Surgical scars and other cosmetic blemishes
  • Days, weeks, or months of missed work
  • Large medical bills

Unnecessary surgical procedures also lead to a profound loss of trust. Patients depend on doctors to look out for them and their best interests. Often, these unnecessary surgeries are performed for financial gain, due to the fee-for-service business model.

How to Tell If Your Surgical Procedure Was Unnecessary

Medical errors are one of the top leading causes of death in the United States, so it’s crucial that doctors only perform surgery when it is extremely necessary. Some patients have discovered they underwent unnecessary surgery because they received secondary opinions from other doctors, while other patients experienced some sort of complication, prompting them to look more closely into the circumstances surrounding their surgery. There are several factors to consider whether or not your surgery is deemed necessary. Did your surgery improve a preexisting condition? If not, your surgery could be legally proven unnecessary.

Wrongful Surgery

Wrongful surgery or failed surgery are surgeries where the doctor was negligent and caused harm to the patient. Wrongful surgery can include:

  • Wrong-site surgery
  • Wrong patient surgery
  • Infection
  • Damage to internal organs or nerves
  • Surgical instrument left in the body

While doctors are humans and make mistakes, these instances are all avoidable and should not happen. Medical professionals should be held accountable for causing their patients further injury.

When Unnecessary Surgery is Medical Malpractice

To file a malpractice lawsuit as a result of unnecessary surgery, you will have to prove negligence. Ways you can prove negligence include but are not limited to:

  • Doctor did not inform patient of the risks or benefits of the surgery versus the risks of not having the surgery
  • Doctor recommends surgery without offering or considering reasonable alternatives
  • Surgery is performed on the basis of a misdiagnosis

There is the additional possibility that if a medical mistake was made during the surgery, a claim of medical negligence could be filed for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Unnecessary Surgery Compensation

In order to receive compensation in an unnecessary surgery case, you will need to prove medical negligence. In order to prove negligence, your lawyer will need to obtain the medical history of treatment in relation to the unnecessary surgery. Some things to take into consideration when proving negligence for compensation:

  • Was the surgeon’s recommendation for surgery a negligent decision?
  • What was the condition of your health pre-surgery?
  • What are the standard approaches to treating the condition in which you underwent surgery for?
  • What were the chances your condition would improve or worsen after the surgery was completed?

Typically, a medical witness will also need to be hired to access the records and assist in proving negligence.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

If you believe that you or a loved one have been subjected to an unnecessary surgical procedure, contact the Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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