Heart surgery is a complex medical procedure that features significant risks and potential benefits alike. When performed with skill, precision and adherence to established medical standards, it can (potentially) significantly improve a patient’s quality of life and even save their life.
However, there are instances when heart surgery may result in medical malpractice, which refers to negligence or substandard care provided by medical professionals during the surgical process that results in patient harm.
Infringement of a patient’s rights
When patients undergo heart surgery, they have certain fundamental rights that must be respected by the medical professionals involved. These rights include:
- The right to receive appropriate medical care
- The right to be informed about the risks and benefits of the procedure
- The right to make informed decisions about their treatment
- The right to give or withhold consent
One crucial aspect of heart surgery that can give rise to medical malpractice claims is the issue of informed consent. Informed consent is the process through which a patient fully understands the risks, benefits and potential alternatives to a particular medical procedure before consenting.
Medical professionals have a legal and ethical duty to provide patients with all relevant information clearly and understandably, making the patient fully aware of the potential risks involved in the surgery. Failure to obtain informed consent or providing inadequate information about the risks can be considered a breach of duty by the medical professional and may constitute medical malpractice.
During heart surgery, precision and attention to detail are paramount. Even a minor error or negligence during the procedure can have severe consequences for a patient. An anesthetic error is a common surgical error that may lead to a medical malpractice claim. Anesthesia is critical in heart surgery, as it helps ensure the patient’s comfort and safety during the procedure. Errors in administering anesthesia can have serious repercussions. Some errors that can lead to complications or even fatal outcomes include:
- Administering an incorrect dosage
- Failing to monitor the patient’s vital signs adequately
- Not considering the patient’s medical history when determining the anesthesia plan
Other surgical errors that patients may pay dearly for include surgical instrument mishaps and infection control failures.
Heart surgery is a complex and delicate procedure that demands the highest level of skill and care from medical professionals. While complications can arise even with the best medical care, instances of medical malpractice during heart surgery can result in devastating consequences for patients.