When a medical professional recommends a surgical procedure, he or she must weigh a few key questions. The healthcare provider must decide whether the benefits of the procedure outweigh the risks, and whether the patient truly needs the surgery.
However, some surgeons recommend procedures that are unnecessary, posing serious risks to a patient. If you are injured due to an unnecessary surgery, you may be eligible for a medical malpractice lawsuit against the at-fault healthcare provider.
Common Types of Unnecessary Surgeries
An unnecessary surgery is a procedure that is either not necessary for the patient or not in the patient’s best interests in comparison to alternative treatment options. Although we trust our doctors to recommend treatment options that will help us, unnecessary surgical procedures are more common than we may believe.
Common types of unnecessary surgeries include the following.
- Gallbladder removals
- Pacemaker insertions
- Hip surgeries
- Knee surgeries
- Back and spine surgeries
- Heart stents
Why Do Surgeons Perform Unnecessary Surgeries?
There are many reasons why a surgeon may recommend an unnecessary surgery. The surgeon may have been trained to perform the procedure under the circumstances and do not know any better. The surgeon may also receive some sort of incentive to perform certain types of surgical procedures.
For example, some surgeons have speaking or consulting agreements with medical device manufacturers. These arrangements can pose a conflict of interest when the surgeon recommends procedures for patients. The surgeon may recommend the device that would help him or her receive an incentive, even if it is not in the best interest of the patient.
In other cases, surgeons may face professional incentives when performing surgeries. A hospital administrator may put pressure on surgeons to perform more surgeries, generating revenue. Some hospitals may purchase expensive or advanced surgical equipment and pressure surgeons to use these devices so that they can justify their use.
Recovering Compensation After an Unnecessary Surgery
Although these events do not occur at all medical facilities, a surgeon can still perform an unnecessary surgery and cause harm to a patient. If you have experienced an unnecessary surgery, you can develop painful complications, deal with unpleasant side effects, or experience a new or worsening condition.
In these situations, you may be eligible for compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit against the at-fault surgeon. By filing your claim, you can recover damages for additional medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
To prove your right to compensation following an unnecessary surgery, however, you will need to show that the surgeon breached his or her duty of care and caused harm to you as a result. You will need to gather enough evidence to prove the following four facts.
- The surgeon owed you a duty of care.
- The surgeon breached his or her duty of care by performing an unnecessary surgeon.
- The surgeon’s breach of duty caused your injuries.
- You sustained damages as a result of the surgery that you can collect in your lawsuit.
These elements can be difficult to prove, especially if the surgeon argues that the surgery was necessary. A medical malpractice lawyer can help you fight against these claims and gather the evidence you need to establish your right to compensation. For example, your attorney can consult with an expert medical witness who can testify on your behalf.