When Medical Malpractice Leads to a Preventable Amputation
Posted in Medical Malpractice on February 3, 2021
When we go to the hospital, we expect that the medical staff supervising our care know why we need treatment. We certainly do not expect that a surgeon will perform the wrong procedure—but unfortunately, many Missouri patients suffer complications due to these careless mistakes.
In some cases, these errors contribute to preventable amputation, leading to a severe impact on the affected patient’s quality of life. If you suffered a preventable amputation due to a medical professional’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
How Do You Know If an Amputation is Malpractice?
There are many situations where an amputation is necessary. You may have a medical condition that harms your vascular system, such as diabetes, and your doctor may recommend amputation to alleviate these issues. In other cases, you may have an infection that needs to stop spreading, or your limb becomes severely damaged during a serious accident. In these situations, amputation may be necessary to save your life.
However, not all cases of amputation are necessary—and some rise to the level of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, surgeon, or other medical professional commits a negligent act or omission, leading to further harm or injury. Examples of medical malpractice involving amputation include the following.
- Your surgeon operates on the wrong limb or damages your limb during a surgical procedure.
- Your doctor fails to diagnose and/or treat a condition, such as an infection, before it worsens, leading to amputation.
- Your doctor fails to improperly care for a wound that later becomes infected.
- Your doctor fails to properly apply a cast to a broken limb, leading to compartment syndrome that often results in irreparable damage and necessary amputation.
- You develop complications after surgery that your doctor fails to monitor, leading to a necessary amputation.
Legal Options for Preventable Amputation Victims
If a doctor, surgeon, or another medical professional’s actions or omissions lead to your amputation, you may qualify for a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, you will need to prove four important elements to receive compensatory damages from your claim.
- The at-fault medical professional owed you a duty of care.
- The at-fault professional breached his or her duty of care.
- The breach of duty directly caused your amputation.
- You suffered damages due to the amputation that you can collect in your lawsuit.
For example, say that you go to the emergency room complaining of severe pain in your leg. The attending physician diagnoses you with an aneurysm but leaves you alone for several hours without follow-up care. By the time you see the physician again, your vascular system has sustained irreparable damage and you need an amputation.
In this situation, the doctor could have prevented the amputation if he or she had taken urgent steps to treat your condition. You can establish duty and breach of care using your medical records, and your attorney can enlist the help of expert witnesses to validate the breach and causation. Your lawyer will also help you prove your right to damages using certain documentation, such as medical bills, journal entries, and paystubs.
If you are the victim of a preventable amputation, help is available. A Missouri malpractice lawyer can help you prove that the at-fault medical professional’s negligence caused your condition, establishing your right to damages. Contact your attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and legal options.