The Risk of a Positioning Error
During surgery, doctors may use several different positions to easily access surgical sites and complete an operation. When placing a patient into position, staff should always keep in mind how certain positions may cause serious injuries or trauma to the body. Nerve damage, fractures, and blood loss are all real possibilities when staff position a patient incorrectly.
How Negligence Contributes to Positioning Injuries
Positioning errors are a form of surgical malpractice that occurs when surgical staff injure a patient due to the improperly placement of the patient’s body. Surgeons utilize four standard positions and four different variations to complete procedures. Each position is meant for specific areas of the body or procedures, and surgical staff must also consider other factors like the patient’s height, weight, age, and medical history. Staff should always use the best position to avoid injuring a patient.
Positioning errors directly injure a patient or contribute to another surgical error. Improperly positioning a patient can impact circulation and respiration, especially with overweight and obese patients. Poor placement like this can cause the patient to experience distress. Blood loss and internal bleeding is another major risk with positioning errors that do not account for circulation, which can cause brain damage. Placing too much pressure on one part of the body for a long surgery can also lead to nerve damage and fractures.
The other major issue with positioning errors is how a position effects a surgeon’s field of view. Using the wrong position will make it difficult to perform on certain parts of the body, which can contribute to a wrong-site error. Positioning errors should be spotted before a procedure has begun so that staff can correct the issue and ensure the patient receives the best care possible.
Determining Liability for Surgical Malpractice
During surgery, patients are entirely in the care of their surgical staff. By following proper procedures and protocols, staff can ensure that the standard of care is protected and that an operation goes smoothly.
The issue with positioning errors is that staff do not always agree on responsibility or division of labor. A surgeon may argue that an anesthesiologist is responsible for monitoring a patient’s vitals, while the anesthesiologist may claim that the surgical staff should have positioned the patient correctly. In turn, the staff may point blame at the senior physicians.
This is not acceptable. All surgical staff have a duty to protect a patient from injuries and uphold the standard of care. Each member must shoulder the responsibility of patient care, and when anyone of them contributes to a patient’s injury or death, they should be held liable.
Our medical malpractice attorneys at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. believe that patients deserve the best care possible and, when injured by medical negligence, deserve proper compensation for their trauma. We have spent decades fighting for patients across the country and can use our expertise to advocate for you and your family. If you or someone you love suffered a medical malpractice injury due to a positioning error, we will fight to get you compensation for your trauma. Call us at (303) 759-9945 or toll-free (877) 433-3906 to talk about what happened to you in a free consultation.