When patients undergo spinal surgery, they often suffer small tears in the outer membrane of their spine. The tear is called durotomy and is sometimes unavoidable. In most cases, though, the surgeon will detect it and order a second operation to repair the injury, leaving the patient with no long-term issues to worry about. Arizona residents should know, however, about a study analyzing how durotomy is addressed in medical malpractice suits.
A recent study has shown that patients have a higher risk of suffering death, a heart attack or stroke following a surgery, and it doesn't matter whether the surgery involves the heart. In fact, these kinds of complications happen in approximately 3 percent of patients who are hospitalized for non-cardiac-related surgeries in the United States.
Arizona hospital patients expect doctors to be accurate and highly skilled in performing medical procedures and treatments. It might surprise some patients to know that doctors do not always tell them the whole truth, particularly when things go wrong during surgery. A JAMA Surgery survey published in 2016 showed that while most surgeons said they admit errors to their patients, only a little more than half said they apologized or discussed whether or not the mistake could have been prevented.
Arizona patients trust their doctors to correctly diagnose any medical issues they may have. However, that does not always happen. For example, an Oregon woman has filed a lawsuit claiming that she underwent three unnecessary surgeries after her doctor misread her blood test results.
Arizona residents may be aware of a neighboring state's efforts to curb hospital errors. Hundreds of hospitals have been publicly shamed through news releases that describe details of medical and surgical errors that have happened in California. But the rates of medical errors in that state have not reduced significantly since this shaming system has been in place. Across the country, medical errors are still a significant problem, so patient advocates have advised patients to be prepared to protect themselves when seeking medical treatment.
Some Arizona patients who undergo back surgery because of pain develop a condition called failed back surgery syndrome. People who suffer from FBSS experience chronic pain that may be more intense than that for which they had surgery.
When Arizona patients enter hospitals for surgical procedures, they trust in teams of medical professionals in the operating room. If just one member of the surgical team makes an error, the results could be disastrous. A study shows that surgical residents and interns, who are still in training, are especially likely to be named in malpractice cases.
The methods used by insurance companies to control costs can frustrate both patients and medical providers in Arizona. An orthopedic surgeon recently challenged the practice of limiting payments for surgical staff by describing the many ways that nurses add value to medical care.
Tools are available for surgeons in Arizona and elsewhere to achieve greater success in liver surgery while avoiding dangerous medical mistakes. The liver can be a particularly challenging site for operations, because the organ can be home to easily-shifting malignant tumors as well as major blood vessels.
A study published in The Spine Journal took a look at malpractice cases involving spine surgeries from 2010 to 2014. The authors studied all 103 cases during that time period and adjusted financial awards based on 2016 values. On average, a case settled in Arizona or elsewhere resulted in $2.3 million for the plaintiff. If a plaintiff went to court and won, that person was given an average of $4.9 million by a jury.