Abdominal surgery refers to a broad category of surgical procedures in the abdomen. These procedures can be used to diagnose or treat a medical issue in that area of the abdomen.
Abdominal surgery is often recommended for patients with disorders that affect any area of the abdominal cavity. This includes patients with cases of appendicitis, trauma, internal bleeding, intestinal disorders, tumors, hernias, and infections.
There are two broad categories of abdominal surgery: laparotomies and laparoscopic procedures.
Laparotomies are primary operations that include a significant abdominal incision and a prolonged recovery period. On the other hand, the incision formed during laparoscopic procedures is considerably smaller. As a result, there is less scarring, bleeding, and postoperative pain and quicker recovery.
Examples of abdominal surgeries include cesarean section, hernia surgery, exploratory laparotomy, cholecystectomy, appendectomy, etc.
Common Complications Arising From Abdominal Surgery Malpractices
Abdominal surgeries always carry a level of risk. This is why a hospital will always ask a patient to sign an “Informed Consent” form before surgery. This is certifying that such a patient is aware of the risk.
However, carelessness by medical professionals like doctors, surgeons, or other medical staff can significantly increase such risks. Hence, resulting in surgical malpractice.
Surgical malpractice is a subset of medical malpractice that involves careless, incorrect, or illegal behavior on the part of a surgeon or the medical staff performing the procedure. It is a mistake made during surgery that could have been avoided.
Let’s consider some common complications caused by surgical malpractice.
Bowel perforations may or may not be a risk of abdominal procedures such as hysterectomies, appendectomies, laparoscopic surgeries, or colonoscopies. Sometimes, because of extensive scar tissue or severe disease, bowel perforation can occur without evidence of surgical malpractice.
A surgeon, however, will be deemed negligent if he employs subpar surgical methods or takes too long to diagnose the issue. If the intestinal perforation or the treatment of the perforation was careless, a victim could sue for surgical malpractice.
In the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Estate of Arancibia, the plaintiff underwent laparoscopic hernia surgery. Unfortunately, during the surgery, her bowel ruptured twice during the hernia operation. This resulted in acute peritonitis and sepsis, which caused her death.
Retained foreign objects
A surgeon forgetting a foreign object is one of the most horrific instances of surgical malpractice. Retained foreign objects after abdominal surgeries can seriously compromise the patient’s internal health and lead to postoperative health issues.
Items surgeons leave behind more often include clamps, needles, pins, catheters, and cook swabs.
In the case of Fernandi v. Strully, the defendant left a wingnut in the plaintiff’s abdomen after a hysterectomy procedure. The retained foreign object made the plaintiff suffer incredible pain. The court held the defendant liable for malpractice.
Peritonitis is a potentially fatal infection of the abdomen. It is an inflammation of the peritoneum. The peritoneum covers and supports most of the abdominal organs and lines the interior wall of the abdomen.
Peritonitis typically results from the negligence of the surgeon. For example, it can occur when the bowel is accidentally perforated during operations such as gallbladder removal or when the bowel is ruptured during surgery and the bacterial matter leaks into the abdominal cavity. Consequently, resulting in peritonitis.
If neglected, peritonitis can quickly spread to other organs and into the blood(sepsis). Thereby, leading to multiple organ failure and death.
In Moore v. Sutherland, the plaintiff sued the defendant for surgical malpractice on behalf of the deceased. In this case, the surgeon’s negligence caused the deceased to die from bile peritonitis after vagotomy and antrectomy.
Chronic nerve pain in the pelvis or abdomen can occasionally result from abdominal surgeries.
Abdominal nerves may become severed, stretched, or otherwise injured during procedures like appendectomy, gynecological surgery, or hernia repair.
Nerve injury can happen when a surgeon performs an operation without recognizing the presence of a nerve and accidentally cuts the nerve. The body’s capacity to transmit signals from the central nervous system to various body regions is affected by nerve injury.
If a surgeon’s carelessness caused nerve damage during surgery, the patient might be able to file a lawsuit.
A wrong-site surgery happens when a surgeon operates on the incorrect region of a patient’s body, the wrong patient, or the incorrect treatment. Doctors and hospitals may be held responsible for the patient’s injuries if it occurs.
Numerous health issues can result from abdominal wrong-site surgery. In some circumstances, patients could need extra treatments to fix the mistake or handle any new issues the surgeon’s error caused. In other situations, the harm done by a wrong site operation may be so severe that it may result in the patient’s end.
Using Medical Animation To Showcase Abdominal Surgery Complications
Medical negligence is the third-leading cause of preventable mortality in the U.S., accounting for 251,000 fatalities annually. This is according to research published in the Journal Studies in Health Technology and Informatics in 2017.
Despite the popularity of medical malpractice, winning a surgical malpractice case is still very challenging. This is due to the complexity and difficulties associated with establishing negligence in malpractice cases.
Every abdominal surgical malpractice case is distinct. The details of how a patient was treated are also frequently incredibly complicated. It follows, therefore, that precision when presenting the essential facts of a malpractice case is very crucial to winning. This is one of the many reasons surgical malpractice lawyers are always quick to leverage medical animation.
Medical animation clarifies crucial treatment milestones and identifies instances of subpar medical care. In addition, it illustrates a vivid picture of abdominal surgery and highlights the surgical error that resulted in the patient’s injury.
Words alone cannot do justice to the complex procedures involved in most abdominal surgeries.
In case of a surgical error during any abdominal surgery, such as gallbladder removal or appendectomy, animation can help showcase the surgeon’s fault in detail.
The animation will start by showing the original incision made by the surgeon. It will then depict the removal of the gallbladder or large intestine and its replacement.
The complications brought on by a surgeon’s negligence during any abdominal surgery can have long-lasting adverse effects on a patient’s health. However, no one should have to endure the anguish brought on by another person’s mistake alone.
In proving liability, medical animation is an effective tool to portray the surgeon’s fault. However, choosing a reputable medical animation company that is well-versed in producing admissible demonstrative exhibits is essential.
At Fox-AE, we work closely with attorneys and expert witnesses to ensure that we create medical animations that accurately illustrate the facts of the case and their opinions.