Eleanor woke up as the sun reflected on her face. It seemed like a good day. She was finally having her surgery. She’s been through rigorous tests and was looking forward to some relief after the surgical excision of a node from her neck. She got ready and went to the hospital.
A few hours later, Dr. Saeli had worked his magic, and the surgery was finally done. “Finally, some relief,” Eleanor thought. She complained of numbness in the right side of her face and neck and pain while raising her right arm. The doctor assured her that it would be gone in no time. Little did she know that something had gone wrong. She suffered from a potentially permanent injury because of Dr. Saeli’s negligence during the surgery. The surgeon had negligently injured a spinal accessory nerve in her neck and injured her cervical plexus branches. Six years later, Eleanor realized the cause of her never-ending pain and medical episodes was due to the doctor’s negligence and approached the court of law. This is the case of Simcuski v. Saeli.
According to an article by Medical News Today, surgical errors occur more than 4000 times in a year in the United States. Errors in surgery can be caused by different factors like the high risk accompanied by the procedure, faulty equipment as seen in the case of Fox v. Ethicon Endo- Surgery, Inc., and medical negligence as obtained in the aforementioned case of Simcuski v. Saeli.
Laws Guiding Medical Malpractice in the United States
Generally, common law rules regarding negligence are still followed. Bal (2008), in his article, An Introduction to Medical Malpractice in the United States, defined medical malpractice as “any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes an injury to the patient.” In proving medical negligence, four salient elements must be established. They are as follows:
- A professional duty of care owed to the patient
The person being sued must have owed a duty of care to the patient. For example, in the case of Simcuski v. Saeli, Dr. Saeli owed a professional duty of care to perform Eleanor’s surgery in a safe and professionally acceptable manner. If there was no duty owed, then the claim cannot stand.
- Breach of the duty of care
The medical personnel must have done or omitted to do something to breach the duty of care placed on him by law. A breach may occur if the medical personnel fails to intimate the patient with vital information regarding their surgery. It can also be a mistake in pre-surgery care or post-surgery care.
- Injury caused by the breach
The patient must prove that they have suffered an injury because of the breach by the professional. In proving this, they must show medical reports and must be able to connect the injury to the act or omission of the doctor. Surgery animation will help immensely.
Finally, the plaintiff must prove economic and non-economic loss due to the injury. For instance, a loss can be a loss of ability to carry out one’s job.
It must be noted that different states have different rules of procedure regarding medical malpractice cases, such as the statute of limitation on medical malpractice cases.
Surgery Animation in Medical Malpractice Cases
It may not be easy to connect the effects of the surgery to the surgery carried out. This is why the first step in discovering this is a consultation with medical personnel. This way, a victim would get professional help on the case and undergo different tests to prove the connection.
After this is done, the doctor would be needed as an expert witness to testify on the injury suffered by the plaintiff. The doctor may not be able to easily paint the picture of what went wrong during the procedure to the jury without confusion. This is why the expert witness needs to use surgery animation in portraying the incident to the jury.
The surgery animation will involve recreating the scenes and procedures carried out in the theater room by the doctor. It can be used to explain how the defendant struck the wrong cord or carried out an improper action leading to damage to the defendant.
However, this must be done with the help of an expert surgery animation company in conjunction with a medical professional to ensure that all the rules of admissibility are duly followed.