While the results of heart surgery are often positive, there are many risks associated with cardiac procedures. Common complications include bleeding, signs of inflammation such as swelling, fever and infection, and adverse reactions to the medication used by the anesthesiologist to keep patients asleep during the procedure. These are often risks inherent in any surgical procedure, not just heart surgery.
Common Heart Surgery Risks
More specific risks when it comes to cardiac procedures include arrhythmias, which are characterized by irregular heartbeats. Damage sustained to heart tissues, or tissues in the lungs, liver and kidneys is also possible, especially in open-heart surgeries that require large incisions, though minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries can also lead to tissue damage as well. Additionally, heart surgery can result in changes in the blood flow to the brain which can increase the risk of stroke, which can either cause short-term damage or permanent injury. Some of the issues a stroke can cause include memory loss, difficulty with fine and major motor control, or the ability to think clearly. Finally, there is a risk of death with cardiac procedures, though that risk is typically heightened only in individuals who are already sick before the heart surgery.
The Possibility of Medical Malpractice
Thanks to the risks of complications occurring with cardiac procedures, sometimes even the most relatively healthy patient being operated on by the most skilled and experienced surgeons might end up developing some of these complications. There aren’t always clear causes or triggers for these complications, as there’s an inherent unpredictability in being placed under anesthesia and then quite literally cut open on the operating table. However, sometimes there are things that can heighten your risk for complications occurring – and this includes medical negligence on the part of your surgeon.
Cases of heart surgery malpractice may be rare, but they do occur. If a member of the surgical team takes a certain action that results in an injury to a patient or neglects to take proper action to prevent such an injury, this medical professional may be responsible for any damage that a patient suffers as a result. However, the threshold for proving medical negligence has one very important requirement: the actions (or inaction) of a surgeon needs to deviate from the accepted standards established by the surgical community by a substantial amount for a claim of medical negligence to have any validity.
What this means is that even if your surgeon ended up being the cause of an injury during your heart surgery – an injury that caused you significant damage – he or she might not be liable under civil law unless it can be proven that their action or inaction deviated from these accepted standards significantly enough to meet the medical malpractice threshold. This is why you should always consult an experienced medical negligence attorney as they can help you determine if the circumstances surrounding your medical injury support the possibility of a successful medical malpractice lawsuit – one that might result in a large compensation payout for you.