Unsanitary Surgical Instruments

Medical Malpractice Lawyers Serving the Ocala Area

Historically, medical instruments required straightforward sterilization of steel or glass. However, the minimally invasive surgeries of today have tiny moving parts and long channels, and these more complex tools, often made of polymer or plastic, require different kinds of sterilization. When unsanitary surgical instruments are used in surgeries, the result may be a prolonged recovery period, the loss of limbs or organs, sepsis, HIV, syphilis, hepatitis, or even death. At the Dean Law Firm, our experienced Ocala medical malpractice attorneys may be able to help you recover damages if this type of health care negligence harmed you.

Using Unsanitary Surgical Instruments may Have Serious Consequences

The cleaning and sterilization of surgical tools often takes place in fast-paced conditions and is conducted by technicians who may be underpaid and subject to high turnover. Thousands of surgical tools pass through central sterile processing units each day and are sent back to the operating room. Sometimes tools are sent back rapidly, but under other circumstances, they may sit for days, resulting in hardened blood, tissue, and even amniotic fluid residue. They may be difficult to clean, whether or not they are cleaned immediately. When a surgical patient already has a weak immune system, the result of being exposed to an unsanitary surgical instrument can be sepsis or infection.

If an injury or death could have been avoided by using sanitary surgical instruments, a person who suffered an infection or another injury has a legal right to sue for monetary damages. To establish a medical malpractice case, you will need to show that it is more likely than not that a health care provider owed you a duty of professional care, the provider breached this professional duty of care, the breach caused your harm, and you suffered actual damages as a result. All hospitals owe a duty to patients to maintain policies and procedures that ensure that surgical instruments and tools are properly sterilized. If they fail to do so, they can be liable for any harm that results.

Some other breaches of the duty to keep surgical instruments sterile include improper packaging, reusing one-time instruments, accidentally using instruments that were used in an earlier surgery without sending them for sterilization, and intentional misconduct. Any of these actions may constitute medical negligence. It will be critical to retain an expert who can testify about the proper policies and procedures with regard to surgical tool sterilization and other precautions.

In some cases, multiple experts will be necessary. It may be necessary to retain one expert on the issue of proper sterilization procedures and another expert on the issue of causation. For example, you may need to retain an expert on the issue of whether your sepsis was caused by the use of an improperly sterilized tool.

Infections are always a risk in the course of surgery. Causation can be challenging in this type of case, especially if it is possible that the infection at issue could have happened for another reason. The other side may retain an expert to argue that the infection was a result of something other than the unsanitary instrument, making it crucial that your expert is credible and has strong credentials.

If you can establish liability, you may be able to recover compensation for noneconomic and economic losses that arose from the malpractice. These losses could include past and future medical bills, past and future wage loss, lost earning capacity, household services, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium. If a loved one died as a result of an infection or another problem arising from unsanitary surgical instruments, it may be possible to recover wrongful death damages, including a family member's loss of love, affection, and companionship.

Discuss Your Situation With an Injury Lawyer in Ocala

At the Dean Law Firm, our skillful Ocala attorneys can represent you in a medical malpractice case involving unsanitary surgical instruments. Contact us online or at 352-387-8700 to set up a free appointment. We can assist people who need a surgical negligence lawyer or guidance in seeking compensation for other forms of malpractice in Ocala, The Villages, Crystal River, and other areas of Citrus, Levy, Sumter, Marion, and Lake Counties.