Surgical complications – not always a result of human error

Surgical complications – not always a result of human error

Surgical complications – not always a result of human error 150 150 Lauren Ellerman

No such thing as a simple surgery. 

Seriously. And no surgery is totally without risk. 

We have had patients die during hip repairs, and suffer life changing injury after routine colonoscopies and or gallbladder surgeries. We have seen patients die during child delivery, cancer surgeries, and other ‘routine procedures.’

Sometimes, the health care providers do everything right and patients get injured. That bares repeating. Sometimes an injury is not avoidable. Certain patients are just at a higher risk for surgical complications.

But sometimes, a mistake is what causes the injury. Sometimes, negligence occurs and a provider or surgeon does not do what he or she should have done, and as a result, someone gets injured or worse, life is lost. 

That is the difference between an injury, and a preventable injury. That is the difference between a non-case, and a case. 

The difference between a complication, and negligence. 

So how can you tell the difference? Typically we start by looking at the medical records. Did something happen to cause the injury? A blood test was missed? A test result not looked at? Internal bleeding not found? Bowel puncture or infection missed? Or did the magical and complicated human body react in ways we cannot understand?

Not every bad outcome was caused by negligence. And it is our job to investigate each and every case to determine whether human error contributed. 

About the author

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at

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