What is an unnecessary surgery?
In order for a surgery to be legitimate, it has to pass certain criteria. Doctors can't simply order a surgery at their whims, even though some cases may make it seem like such. Sadly, unnecessary surgeries (whether ordered, or deemed unnecessary post-procedure) are common events. In order to be sure a surgery is performed with the correct prior proceedings in place and be considered legitimate, it must meet the following criteria:
- The surgery must be to address a legitimate and proven medical need.
- Informed consent of the patient must be obtained.
- A standard of care must be followed.
Without these needs met, a surgery can be called unnecessary, especially if it has directly contributed to harming a patient. In that situation, the surgeon could also be held liable for negligence.
Common Unnecessary Surgeries
Unnecessary surgeries can occur for many reasons. An unskilled or underqualified doctor may see a need where this none, which is why you should always seek a second opinion when surgery is mentioned as needed treatment. Not only do operations make hospitals profit, they can also have deadly and debilitating risks. Some of the most frequently occurring unnecessary surgeries are:
- Angioplasty and stents: In order to treat and prevent cardiac events, an inflatable balloon is installed in an artery in order to remove plaque and thus, the risk of a heart attack. It can be a life-saving procedure, if needed. Plenty of patients receive them without real need, against medical guidelines.
- Pacemakers: Another cardiac procedure, a pacemaker regulates a patient's heartbeat. According to research, at least one in five pacemakers are unnecessary.
- Hysterectomy: Failure to diagnose or another diagnostic error may lead a doctor to recommend removing a patient's womb and altering their life forever. This is an exceptionally invasive step that is too often used as a precautionary measure.
- Spinal Fusion: Back pain can result in doctors taking extreme measures to find the cause, and not cease until a "solution" has been found. These surgeries can cause more harm than they aim to "fix". Our firm has handled cases involving brain and spinal injuries, so we know how damaging these can be.
Remember, though, that there are legitimate, medically sound reasons to perform all of these surgeries, and proving that yours was unnecessary can be a challenge. An experienced malpractice attorney from our firm can help.
We keep you informed, and protected
At our firm, we believe in justice and compensation for the victims of medical malpractice or negligence. Any unnecessary procedure performed, especially without informed consent, can wreak havoc on the well-being of the patient. If this has happened to you or a loved one, you need legal representation. Contact us for a free case evaluation.