There is no such thing as “minor” or “harmless” medical malpractice. In all cases, a hospital, doctor or other health care professional injures a patient through a negligent act or omission.

Although there are many kinds of medical malpractice, the most common forms include:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Failure to diagnose or delayed diagnosis
  • Medication errors (improper medicine or dose)
  • Failure to treat patient
  • Birth injuries

Among the most harmful types of medical malpractice are surgical errors. These are preventable mistakes in surgery. While most surgical errors are the result of poor pre-surgery planning or inadequate work processes or procedures, some simply are due to a surgeon’s incompetence.

Some examples of surgical errors include:

  • Wrong-site surgery: this is when a physician operates on the wrong knee, kidney, hip, etc.
  • Operating on the wrong patient: the result of patient-verification errors that can lead to removal of healthy organs
  • Foreign objects left behind: a surgeon or surgery team leaves sponges, scalpels or other tools in a patient’s body
  • Anesthesia errors: too much can reduce oxygen to the brain and cause irreparable damage or death; too little can allow a patient to wake during the operation
  • Nerve damage: often caused by inexact incisions by surgeon or surgery team

Unfortunately, these preventable errors are often due to miscommunication between physicians and nurses, or between doctors. The communication failures often involve a patient’s history, medications or current medical issues and conditions.

Surgical errors can also be the result of:

  • Doctor or staff fatigue
  • An impaired or intoxicated surgeon
  • Surgeon incompetence
  • Improper instrument sterilization that leads to infection

In Connecticut, a medical malpractice claim must generally be filed within two years of the doctor’s negligent act. However, if the injury to the patient isn’t evident at the time of that act, a patient can file a claim within two years of the discovery of the injury or the date by which the injury should have been reasonably discovered. Claims must also be filed within three years of the negligent act.

These are complicated matters with complex rules and legal standards. Contact a North Haven attorney who knows Connecticut law and the courts to discuss your case or your loved one’s case.