John Singleton Ken Gibson
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Virginia Surgical Malpractice Attorneys

When medical professionals do wrong, we seek to make it right

Virginia law defines medical malpractice as “any tort action or breach of contract action for personal injuries or wrongful death,” resulting from healthcare services provided to a patient.

A lawyer representing a patient injured by a medical professional’s negligent care must prove that the professional violated the standard of medical care established for all medical professionals in Virginia, and that the violation of this standard was the direct cause of the patient’s injury or death.

One outcome of medical malpractice cases may be a judgment following a successful trial verdict. In most trials, a jury determines the compensation to be awarded to the injured patient, and the jury’s award is the payment received by the injured patient or his family.

Another outcome may be a settlement, which is an agreement by both sides to drop the claim in exchange for money paid to the patient.

Approximately 4,000 of the medical malpractice claims brought each year in the United States are based on errors in surgery, resulting in more than $1 billion in payouts annually.

Notably, approximately 3 percent of all people admitted to hospitals will experience some type of medical error. If you’re one of the people who has, we at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys are sympathetic to your suffering. If you need us to step up to defend you, we’re here to do that.

What types of surgeries are there?

The American College of Surgeons reports 14 surgical specialties:

  • Cardiothoracic (heart and chest)
  • Colorectal (digestive and waste organs)
  • General (everything)
  • Gynecology & obstetrics (reproductive systems)
  • Gynecologic oncology (female-specific cancer)
  • Neurological (brain and nervous system)
  • Ophthalmic (eyes)
  • Oral & maxillofacial (mouth and jaw areas)
  • Orthopedic (bones)
  • Otorhinolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat)
  • Pediatric (children)
  • Plastic (appearance)
  • Urology (urinary system)
  • Vascular (veins)

When something goes wrong with your body, there’s a specialized surgeon to address the issue.

What things can go wrong during surgery?

A study going back 20 years shows that approximately 10,000 very serious surgical malpractice incidents happened during that time, including:

  • Objects like a towel or a sponge were left inside a patient’s body
  • Surgeon performed the wrong procedure on a patient
  • Operation was conducted on the wrong part of a patient’s body
  • Nerve damage
  • Too much bleeding
  • Serious infection
  • Bad reactions to drugs
  • Lingering pain in the area, called Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

What other common surgical medical malpractice cases do we see?

  • Punctured bowel
  • Severed nerves
  • Gallbladder surgery errors
  • Childbirth injuries
  • Organ puncture
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Infection due to surgical errors

Who’s messing up?

A recent study in New England’s Journal of Medicine reported that most malpractice claims are filed against a small number of doctors. In fact, about 1 percent of doctors accounted for 32 percent of all paid claims.

The study explained that doctors with two paid malpractice claims already are twice as likely to have another claim, and those with three paid claims are roughly three times more likely.

These doctors are usually performing neurosurgery, general, plastic, and orthopedic surgery, as well as gynecology & obstetrics. Overall, those in surgical specialties were twice as likely to face malpractice claims compared with those practicing internal medicine.

What can you do?

In Virginia, the time limit to file a medical malpractice claim begins on the date of your surgery/care and NOT on the day you discover the error. Sometimes you do not know anything is wrong until several weeks after treatment. The time limit still began to run the day of the treatment and not the day of discovery. This rule is different in other states so do not be fooled.

Medical malpractice claims are some of the most expensive and most complicated cases to handle. Each side will have several experts to testify and charge large fees for their work. Hospitals and doctors, through their insurance companies, fight aggressively and will use their deep pockets to scare off claims. To win a medical malpractice case, we have to prove the doctor deviated from the standard of care in this practice area (and generally, in this geographic area) and that your claim is not simply a bad result from an otherwise proper procedure OR one of the known risks of the procedure that the doctor warned you might happen.

Surgical mistakes and errors can lead to severe injuries, dangerous conditions, and even death.

We at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys wish we didn’t see any medical malpractice cases because they are typically heartbreaking. But when mistakes happen, we believe that the medical professionals who made them should be held responsible. That’s why we fight for victims of medical malpractice.

If you believe that you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, talk to an experienced Virginia malpractice lawyer. GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys will pursue justice on your behalf. Contact us today at (804) 413-6777 for a free consultation.

Additional Information

Call our Eastern Virginia office today for a free consultation
at (804) 413-6777 or toll free (855) 781-6777.

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Community service

Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

  • Safety Education
    John speaks at Gloucester’s Senior Safety Fair, reviewing key legal documents.
  • Annual Coat Drive
    During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
  • Hands-on Service
    John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
  • Supporting Local Schools
    The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.
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