Few Delaware residents go into an operation without at least some concerns that something could go wrong, because every procedure has risks. In some cases, those concerns are founded, and the patient does not survive the surgery. The question then becomes whether surgical errors led to the patient’s death. If there is evidence that the surgeon made a mistake, a wrongful death claim might be appropriate.
Only certain individuals can file such a claim. An heir or beneficiary named in the decedent’s will has the right to file. In most cases, this means parents, spouses or children, but could include other close family members under certain circumstances. If a grandparent or grandparents are the legal guardians of the patient’s minor children, they could file the lawsuit.
Before a claim can be filed, it will need to be determined whether the elements of a wrongful death claim are present. Meeting the first criteria in a surgical setting is often easy since the surgeon owed a duty of care to the patient. Whether the surgeon made an error could be the more challenging element to prove and will more than likely require the opinion of another surgeon who performs or is intimately familiar with the same types of surgeries. It will need to be shown that the surgeon in the deceased patient’s operation breached the medical standard of care, and that the mistake was the proximate cause of death.
Wrongful death claims involving surgical errors could quickly become complex. It would be beneficial to enlist the advice and assistance of a Delaware attorney who regularly practices in this area of the law. Successfully proving that a loved one failed to receive the appropriate standard of care could result in an award of damages and perhaps some sense of justice for surviving family members.
Source: bsfdea.com, “What Constitutes A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?“, Accessed on Dec. 11, 2016