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A NY Medical Malpractice Lawyer shares his view of the risks of laparoscopic surgery.

Laparoscopy is a way for surgeons to perform surgery using "minimally invasive" tools.

"Old school" is when the surgeon takes a scalpel and cuts open your belly. There are advantages to performing surgery this way. One advantage is the speed by which the surgeon can accomplish the surgical procedure- especially in experienced hands.

With laparoscopic surgery, small incisions are made on the belly. The incision allows the surgeon to insert a small video camera to allow them to visualize the internal organs. The other 'port' is for the surgical instruments.

Advantages of laparoscopic surgery include less outward trauma to the body, shorter healing time, less time spent in the hospital and usually, a speedier recovery compared to an open, 'old school' style surgery where you are cut open with a scalpel.

However, there are risks to this type of surgery.

Let me share with you some of the risks and complications I see in my law practice.

  • RISK OF PERFORATING THE AORTA
  • RISK OF PERFORATING AN ARTERY
  • RISK OF PERFORATING THE BOWEL

These are "known" risks that can occur with any type of surgery and are not limited to laparoscopic surgery.

From my viewpoint, when a patient comes to me and tells me about a complication she suffered during a laparoscopic gyn sugery, I always need to ask the following question:

"Did the surgeon recognize the problem at the time of surgery?"

If the answer is "Yes," then there's a good chance the injury was corrected DURING surgery.

If the answer is "No," then there's a good chance you will have needed additional surgery at a later date to fix the problem...assuming you survived.

The reality is that the doctors and their attorneys often use the defense of "This is a known, recognized risk of the procedure," in order to avoid liability or responsibility for your injuries. In some cases, this is a valid defense.

In other cases, where there is a delay in diagnosis, this is where the surgeon may be responsible.

It is the "Failure to diagnose" an injury that can often lead to a "Departure from good and accepted medical practice" that leads to further injury.