Visitor Question

Wrong sutures used in surgery…

Submitted By: Beth (Sherburne, NY)

I had TRAM Flap surgery (transverse rectus abdominus myocutaneous). The surgeon used absorbable sutures which opened up within 3 weeks of the surgery, resulting in a massive abdominal hernia. Is the surgeon’s use of the wrong sutures malpractice? What can be done about this?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Beth,

Before concluding medical malpractice occurred it’s essential to know whether or not the absorbable sutures were the type of sutures normally used in your type of surgery. It’s also important to know if your case presented any other medical issues which may have contributed to the sutures opening, or if you might have contributed to the sutures opening by not following doctor’s orders concerning rest.

Absorbable sutures are made using catgut as well as synthetic materials include the original catgut as well as the newer synthetics polyglycolic acid, polylactic acid, polydioxanone, and caprolactone.

They catgut and synthetic sutures are broken down by your body by a process known as hydrolysis. Depending on your condition, your sutures should have disintegrated between ten days to eight weeks after surgery. Sometimes absorbable sutures are rejected by the body causing pain and discomfort.

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor “deviates from the medical standard of care in the medical community, and as a result a patient is unduly harmed or injured.”

What this means is if the sutures used were the type recognized and used by other doctors in the State of New York, and the surgery to sew in the sutures was performed according to the same standards, then medical malpractice likely did not occur.

To prove malpractice occurred you will need evidence the doctor deviated from proper surgical procedures, including using the wrong sutures. Only an experienced medical malpractice personal injury attorney can tell if you are a legitimate victim of malpractice. You cannot handle a malpractice claim by yourself.

Gather copies of your medical records and medical bills and seek out the advice and counsel of several experienced attorneys. Most will not charge you for an initial office consultation.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 29, 2013

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