If an ER physician dropped a scalpel and cut me, is the physician negligent?

UPDATED: Aug 24, 2011

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If an ER physician dropped a scalpel and cut me, is the physician negligent?

I was seen in an emergency room for an infected abscess. After the physician cut open the abscess (under my breast) he dropped the scalpel into my stomach, cutting me. He had the scalpel and a syringe in his hand, at the time. I had a small cut that later developed a significant bruise. I have since developed a few small sores around the area. I am going today, to ensure that I do not have an infection due to this. I would just like to know whether or not this would be considered negligence, or an accident.

Asked on August 24, 2011 Idaho


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Negligence is a pretty large term and your success in suing this doctor for what you feel is negligence will depend on a number of factors. If the doctor dropped the scalpel and medical practice usually requires doctors to have assistants to help them with use of instruments (handling, holding, passing, giving) and a nurse was not used, then perhaps it may be negligent. Ultimately, if you have injuries, get them checked out, document all of the monies you paid toward this and any pain you feel and when. Then, contact an attorney who handles medical malpractice and see if this is something a lawyer would taken on as a case.

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