Hundreds of thousands of Australians put their faith in the hands of the country's medical professionals every year, with people consulting doctors and nurses on everything from simple check-ups to complex operations.
However, World Health Organisation figures show that as many as 16 per cent of all medical procedures don't go to plan, leaving thousands of Australians in a worse condition than when they entered the operating room.
In many cases, people who have suffered as a result of malpractice can file for medical negligence claims to ensure they are fairly compensated for what they have been through.
Recent examples highlight dangers of medical procedures
A recent episode of the television show A Current Affair illustrated the effects medical malpractice has on the people who are victims of it. According to a Channel 9 News recap of the show, even relatively straightforward procedures can have negative consequences if they are carried out incorrectly.
The first case the episode dealt with concerned a Queensland man who was set to undergo "routine bowel surgery". However, the professionals operating on the man neglected to position him correctly, resulting in permanent damage to his limbs.
According to the report, the man's arms were left hanging off the operating table for the full 10 hours it took doctors to complete the procedure. The victim told the television show it was this mistake that cost him the use of his arms.
"Basically they stretched and broke the nerves in the back of my neck and shoulders, which meant the signals weren't getting through to my arm muscles," he explained to the presenter.
Naturally, the error has had a drastic effect on the man's ability to live life comfortably, as he now requires regular assistance for what used to be everyday activities.
"I've always got to have somebody with me to do the simplest thing," he said.
The report also investigated a case where doctors incorrectly inserted a patient's breathing tube, meaning she was without oxygen for almost 10 minutes. The woman also detailed her case on A Current Affair.
"They actually put the breathing tube into my oesophagus instead of my trachea and obviously there was no oxygen going into my system," she said.
"The doctor said I could have died on the table."
In both cases, the victims pursued medical negligence claims and were successful.
Contact the lawyers at Gerard Malouf and Partners to find out if you have a case worth pursuing.