Surgical negligence

Going into hospital for surgery can be daunting. You put your trust in the surgeons looking after you and expect them to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Most of the time, of course, surgical operations are completed without a hitch and the patient makes a full recovery as the vast majority of surgeons are excellent at their jobs.

However, avoidable mistakes do take place in surgery –so if you have suffered personal injury as a result of surgical negligence, you need to get specialist legal advice about the possibility of making a surgical medical negligence claim.

Surgical medical negligence claim – common causes

There are quite a few reasons why surgical negligence might be an issue – these can include:

• You are given surgery to which you have not consented

• A failure on the part of the surgeons to discuss the risks and repercussions of the surgery with you

• Complications during the surgery that could have been avoided

• A failure to carry out the proper tests or to act on the results of tests

• A failure to administer the right amount of anaesthetic

• Poor surgical technique that leads to the failure of the operation and/or harm to the patient

• Unexpected damage to tissue, nerves and muscles caused by the surgery

• Poor care after the operation

• Infections that arise as a result of the surgery

• Surgical instruments or other medical items being left inside the patient after surgery – see below

Proving medical negligence in a surgical procedure

Experiencing complications as a result of surgery can be very distressing and it’s important that such issues are handled properly. Surgical negligence can sometimes be difficult to prove – so getting the right legal advice from a specialist medical negligence solicitor is a must. There is, for example, a difference between a surgeon taking drastic action which causes unexpected complications but which was carried out because there was a genuine emergency with no alternative – and, on the other hand, a surgeon taking action that could be seen as negligent (e.g. if the emergency that prompted the action could have been avoided in the first place). It can sometimes be hard to prove the distinction – so you need to instruct a legal expert.

Medical Negligence Claims- items retained after surgery

Between 2000 and 2010, 186 medical negligence claims were pursued against medical professionals who had left surgical items in the bodies of their patients following operations.

This appalling statistic is particularly concerning when you consider that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) states that such mistakes should never occur. Indeed, given the protocols that exist to prevent such errors there can be no excuses for medical professionals who exhibit such negligence.

If you have suffered due to a surgical item retained in the body, you may be able to make a medical negligence compensation claim.

  • How can be surgical items be left in a patients?

When performing surgery, doctors and the various nurses who could also be supporting them are of course under an enormous amount of pressure. Many tools may be used during an operation from scalpels and scissors to clamps and sponges, and it can be difficult to note exactly what has been used in such high pressure situations.

Operations can often take hours, and during that time various pieces of hardware will be used by the surgical team in order to perform different parts of the surgery. Scissors, clamps, pins, needles, scalpels and swabs for example could all be involved in a single surgery and in the pressure of the operating theatre; doctors may not always remember what exactly has been used.

However, preventing surgical items being retained should still be straightforward for fully trained medical professionals. The most simple measure in place to prevent such mistakes is the requirement for medical to staff to count surgical items before starting the procedure and to count all items back in at the end. If something is thought to be missing, the patient must not be ‘sewn-up’ until it has been found.

  • Claiming Compensation For Items Retained After Surgery

Patients who have had a surgical item left in their body will in all likelihood become infected, therefore suffering terrible pain, vomiting and fever. More serious conditions could also arise as parts of the body become septic or organs are damaged by the size and shape of the object. Not only will patients be at tremendous risk but they will have to go through the often traumatic experience of a corrective surgical procedure.

Once patients are fit and able they should ask a specialist medical negligence solicitor about making a compensation claim. The medical professional’s failure to follow procedure and protect your safety means that you should be entitled to damages and it is only fair that you receive a full and fair award.

The injuries you sustain as a result of such an error mean that you may lose income due to time off work, struggle to care for your dependents and experience extreme discomfort. It is only right that you are compensated for this.

Your surgical medical negligence claim – contact us today

In medical negligence claims arising out of surgery, as in any other sort of medical or accident compensation claim, there are strict time limits. Delaying your claim could result in you losing your right to claim compensation completely. In your FREE first appointment, we will review your case and, if necessary, seek expert medical advice to provide further evidence in support of your claim.

  • Call us on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544
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