Clinical errors, and fatalities resulting from laparoscopy, commonly known as keyhole surgery, are becoming increasingly frequent in different surgical fields, as this procedure, which has more complications than open surgery, becomes more widespread. In addition to this, Da Vinci robotic surgery is a non-standard form of laparoscopy, and its use may also result in clinical failings. Keyhole surgery involves the use of a tiny camera which is inserted into the patient's body, so that the surgeon can perform the operation via watching a real time video on a monitor whilst using high tech surgical tool manipulation. If you have suffered injury as a result of a keyhole procedure call our laparoscopy negligence solicitors without delay.
A medical negligence compensation claim solicitor deals with applications for damages against healthcare professionals for personal injury and loss caused as a result of erroneous clinical treatment or late diagnosis. It is to your advantage, in order to preserve your legal right to compensation, to make contact with a medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible after the event that caused the injury.
Laparoscopy has changed the face of surgical procedures. For example, few gallbladder surgeries are done without using laparoscopy and there are laparoscopic surgeries for uterine, fallopian tube, ovarian and stomach surgeries. By definition, laparoscopic surgeries are those that involve the abdominal and pelvic areas. Other related surgeries, such as arthroscopy involve slightly different machines but basically the same technology. Each involves a light source, a camera and tools that do different things inside the tissues.
The technique used in keyhole surgery necessitates initial 'blind' surgical incisions into areas of the patient's body, so that a camera and attached cable can be inserted, followed by later insertion of tiny instruments through another incision which can manipulate, burn and cut the body's tissue. These procedures all present a risk. A slight lack of precision by the surgeon can result in extremely serious consequences for the patient. Further, if a patient's body has irregular anatomy, or is not typical, then the odds of serious issues occurring are increased.
Should a surgeon be derelict in their duty and fail to carry out initial insertion according to well established methods and principles and instead employs other methods which are not in line with regular protocols, then their actions may be considered to be negligent Which can lead to legal action for damages by laparoscopy negligence solicitors.
Laparoscopic surgeries are considered to be preferable in many circumstances because they leave smaller scars and the recovery time is less. These are more difficult surgeries to do, however, and you have to have a doctor trained in laparoscopic surgery in order to have the fewest chances of errors. Even so, well trained doctors in laparoscopic surgery do make mistakes.
Because laparoscopic surgery takes longer to do, there is a greater than average risk of anaesthetic mistakes. There can be too much anaesthesia given, resulting in breathing problems and prolonged ventilation. There have been deaths due to anaesthetic problems. There can also be under-anaesthesia, so that the patient suffers pain and suffering as a result of a lack of proper anaesthesia.
Peritonitis is when there is a bacterial infection in the intestinal cavity. It is a serious infection, often leading to hypotension, cardiovascular collapse and death if not treated early enough. The treatment is to support the patient and to kill the infection with antibiotics. It sometimes takes several weeks of antibiotics to take care of the infection.
There can be severe bleeding complications with laparoscopic surgery. Because the doctor doesn't have the advantage of the full field of view, arteries and veins can be nicked, resulting in severe bleeding, sometimes that which is not noticed right away. The patient can become anemic and hypotensive, and can require a second, open surgery to correct the bleeding complication. Bleeding complications can happen with any type of laparoscopic surgery and can rarely be repaired without doing a more complicated “open” surgery.
Infection can occur with laparoscopic surgery because the laparoscope can introduce bacteria into the peritoneal space without having to even puncture the colon or other viscus. Infections can happen with gram positive or gram negative organisms and can lead to prolonged use of antibiotics to clear the infection.
Patients who have a laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication or surgery to correct gastroesophageal reflux disease can suffer from a problem with a perforated oesophagus or stomach. The first needle stick in this procedure is considered a 'blind stitch' because the doctor is not able to see where he or she is taking the stitch. It can result in perforation and secondary peritonitis.
There can be a careless nick of the uterus, fallopian tube or ovary, resulting in unnecessary damage to these organs. In some cases, the damage is irreparable, resulting in removal of the organs that were damaged by the laparoscope. Laparoscopic surgery does not often offer a wide view of the organs to be looked at by the operation so that it is too easy to nick something, including an artery or vein and to cause complications that can't be repaired without open surgery.
There is often a problem when doing laparoscopic bariatric surgery. This involves doing stomach stapling or LapBand surgery to the stomach area. In a great deal of cases, there is difficulty in getting through all the fat these people have on their abdomens and maneuvering the laparoscope becomes more cumbersome. The stomach can be perforated and there can be serious infection that requires open repair and clearing out of abdominal abscesses that can build up when the infection becomes severe.
Our medical negligence solicitors have the necessary experience and expertise to ensure you receive the best possible settlement for a viable case. As there is a three-year time limit on making a claim for compensation, we recommend that you call a laparoscopy negligence solicitors right away, or make an appointment for an initial consultation. One of our laparoscopy medical negligence solicitors will be able to tell you if you have a valid case to make a claim, and the kind of financial settlement you can hope to receive. There is no charge for the initial phone or in person consultation, or obligation to instruct us.
Our solicitors offer free impartial advice on clinical claims. In most cases our solicitors are able to deal with all of the legal work at no cost to you. If you would like free initial advice with no further obligation use the helpline or email our offices and a specialist lawyer will tell you how best to proceed to protect your right to claim compensation for personal injury. If after speaking to us you decide not to take matters further then that is your right and we will not pursue you to proceed.
What is Laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is a surgical diagnostic procedure, which is minimally invasive. Small incisions or cuts are made in the abdomen and an instrument called laparoscope is introduced inside to visualize the organs in the abdomen and pelvis. While this procedure is done mainly to examine the organs inside the abdomen, with the help of the laparoscope, many surgeries can be performed. Laparoscope assisted surgical intervention is called laparoscopic surgery.
How does laparoscope work?
Laparoscope is specialized instrument with a thin long tube. It has a high intensity light which enables visualization. In front of the tube, there is a high resolution camera. Laparoscope is introduced to the abdominal cavity through the cut made in the abdominal wall. The gynaecologist or surgeon moves it accordingly through the abdominal cavity. The camera picks up the images which can be directly visualized from the video monitor.
The main abdominal organs which can be visualized through laparoscopy are liver, pancreas, gall bladder, appendix, small intestines, colon, stomach and spleen. The pelvic organs which can be visualized are rectum, bladder and female reproductive organs such as ovaries and uterus.
Since the laparoscope enables direct visualization, it can be used to perform small surgeries like appendicectomy (removal of appendix), gastrointestinal bypass, sterilization, removal of cysts or small tumours, removal of gall bladder etc. If there are suspicious lesions, laparoscopy enables the doctor to get biopsy samples, which helps in the diagnosis of cancerous or premalignant conditions.
Is laparoscopy really necessary?
Although Ultra sound scan, CT scan or MRI scan are used as imaging techniques to diagnose many abdominal conditions, sometimes the information may be inadequate because they give only a 2D view. For proper and complete diagnosis, obtaining a tissue sample by a biopsy is necessary. Open surgery is too risky as it has many possible complications. Since laparoscopy is minimally invasive, it is ideal for obtaining biopsies directly from the suspicious site.
Laparoscopy can detect masses or tumours arising from the abdominal or pelvic organs. It enables the doctor to detect possible cancers and to which degree it has spread, liver, kidney diseases, organ enlargements, ascites (fluid in the abdominal cavity and if certain treatment are used prior to laparoscopy, it can detect the effectiveness of it by comparing the images. So laparoscopy is ideal for both diagnosis and treatment by immediate intervention for many abdominal and pelvic conditions.
How do you prepare a patient for laparoscopy?
The doctor should take a complete history from the patient regarding symptoms, family history and drugs the patient is on.
If the patient is on anticoagulants (blood thinners), NSAIDs like aspirin, vitamin K, their dose may be adjusted or stopped 3 days prior.
The doctor should be informed whether you are pregnant.
Certain investigations will be done prior to the procedure such as blood tests including FBC, FBS, Serum creatinine, urine analysis, ECG (electro-cardiogram), chest x ray.
Once the test results are available, the anaesthetist assesses the patient regarding the risk for general anaesthesia.
The surgeon or the gynaecologist should have an idea of what to examine, what intervention to be performed while doing laparoscopy. Along with the test results, the doctor assesses the patient's risks prior to the procedure and having prior understanding helps to perform the laparoscopy effectively.
Patient is informed and explained all the benefits and risks of laparoscopy. Written consent should be taken prior to the procedure.
Laparoscopy can be performed either as outpatient basis or if the patient is ill, in hospital as an inward patient.
What are the complications of laparoscopy?
Although laparoscopy is a specialized procedure which provides immense benefit in view of diagnosis and treatment of many abdominal and pelvic conditions, it has a few drawbacks.
Bleeding - this can occur during or immediately after the procedure especially if there are wide spread, aggressive or highly vascular lesions.
Possibility of infection - Although it is uncommon because of sterilization and disinfection techniques, infection can occur as it is an invasive procedure.
Damage to abdominal and pelvic organs - while moving the tube organs can get damaged and rarely perforate.
In addition there can be complications from general anaesthesia or formation of blood clots which can block blood vessels in legs and lungs which can be life threatening.
Although these risks are rare, it is a must to explain them carefully to the patient. In case things go wrong, the patient and family knows that it is a possible complication and once they are aware, there won't be any legal issues or suing later.
When to seek help following a laparoscopy?
If there are signs of infection like high fever with chills, abdominal pain which worsens with time, vomiting, dizziness and difficulty in breathing or if there is redness, swelling, bleeding or oozing of pus from the site of the incision. The patient should be informed to seek help immediately if complications arise.
If the patient has had abdominal surgeries before, there can be adhesions formed inside. This will prolong laparoscopy, possibility of bleeding and risk of organ damage increases.
What is medical negligence and what is the possibility of causing Medical negligence during laparoscopy?
Medical negligence is a legal cause of action that occurs when a health care professional deviates from standards from his/ her profession, causing harm or injury to the patient.
Medical negligence can occur if the risks and complications of the procedure are not explained to the patient and if written consent is not taken.
Perforation of organs during the procedure is a possibility if the surgeon is not careful, especially if there are adhesions inside the abdominal cavity.
Leaving surgical objects, pieces of gauze inside the abdomen before closure can lead to serious infection.
Infections can occur if proper sterilizing and disinfection techniques are not followed.
If adequate biopsy samples are not taken accordingly.
Rarely death can occur due to formation of blood clots and later blocking of blood vessels in the lungs or due to internal bleeding especially if the patient was on aspirin or any other anticoagulant medication.
Since laparoscopy is considered a safe and minimally invasive procedure, sudden death can cause alarm and later suing for medical negligence.