Our surgery negligence solicitors deal with compensation for medical errors and offer the no win no fee* scheme for a viable case. This means that once you have instructed us, we can get started on the legal procedure to make a compensation claim on your behalf, to achieve the maximum possible financial reward for you. You will not be asked to pay our charges as the claim proceeds.
Surgery is a big event in a persons life. There is the complete trust in a surgeon to allow yourself to be anesthetized and have the surgeon cut into you. Most of the time, surgery goes well and you are made better as a result. There are a few times, however, when the surgery doesnt go well and the patient is left worse off as a result. It is those times when the quality of the surgeon and his or her surgical expertise may be questioned.
Surgeons who have performed operations in an incompetent and negligent manner, have been found to: cause various types of accidental injuries; conduct operations in an incorrect body region, for example, in the case of breast cancer, removing the wrong breast; removing organs or tissue which is healthy, and should not be excised; and treating wounds incorrectly.
This kind of surgery negligence can lead to serious consequences, and in some cases, may have a detrimental impact on the rest of the patient's life. When there is absolute proof of negligence, the surgeon's insurance company will settle the claim however an early admission of negligence is rare. The award will incorporate financial losses, such as the inability to work, medical expenses for further surgery to help ameliorate the damage (our firm works to get your private treatment); and compensation for pain and suffering that has resulted. If the surgery medical negligence resulted in the patient's death, then the award is given to dependents.
You need to be mindful of the fact that there is a big difference between unsuccessful surgery and negligent surgery. Not all surgery, even when carried out properly, is successful and failure does not necessarily imply negligence.
In order to be classed as negligent, a surgeon must be shown to have exhibited a lower level of ability compared to the accepted standard of other surgeons who work in the same field. Moreover, should the surgeon have the choice of two or more different surgery options, and picks the wrong one, then they will be exonerated from any negligence claims as long as there is a significant group of responsible surgeons who would have made the same decision. This is regardless of the fact that an alternative option could have resulted in more success, with the provision that the surgery has to meet logical analysis.
Infection is another common complication of surgery. If the surgeon fails to use strict antiseptic technique in the surgery and introduces bacteria into the surgical wound, the patient can suffer from an untoward infection. The same thing can happen in an abdominal surgery when the doctor punctures the bowel or stomach. Bacteria from that milieu can get into the sterile abdominal cavity and cause severe peritonitis and septicemia, which can be serious and fatal in high risk patients. It is an avoidable complication in most cases and has serious results if not treated appropriately. It can result in the use of antibiotics after surgery and a possible second surgery to clean out abdominal abscesses.
The surgery can leave the patient with more pain than they had before the surgery. This is especially common in orthopedic surgeries such as spine surgery. The surgeon ideally does the surgery to alleviate the patients pain and suffering. When the surgery is done, there is often a period of time of increased pain that is not out of the ordinary. After about a month, however, the pain should be less than it was before the surgery took place. If it is not, then there is something wrong with the surgery and the surgeon may have done unnecessary surgery or surgery that was botched to the point of increasing the patients pain.
An uncommon cause of surgical mistakes is the leaving of an instrument or a surgical sponge inside the patient. This is especially true of abdominal surgeries when instruments are used to increase the visibility of the surgical field or to clamp off blood vessels that were cut during the surgery. Surgical sponges are used for the same reason. If a proper surgical sponge count is not done at the end of the surgery, the sponge can cause an area of infection and pain to occur in the affected area. The same is true if the patient has an instrument left in the body. The end result is increased pain after surgery and the possibility of infection. At the very least, a second surgery needs to be done in order to get the offending object out of the body.
Anesthesia complications can also occur. The patient can be allergic to the anaesthetic or can suffer from too much or too little anaesthetic. This can be dangerous to the patient or can cause unnecessary pain and suffering due to pain felt during the surgery.
The majority of negligence claims that our cosmetic surgery solicitors deal with, relate to patients who are dissatisfied with face lifts, facial surgery and breast implant surgery. In addition to this, a high percentage of claims come about due to insufficient post-surgery care, which can lead to unsightly scarring and infection.
We recommend you call our surgery medical negligence solicitors right away to discuss any potential compensation claim that you may have - be it a general medical case or plastic surgery. In both instances, there is a time limit of three years, in which a claim can be made. There is no charge or obligation to have an in-depth discussion with one of our surgery negligence solicitors, who will be able to give you an idea of the type of financial award you could achieve with a viable claim.
Our specialist medical negligence solicitors offer free impartial advice on clinical compensation 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 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 thereafter pursue you to proceed.
What is surgery?
Surgery is a branch of medicine, which treats injuries, diseases and other disorders by operation manually or using instruments to help improve bodily functions, improve appearance or to repair injured parts of the body. Surgery in Latin means 'Hand work'. Surgery has been there even in ancient civilizations such as Greece, China, India and Egypt. Even those days leg amputations, removal of tumours and treating abscesses by incision and drainage were done. The doctor who performs surgery is called a surgeon. The surgeon is assisted by the surgical team that consists of the surgeons assistant, anaesthetist, surgical nurse and surgical technologist.
What are the types of surgical procedures?
Surgeries are categorized by the type of procedure, timing of surgery, the degree of invasiveness, the body part or system involved and use of specialized instruments. They are;
'Therapeutic surgery' Surgery which is done to treat an already diagnosed condition.
Ex: Removal of a fibroid by Myomectomy
'Exploratory surgery' This is done to confirm a diagnosis.
Ex: Exploratory laparotomy is done to diagnose a tumour to determine the spread within the abdomen.
'Cosmetic surgery' This is done to improve the appearance of a normal body part.
Ex: Nose job or nose reconstruction to improve how your nose looks
'Amputation' cutting off a limb or a digit
'Resection' Removal of an internal organ or a body part
Ex: Gall bladder removal
'Elective surgery' This is done after giving a date or prior planning of the procedure as the condition is not life threatening and can wait.
'Emergency surgery' It is done in an emergency and promptly to save a life, a limb or functional capacity of the patient.
Ex: Apendicectomy (Removal of appendix in acute appendicitis)
'Surgical transplant' Replacement of an organ or a body part with another, taken from another human.
Ex: Kidney transplant
'Surgeries' done to different organ systems
Ex: Surgeries done on heart is called cardiac surgery, surgeries done to bone is called orthopaedic surgery
'minimally invasive surgeries' Using small incisions or cuts in the skin/ abdominal wall to insert instruments and perform surgeries.
Ex: Laparoscopic surgery where the surgeon uses a laparoscope to perform the surgery.
'Open surgery' The incision is large as need to access the area well
'LASER surgery' LASER is using an intense beam of light to surgically cut and perform surgeries.
'Robotic surgery' This is done by using a surgical robot to control instruments directed by the surgeon.
'Microsurgery' An operating microscope is used by the surgeon to magnify small structures while performing surgery.
Surgeries can be done in hospital as inpatients or as outpatient basis. They are performed in operating theatres using various types of surgical instruments. Aseptic technique is the main principal behind any surgery, which means the surgery is performed under sterile conditions, free from disease causing microorganisms to prevent infection.
No matter what the surgery is or where it is performed, there are some preparations which should be done prior to surgery.
How do you prepare a patient for surgery?
A proper history should be taken from the patient including the medication he or she takes such as aspirin or any other anticoagulant (blood thinners) which should be stopped or modified before any surgery. Certain blood tests, urine analysis, electro cardiogram and echo cardiogram to assess the heart, Chest X Ray are done to assess fitness for anaesthesia. Anaesthetist decides which type of anaesthesia should be given.
The surgeon should explain and educate the patient regarding the surgery, why it is done, the benefits as well as the risks and complications during and after the surgery. Once explained, written consent should be obtained from the patient. Patient should be informed what type of medication to be taken before the surgery and the number of hours to keep fasting.
What are the possibilities of medical negligence which can occur during surgical procedures?
Medical negligence is substandard care that has been provided to a patient by a medical professional, which has caused direct injury or an existing condition to worsen because of that intervention. There are many things which can occur that comes under medical negligence, if the surgeon or anyone in the surgical team is not careful.
'Issues with misdiagnosis' A surgical condition may be completely missed or end up getting undiagnosed. The diagnosis which was made may be completely wrong. This can be life threatening because misdiagnosis or missing a condition may provide the patient improper treatment, wrong surgery or fail to treat the condition at all.
Ex: Missing appendicitis (Inflammation of appendix) can lead to rupture and causing infection to spread may lead to death, where as a simple appendicectomy would have saved the patient.
'Mistakes' can occur before, during and after surgical procedures.
1. Performing wrong surgery or operating the wrong body part - wrong limb can be amputated by mistake which is purely medical negligence as ultimately the patient may lose both limbs.
2. Leaving foreign objects inside the body Ex: There are incidences where pieces of gauze or even sharps have found to be inside a patient after closure, which has led to serious infection.
3. Perforating organs - If the surgeon is not careful, this is a serious type of medical negligence which can occur.
4. Infections can occur if proper sterilization and disinfection procedures are not adhered to. The patient can later present with high fever, chills and oozing of pus from the surgical site.
5. Scarring and disfigurement can occur following surgery especially in those prone to keloids (raised large scars).
Negligence can also occur when writing prescriptions for postoperative medications. The wrong drug, dose and frequency as well as route of administration may be wrongly written, especially if it was written in a hurry.
If the patient was not explained all the risks and possible complications following surgery, if something goes wrong, the surgeon is at fault. There may be legal consequences. If a complication occurs it is the duty of the surgeon to explain why and how it occurred. If necessary apologize. However if the patient or the family knew, and they were given proper education and advice, there will not be unnecessary suing.