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Surgical Error Claims

Surgical Error Claims 

There are over 4 million operations carried out by the National Health Service every year. In the vast majority of cases there are no problems. But when there are the results can  be devastating. Medical negligence compensation claims for surgical errors are complex and here at SSB Law our medical negligence solicitors can guide you through the process of making a successful medical negligence compensation claim.

We all know that surgery carries a risk. It would be impossible to set out all of the risks associated with every surgical procedure. But here are some of the ones that our medical negligence compensation solicitors here at SSB Law think will assist you.

Wrong Patient Surgery

Everyone’s nightmare scenario, it might sound hugely improbable but has been known to happen. Not checking notes or facts properly prior to the operation, or miscommunication between surgeons or poor hospital protocol, previously there has been cases where the wrong patient has had surgery, which was planned for another individual.

Wrong Site Surgery

Perhaps more common that wrong patient surgery, the incidence of the wrong part of the body being operated on happens frequently every year. This can vary from someone having the wrong limb amputated, or a healthy kidney being removed, leaving the contaminated one inside the patient’s body. Examples like this show how important it is that the surgical team are fully informed at all times and that the patient’s notes need to be scrupulously detailed.

Foreign objects left in the patient’s body

Medical negligence compensation claims for instances where surgeons leave equipment such as scalpels, pads, gauze or clamps inside the bodies of their patients are not uncommon. This can cause extreme pain, severe infections and even death. Not forgetting the whole ordeal of the body having to be opened again to remove the offending object.

Incorrect dosage of anaesthesia

Anaesthesia is a very tricky area as the slightest miscalculation or mix-up can result in some serious damage leading to complex and large medical negligence compensation claims. If too much anaesthesia is controlled, if the patient is deprived of oxygen, this can lead to brain damage and potentially death. If an insufficient amount is given, then the patient runs the risk of waking up mid-procedure. Patients have been known to be paralysed but conscious during surgery – unable to cry out at the extreme pain they were suffering. Patients may also suffer allergies to particular types of anaesthetic which if unchecked can have devastating consequences.

Unnecessary damage to nerves, tissue or muscle

One tiny slip of a scalpel during an operation can be calamitous. Any unsolicited damages to your internal organs can lead to infection, severe pain, and in its worst cases, disability or death. Keyhole surgery offers specific risks in the area of medical negligence compensation claims as the surgeon cannot see everything as well as in open surgery.

Failure to efficiently attend to an open wound

Infections spring up all too easily if your surgical wound hasn’t been stitched, sealed, or dressed properly. Often in cases, the wound has split open due to so inefficient stitching. This is evidently a case of medical negligence. At SSB Law our medical negligence solicitors have seen many instances of infection due to poor aftercare of wounds.

Infections can also be associated with contaminated surgical apparatus

It goes without saying that hygiene is of the utmost importance in any surgery, as your body is most at risk when it is lying opened and exposed on an operating table. If the equipment being used on you at that key moment hasn’t been properly sterilised then infection is extremely likely. These are tricky cases to deal with but at SSB Law our medical negligence compensation solicitors know exactly what to look for.

Hospital acquired infections

Different to infections caused by poor aftercare of wounds or a lack of sterilisation of equipment, medical negligence compensation claims for hospital acquired infections are on the increase. It is often difficult for you to determine which category of infection you may have but here at SSB Law our medical negligence compensation solicitors can guide you through the process of bringing a successful medical negligence compensation claim.

In recent years there has been a lot in the news about infections and bugs being so prevalent in hospitals and there are a fair few bugs around.

• MRSA ( Meticillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) is a bacterial infection and the one that you’ve probably heard the most about. It’s resistant to a number of different antibiotics so it’s quite difficult to treat is generally carried on the skin or inside the nostrils and throat and it can lead to boils or impetigo. It may occur if there’s a break in the skin, and the infection could potentially be life-threatening as it could lead to blood poisoning or endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart). People most at risk of MRSA are those who have a recent surgical wound, burn or IV drip. Elderly patients and the more infirm are also quite vulnerable.

• C. difficile (Clostridium difficile) belongs to the same bacteria family that causes tetanus. Usually it lives in the large intestine. Approximately 5% of the adult population has the bacteria lurking in their system in very low numbers. If it should flare up, the infection will cause diarrhoea and, if not treated properly, possibly death.

• MSSA Meticillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus is very similar to MRSA and can be just as deadly.

• E-coli is generally harmless as it is a very common bacteria. However, it can prove more fatal in some instances as some of the more serious strains can cause dangerous food poisoning.

• Klebsiella is another form of common bacteria that can cause a number of illnesses including pneumonia and urinary tract infections. Klebsiella can be deadly and, like E-coli, there are signs that the bacteria is mutating into becoming resistant to commonly used antibiotics.

Failure to warn of the risks associated with a surgical procedure

Also known as informed consent, this area of medical negligence compensation claims is also very common. The Care Quality Commission was set up to make sure that patients receive the best of care possible. One aspect of this is that a patient must be fully informed of all the risks associated with any operation. If you’re due to undergo a procedure and you haven’t been informed of the risks, then your medical practitioner is in breach of the CQC guidelines. Even if it is decided that you may well have had surgery anyway the lack of informed consent may lead to a medical negligence compensation claim. For example it may be that the risks of keyhole surgery were not adequately explained and had you known you would have opted for open surgery.

 

Death

Any operation that results in the death of the patient is a horrendous situation to find yourself in. No one agrees to surgery expecting an outcome like that and it’s only natural for the family of the deceased to start asking questions. The Coroner will be involved in the process of holding an inquest into the cause of death and will hear evidence from the medical practitioners concerned. At SSB Law our medical negligence compensation solicitors can guide you through this process.

Examples of Surgical Errors

And finally, here are some other examples of surgical errors that crop up from time to time:

• Insulin overdoses resulting in death

• Failure to fix a problem during surgery

• Faulty medical equipment or products (think of the recent PIP breast implants scare)

• Inadequate aftercare resulting in blood clots, bed sores, or infection

• Excessive bleeding

• Air bubbles in the blood

• Mistaking of chest tubes and feeding tubes

At SSB Law we can help you to discover whether you have suffered from the effects of a surgical error medical negligence compensation claim and where things can be put right we can make that happen and in all cases we can ensure that you are properly compensated for the distress and pain that you have suffered and the ongoing care that you may need.

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