Operation Negligence And Never Event Claims Guide

By Jo Anderson. Updated 13th September 2023. Welcome to our guide to claiming never event compensation for an operation gone wrong. In it, we cover what you may need to know about negligent operation claims, including what could be included in surgical negligence claims and how long you could have to make a failed operation claim.

Have you been harmed by negligence in surgery? Whether you were having elective surgery or emergency operation, care should be taken by medical professionals to ensure the treatment you receive is safe and effective.

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Operation negligence compensation claims guide

If you have been preventable harmed by surgical care that has fallen below the minimum standard expected, this could be classed as medical negligence, and if you have been avoidably harmed by such negligence you could consider making a claim for compensation.

Here at Accident Claims UK, we could help with a variety of operation negligence claims and never event compensation, and this guide has been produced not only to help you understand making claims of this nature but also to show you how much compensation you could receive for your injuries. If you are ready to begin a claim right away, or you would like to benefit from a free, no-obligation eligibility check on your case, then please do not hesitate to call us on 0800 073 8801.

Select A Section

  1. What Is Negligence During An Operation?
  2. What Are Never Events In Operations?
  3. General Surgical And Operation Negligence
  4. Unnecessary Operations
  5. Operations Which Were Unsuccessful Due To Negligence
  6. Operation Negligence Compensation Payouts
  7. Special Damages In Operation Negligence Claims
  8. No Win No Fee Operation Negligence Claims
  9. Essential References Relating To Surgical Negligence Claims

What Is Negligence During An Operation?

Commonly referred to as surgical negligence operation negligence claims could come about due to the negligence of the surgical professionals undertaking your care. Whether you have undergone routine or emergency surgery in an NHS or private setting, medical professionals providing care to you have a duty to provide a safe, effective service. If they fail to do so due to negligence and you suffer harm that could have been avoided, you could claim compensation for your injuries.

Types Of Operation Negligence

There are a variety of surgical errors that could be classed as operation negligence. Some common surgical negligence incidents could include:

  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Foreign objects left inside a patient (swabs or surgical instruments, for example)
  • Wrong-site surgery
  • Surgical infection
  • Anaesthetic mistake
  • Cosmetic surgery negligence
  • C-section operation negligence
  • Failure to get informed consent

If you believe you have suffered medical malpractice in surgery that has caused you harm in any way, we could offer you a free assessment of your case to see if you could have a valid claim.

What Are Never Events In Operations?

A surgical never event is something that should not happen in surgery. They are considered preventable occurrences when the proper safety recommendations or national guidance has been followed properly. If you experience a surgical never event, it should be investigated through the Serious Incident Framework. Included on the NHS’ Never Event List are incidents such as:

  • Wrong-site surgery
  • Retention of foreign objects (objects left inside a patient)
  • Medication being administered via the wrong route
  • Medication being administered in error (strong potassium)
  • Wrong implants
  • Connection of a patient requiring oxygen to an air flowmeter when unintentional
  • Wrong prosthesis
  • Transfusion of ABO-incompatible blood components or organs

If you or a loved one have been told that you suffered an injury because of a never event, you could be entitled to claim compensation.  Never event claims are possible against hospitals, medical professionals or NHS trusts.

General Surgical And Operation Negligence

General operation negligence could occur in a number of settings and in a number of different ways. Some ways in which an operation could go wrong could include:

  • When procedural errors occur – If a surgeon or part of the surgical team fails to follow the procedures, this could lead to something going wrong during general surgery.
  • Anaesthetic error – If an anaesthetic is administered in too low a dose, then this could cause the patient to suffer pain during the operation. If too high a dose of anaesthetic is administered, this could cause overdose, which could lead to the patient suffering breathing difficulties or other complications.
  • Wrong operation or wrong body part operated on – If there are mistakes with identifying the correct site of the surgery, or identifying the correct operation, this could cause you to undergo a different surgery than you needed.

These are just a few ways in which general surgery could go wrong due to negligence. If you have suffered any type of surgical negligence that has caused you to suffer avoidable harm, you may be entitled to claim for compensation. Accident Claims UK could help with most types of surgical negligence claims.

Unnecessary Operations

Many of us would take a surgeon at their word if they told us we needed surgery. If you have undergone an operation you did not need, due to misdiagnosis or the surgeon did not discuss other non-surgical treatment alternatives, or because the surgeon carried out a partial procedure when a full one would have been appropriate, then you may be able to make operation negligence claims for unnecessary surgery.

One case where a surgeon performed unnecessary procedures that led to him being convicted of unlawful wounding, and compensation being awarded to some of his victims, was that of Ian Paterson. The surgeon’s activities prompted an inquiry into how he was able to carry out unnecessary procedures on many people some of whom he convinced had cancer that required removal. The High Court ruled that £37m in compensation should be paid out to around 750 victims of the surgeon.

Operations Which Were Unsuccessful Due To Negligence

Operation negligence claims could also result from operations that were unsuccessful due to negligence. This could be for a number of reasons, including:

  • Insufficient or inadequate stitching leading to wounds reopening
  • Wrong-site surgeries
  • Damaging organs not related to the operation
  • Leaving foreign objects in the body – this is another form of never event

These incidents could lead to a patient requiring further surgery to remedy the issues caused by negligent surgery. This could not only cause physical problems but could also lead to emotional/mental trauma too.

Operation Negligence Compensation Payouts

We understand that you may want to get some idea of the compensation you could receive for the medical negligence you have suffered. While you might have sought out a medical negligence or personal injury claims calculator to give you some insight as to how much you could claim, the figures you would get would not be wholly accurate.

This is because each clinical negligence claim is assessed on its own specific circumstances. As part of any medical negligence claim, you would need to be assessed by an independent medical expert so that they could compile a report based on your medical notes, your medical condition and your prognosis, in order for a valuation of your claim to be reached. We can, however, give you a rough estimate of the compensation payout that could be offered for specific injuries and the pain, loss of amenity and suffering they have caused. The amounts you see below in the table have been taken from the Judicial College Guidelines. This is a publication that offers guidance on compensation amounts for specific injuries. We have attempted to choose injuries that we believe could be related to operation claims, but if you do not see your injury below, we could provide further guidance over the phone.

Type of Injury Notes Compensation Bracket
Bladder injury (b) Injuries that cause complete loss of bladder control. Up to £140,660
Bladder injury (c) Injuries that cause a serious impairment of bladder control with pain and some incontinence. £63,980 to £79,930
Bladder injury (d) With a near-complete recovery but some long-term issues with the natural function. £23,410 to £31,310
Bowel injury (b) Causing dependence on a colostomy, and total loss of function. Up to £150,110
Infertility (female) caused by injury or illness (a) With depression, scarring and pain £114,900 to £170,280
Spleen injury (a) Loss of the spleen, risk of infection internally and disorders because of damage to the injured party’s immune system. £20,800 to £26,290
Hernia (a) Where there was a limitation, even post-repair on physical activity as well as continuing pain. £14,900 to £24,170
Laparotomy operation and scar (11) Where the operation has been performed, leaving a scar, but there was no significant internal injury found. In the region of £8,640
Hernia (b) With no pre-existing weakness. Some risk of a recurrence may remain after repair. £7,010 to £9,110

Special Damages In Operation Negligence Claims

Successful operation negligence claims could also result in you being awarded special damages. This head of claim compensates you for the out-of-pocket expense caused by the avoidable harm you’ve suffered. 

Special damages you could claim for could include:

  • Care costs – if you’ve needed care at home while you recover
  • Medical expenses, such as prescription costs or mobility aids
  • Travel expenses, to cover the cost of attending medical appointments, for example
  • Loss of income from time you needed off work to recover from your injuries. 

You would need to provide evidence that these costs directly resulted from the medical negligence you’ve experienced. Bank statements, bills and receipts could help with this. If your injuries mean you will no longer be able to work; you could also claim for future loss of earnings. 

To learn more about special damages, or how much you could receive in compensation, please contact an advisor. 

No Win No Fee Operation Negligence Claims

Making operation negligence or never event compensation claims does not have to mean paying for legal assistance upfront. If you make a No Win No Fee medical negligence or personal injury claim, you would not be expected to settle any legal fees upfront, or before your case was concluded and your compensation was paid out.

No Win No Fee claims are documented under a Conditional Fee Agreement; a document that you would be asked to sign at the start of your case before your clinical negligence lawyer starts work. This would effectively promise your lawyer a small success fee upon successful completion of your medical negligence compensation claim. The success fee is subject to a legal cap, so you would not have to fear that a large portion of your compensation would be taken up in legal fees. If your medical negligence lawyer did not manage to secure you a compensation award for your claim, then you wouldn’t have to pay the success fee or cover the costs that the solicitor had incurred in pursuing your case.

Would you like to begin a claim, or do you have further questions about operation negligence claims that have not been covered in the sections above? We could offer you advice over the phone for free, and we could also perform an eligibility check on your case without charge. If we believe you could have a case, then we could even provide you with a No Win No Fee solicitor to launch your claim for you. We can be reached by phone, on 0800 073 8801, or via email on office@accidentclaims.co.uk. You could even opt to use the Live Chat feature or our contact form to get in touch. Whichever way you choose to contact us, you’ll find us ready and willing to help.

Essential References Relating To Surgical Negligence Claims

List Of Never Events – Here, you can read the list of 2018 Never Events compiled by the NHS.

Want To Complain About NHS Treatment? – This page shows you your options for making complaints against the NHS.

Advice For NHS Claimants – Here, you can find information from the NHS for claimants.

Surgical Negligence Case Study – This case study covers the story of a victim of surgical negligence that resulted in a payout of £345,000.

More About Surgical Negligence Claims – This guide offers more information on surgical negligence claims. You may find this additional information useful if you are considering making a claim.

Fat Transfer Surgery Claims – This guide focuses on information regarding fat transfer surgery claims.

Thanks for reading about never event compensation and operation negligence claims. To make surgical negligence claims with our team, please get in touch.