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. 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 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
- A Guide To Operation Negligence Claims
- What Is Operation Negligence?
- What Are Never Events In Operations?
- General Surgical And Operation Negligence
- C-section Operation Negligence
- Minor Operation Negligence
- Wrong Site Surgery And Operation Negligence
- Operation Negligence Which Caused New Injuries
- Unnecessary Operations
- Operations Which Were Unsuccessful Due To Negligence
- Anaesthesia Errors During An Operation
- Nerve Damage Caused During An Operation
- Operation Negligence Compensation Calculator
- Special Damages In Operation Negligence Claims
- No Win No Fee Operation Negligence Claims
- Start Your Claim
- Essential References
When you have an operation, the risks of complications would be explained to you and you would be required to sign a form giving your informed consent to the procedure. However, no matter what risks come with the surgery, negligent care should not be one of them. If you have suffered avoidable harm because of negligence while you were undergoing surgical treatment, this could mean you have a poorer prognosis, or suffer a worsening of a medical condition, for example. You may even be required to undergo further surgery to correct the damage that has been done to you.
Medical professionals have a duty of care towards you while you are under their care. If there is a breach of this duty of care, and you suffer avoidable harm because of this, you could consider making operation negligence claims for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced and the financial harm it has caused you. In the sections below, we talk about what mistakes could lead to negligent operation claims, including surgical never events, and you will also find details of how to go about making a claim if this has happened to you. In addition to this, we offer insight into what damages could be included in a medical malpractice claim.
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.
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
Whether you were harmed by a surgical never event or because of another type of negligence in surgery, you could consider contacting us for assistance, as we could help with a variety of operation negligence claims.
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.
Whether you are undergoing an emergency C-section or one that has been planned, C-section operation negligence could cause harm not only to you but to your baby. If this has happened to you, you may be able to claim compensation on behalf of your child as well as for your own suffering. Incidents that could lead to operation negligence claims relating to caesarean sections could include:
- Internal or external avoidable injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Surgical technique errors leading to injury to mother or baby
- Failure to remove the placenta in full during surgery
Whether you or you baby have been left with avoidable internal or external injuries due to C-section operation negligence, or you or your child have suffered an avoidable infection/illness due to negligence, you could be eligible for compensation.
Minor surgery is, by definition, surgery that involves resecting connective tissue, skin or mucus membranes. In the majority, minor surgery procedures are only small, and usually involve cutting and stitching tissue. Minor surgery should be safe, quick and effective, but even minor operations come with some risks, which should be informed to you before the procedure begins. If the practitioner performing a minor operation is negligent in their treatment of you, and you suffer harm that could have been avoided during a minor procedure, you could claim minor operation negligence compensation, not just for the physical/mental injuries you have suffered but any financial harm the injuries has caused you.
Wrong-site surgery is considered to be a ‘never event’. If the wrong part of the body has been operated on, this could cause harm in two ways. Firstly, the body part that needed treatment would not have been treated, which could lead to more surgery being required. And secondly, you would have undergone surgery that you did not need to have on the body part that was operated on in error. In the more positive cases, this could leave the patient with unnecessary scarring, but in the most serious cases, this could lead to life-threatening or even fatal consequences. If you or a loved one has suffered harm from wrong-site surgery, operation negligence claims could compensate you for the harm you’ve suffered due to this ‘never event’.
There are some injuries that could be caused by surgery. In some cases, this could be unavoidable and the injury you have suffered could be a consequence of a surgical procedure done correctly. However, in other cases, where negligence is involved, you may have suffered injuries that could and should have been avoided. These could include:
- Spinal cord damage
- Brain damage
- Organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Muscle damage
- Tendon damage
- Internal bleeding
Proving negligence in surgery could be complicated due to the fact that you would have to prove the negligence caused the injury and it was not a result of your medical condition or known risks of the surgery you were undergoing that caused you to suffer harm. This is why having an experienced solicitor on your side could be of real benefit when making operation negligence claims.
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.
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.
The team at Accident Claims UK could also help with operation negligence claims for those who have suffered harm due to anaesthesia errors during surgery. Anaesthesia is something that, if not administered correctly, could cause real harm to a patient, and this is why the Royal College of Anaesthetists has issued recommended standard of practice to the NHS to protect patients who require anaesthetic for medical procedures. If these standards are not met, the patient could be put at risk in a number of ways. Failure in standards could include;
- Dosage errors
- Mistakes with intubation
- Failure to correctly deliver anaesthesia
- Failure to monitor patients
- Leaving an anaesthetised patient unattended
- Equipment failure
- Failure to check anaesthesia and equipment before use
- Contaminated drugs
- Contaminated equipment
If you have suffered harm due to anaesthesia negligence, you could be entitled to claim compensation, and Accident Claims UK could help you.
Nerve damage during surgery could be permanent, and depending on which nerves are involved, could be very serious. Whether you have suffered nerve damage during surgery because of poorly administered anaesthesia, or damage through mistakes in surgery, for example, where a hernia surgery causes avoidable harm to the inguinal or genitofemoral nerves, this could cause problems you may not recover from.
It would be your responsibility to prove that the nerve damage during your surgery could and should have been avoided and that it was caused by negligence. This could be complicated to prove, but a medical negligence lawyer should have the capability to help obtain the expert medical evidence needed to prove your claim.
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|
|Laparotomy operation and scar||Where the operation has been performed, leaving a scar, but there was no significant internal injury found.||Around £8,110|
|Hernia||Where there was a limitation, even post-repair on physical activity as well as continuing pain.||£13,970 to £22,680|
|Hernia||With no pre-existing weakness. Some risk of a recurrence may remain after repair.||£6,580 to £8,550|
|Bladder injury||Injuries that cause complete loss of bladder control.||Up to £132,040|
|Bladder injury||Injuries that cause a serious impairment of bladder control with pain and some incontinence.||£60,050 to £75,010|
|Bladder injury||With a near-complete recovery but some long-term issues with the natural function.||£21,970 to £29,380|
|Spleen injury||Loss of the spleen, risk of infection internally and disorders because of damage to the injured party’s immune system.||£19,510 to £24,680|
|Bowel injury||Causing dependence on a colostomy, and total loss of function.||Up to £140,870|
|Infertility (female) caused by injury||With depression, scarring and pain||£107,810 to £158,970|
Operation negligence claims payouts could also include awards to cover financial expenses that have arisen directly because of your injuries. These are known as special damages. They could include, but may not be limited to:
Medical expenses – If you have had to pay for medications, counselling or physiotherapy for example, as a consequence of your injuries, you could include the costs for these as part of your claim.
Travel expenses – If you paid for travel to hospital appointments or to meet with your lawyer, your travel costs could be included as special damages within your claim.
Care costs – Some injuries may mean you require care at home with simple tasks such as washing or dressing. If costs are associated with such care, then they could form part of your claim.
Income losses – If you had to take time off work, and did not receive your full pay, loss of income could also be included as special damages. If your injuries were so serious that you weren’t able to return to work, a future loss of earnings payout could also form part of your claim.
Funeral costs – If you lost a loved one due to surgical negligence, their funeral costs could be included within operation negligence claims made by the next of kin, for example.
Making operation negligence 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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.
Article by JJ
Edited by MM.