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July 26, 2022

What Happens if a Surgeon Makes a Mistake?

In the very many medical negligence claims we have handled, we have also undertaken cases based on surgical negligence. Our medical negligence experts have handled cases where clients bring claims saying ‘my surgeon made a mistake.’

While we agree that doctors make mistakes most times due to pressure and exhaustion among other factors, it is painful when an individual has to live with an avoidable injury, complication or disability for the rest of his or her life. Sometimes, surgical malpractice has either led to the death of the victim or reduced the life expectancy of the person.

When this happens, we listen to our clients tell their story and make a thorough professional evaluation of the case and decide if there are strong grounds for claim and if there are, we proceed to provide best legal representation for our clients so as to get them an appropriate ‘operation went wrong compensation’ which will provide them something to hold onto and make life a little easier as much as its possible going forward.

When a surgeon makes a mistake, there are a number of things that can happen. These are;

  • Another surgeon corrects the mistake- There are errors which can be corrected after they have happened. In the best interest of the patient, the hospital will assign another surgeon to carry out the surgery and correct the mistake.
  • Internal investigation- The management of the hospital will carry out a review to know what exactly happened, why and how it occurred. The aim of this is to provide answers to the family of the victim and most importantly to avoid a repeat of the error. The surgeon involved may be suspended for a while until the investigations are over or until the hospital is sure he can perform his duties optimally without putting patients in danger of harm.
  • Claims Can Be Made- The other scenario is that the victim or the family can take legal action against the surgeon and the hospital for their negligence.

Surgical Negligence Explained

Surgical negligence refers to mistakes or errors done by surgeons or any of the operating staff that directly leads to an injury, trauma, complication or even death of the person which could have been avoided if the appropriate measures were taken.

Over 10million surgeries are performed every year in the UK and mistakes are bound to occur. However, there are some which are not even expected to occur but they happen. Such errors are known as “never events.”

In data revealed recently, over 407 were recorded in the NHS between April 2021 and March 2022. Of this number, there were 98 cases of foreign objects mistakenly being left in patients, including 32 vaginal swabs and 21 surgical swabs.

There is also the case of a Swindon man who had a plastic tubing left inside his abdomen and he suffered pain for years as a result.

Negligent Surgeon actions can leave the patient in a debilitating state for life and so all medical professionals and indeed surgeons are expected to fulfill their duty of care towards their patients by providing standard care to them.

Therefore, if you have surgical negligence claims or you are not even sure if you could have a claim or not, we encourage you to reach out to us and have a chat with our medical negligence experts during our consultation session which does not cost you a dime.

What Does A Surgeon Do That Could Be Termed Negligent?

The following can be termed as surgical negligence-

  • Carrying out an unnecessary surgery
  • Wrong surgery performed on a patient
  • Performing the surgery on the wrong part of the body (wrong-site surgery)
  • Unintended retention of foreign objects (URFOs) and retained surgical items (RSIs)
  • Hospital acquired infections during the surgery
  • Unnecessary organ or nerve damage
  • Failing to explain to the patient or next of kin the procedure to be carried out and obtain their consent.
  • Poorly fitting a prosthesis
  • Wrong blood transfusion during surgery
  • Anaesthesia errors
  • Poorly conducted surgery leading to avoidable complications

NHS Complaints Procedure Compensation

When such mistakes occur, you may want to make complaints first to know what really happened to you or your loved one. This also gives you a chance to know if you could have a claim or not.

You should note that complaints can only be made within one year of the negligent action and it does not stop the medical negligence claims window which is only three years from the date you became aware of the negligence. Therefore, you have to get on with it as soon as possible.

The NHS PALS can assist you with the modalities for making complaints. Your complaint letter should be clear and precise, stating your concerns and the answers you seek.

Making A Surgical Negligence Claim

When you have made your complaints and you are convinced you may have a claim, we encourage you to seek the best medical negligence solicitors to assist you.

Medical negligence claims can sometimes be difficult to prove and so you need experts to help you do so.

In proving your claims, you will have to demonstrate liability and causation.

This means that you have to show that-

  • The surgeon had a duty to care for you
  • The surgeon breached that duty of care
  • That breach of duty of care is the reason why you have suffered the injury, trauma or complication
  • You have suffered damages as a result of the negligence including- financially, socially, psychologically and otherwise.

Our surgical negligence experts will have a chat with you during our free consultation session and advice you on what steps to take.

Additionally, we will help you provide documents you need to corroborate your claims. These will include;

  • Comprehensive statements of what happened
  • Witness statements
  • Hospital records
  • Test and scan results
  • Photographs where necessary
  • Proof of financial losses
  • Medical report from an independent medical expert in the relevant field

NHS Compensation Payouts

The compensation payout you will receive is not fixed but depends on several factors including the severity of injury suffered and future prognosis among others.

In the UK however, the average NHS compensation payout is £50,000 but then compensation amounts can vary between £1,000 and several millions of pounds.

Damages you can claim are divided into-

General damages- Which takes care of the severity of injury suffered and the overall impact of the negligence caused injury on your general wellbeing.

Special damages- This takes care of other factors such as financial losses and “out-of-pocket” expenses as a result of the incident, including loss of earnings, costs of extra care, accommodation adjustments, costs of buying assistive or rehabilitative devices and therapy.

No Win No Fee Medical Negligence

Our surgical malpractice experts handle these claims on a no win no fee basis to give everyone irrespective of financial status the opportunity to fight for justice.

You therefore do not have to worry about legal fees but we will deduct an already agreed percentage from your compensation amount as a success fee. This will be no more than 25% and if no anything the case was not successful, you do not owe us a penny.

Reach out to us today via our helplines or fill out our online enquiry form to get started.

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