Surgical negligence, when you suffer harm at the hands of a surgeon, is a serious form of medical negligence.
Surgical claims go from the obvious such as removing the wrong structure or operating on the wrong side to more subtle surgical claims where a structure such as duct, vessel, the bowel or nerve is cut and damaged by the surgeon undertaking your surgery.
If this damage is beyond the scope of what is a known complication and no surgeon acting reasonably would have made that mistake then you would have a claim for surgical negligence.
Sadly, loss of life can be the result in some rare cases of surgical negligence.
In 2021/2022 NHS Resolution received 10,284 claims of which 12% related to orthopaedic surgery and 7% related to general surgery adding in gynaecology and other surgical areas such as neurosurgery at least 25% to 30% of the claims received each year by the NHS relate to surgical negligence
You will have a medical negligence claim for compensation if you experience surgical negligence.
You can sue for compensation when you are a victim of surgical negligence, and a specialist medical negligence solicitor will handle your claim.
Medical negligence solicitors bring your claim for compensation to the negligent party. The money you win from the surgical negligence compensation case will help right the wrong done to you through compensation for the pain and suffering you experience or continue to experience and also for items such as loss of earnings.
What is surgical negligence?
Surgical negligence is when a surgeon carries out surgery below accepted standards. It is carrying out a surgical procedure at a level below what is expected by a medical professional. No other surgeon acting reasonably would make the mistake which is deemed to be surgical negligence.
There are many types of surgical negligence. You can be a victim of a minor type of surgical negligence of the more serious kind such as ororation of organs or damage to structures which should have been protected.
Unnecessary surgical negligence claims arise where a patient is taken down to theatre and put under a general anaesthetic only for the surgeon to then realise that they do not have the correct equipment to complete the operation.
When you are a victim of surgical negligence, you can sue for compensation. The money you get for your compensation claim will help you regain your health and recoup any lost income.
Expert medical negligence solicitors, such as the Medical Negligence Team, will fight your claim and get you the compensation you deserve for the surgical errors.
How much can I claim for surgical Negligence?
You can claim from £1,000 to more than £1m for surgical negligence. Your medical negligence solicitor will advise you on the amount to expect and what to accept in a surgical negligence case.
As an example if a keyhole gallbladder removal goes wrong and the surgeon cuts through the common bile duct by mistake this can result in an open procedure being required to reconnect the common bile duct to the bowel.
This will result in a large scar, a longer recovery time and associated loss or earnings all of which can be claimed for when a surgeon negligently cuts the common bile duct in a gall bladder removal operation also known as cholecystectomy.
The general damages for this type of claim would be in the region of £30,000 to £40,000 plus then additional items can be claimed for such as loss of earnings and the psychological impact where there is a confirmed psychological injury.
Types of Medical negligence compensation
There are 2 categories of compensation that can be claimed: ‘General Damages’ and ‘Special Damages.’
Depending on your injury you can claim just one or both.
General Damages cover the actual surgical negligence.
The compensation claim award is for the damage done to you by the surgeon during surgery.
For example, amputation of the incorrect limb would award you compensation of up to £282,000 in general damages as both legs would be lost plus then much higher special damages for care, assistance and housing adaptations.
Special Damages cover all the other financial effects surgical negligence can have on your life.
The Special Damages cover loss of earnings, payment of future care costs, loss of predicted earnings and further medical treatment.
When the victim of surgical negligence is the primary wage earner in the home, all the present and future costs of running the house are taken into account.
The Special Damages awarded would include bills, mortgage payments and even college fees.
What types of surgical negligence can I claim for?
You can claim for a long list of types of surgical negligence. When a surgeon does not do their job correctly and surgical negligence happens, you can claim compensation.
In many cases of UK surgical negligence, the victim may not even know it happened or may not realise it happened until much later. When you know the types of surgical negligence, you can engage a specialist medical negligence solicitor to claim compensation.
The list of types of frequently claimed surgical negligence includes:
- Surgery on the incorrect part of the body
- Unnecessary damage caused during surgery
- A technical failure meaning the operation did not work
- Leaving foreign objects inside the body
- Failure to recognise blood loss after the operation
Failure to recognise infection or sepsis
- Nerve damage
- Perforation of organs
- Negligence when giving anaesthesia
- Not having the correct equipment to perform the operation
- Failing to prescribe anticoagulation medication following surgery
You can claim compensation if you suffer one or more of the above types of surgical negligence.
How to Sue the NHS
If you have been a victim of NHS negligence? If you have, you may need Sue the NHS for damages.
Surgery on the incorrect part of the body claim
Surgery on the incorrect part of the body is a common cause of surgical negligence compensation claims.
A surgeon may need to amputate the right foot due to infection or severe damage. When they go into surgery, they do not read the notes correctly and remove the left foot.
It can also happen that a nurse marks the wrong foot before surgery.
Surgical negligence can also happen if the wrong body part, such as the left thyroid instead of the right, is identified as needing an operation. The surgeon operates on the healthy body part, possibly damaging it, but you still have your original medical problem.
Unnecessary damage caused during surgery claim
Unnecessary damage caused during surgery happens in every hospital.
When you go into the hospital for a gallbladder to be removed, cholecystectomy, it would be done using keyhole or laparoscopic surgery. If the surgeon cuts through the wrong bile duct by mistake during the operation, it is surgical negligence.
They will have to open you up to reconnect the bile duct, known as hepaticojejunostomy Roux-en-Y, a far more serious and invasive procedure.
The surgery will also leave you with unsightly and unnecessary scarring. You will need a longer recovery time and stay a few days in hospital.
Lack of care in surgery claim
Lack of care as surgical negligence often features in surgical negligence cases. Instead of giving you their full care and attention, the surgeon does not do a professional job during surgery.
The results could be unnecessary scarring, excess pain and bruising around the area of surgery. What should be a routine recovery may take a lot longer and require repeat visits to outpatients for treatment.
You can sue for surgical negligence when there is a lack of care from the surgeon and their team.
Failure to effectively control loss of blood claim
Failure to effectively control loss of blood happens when the surgeon is negligent during an operation. There will always be some loss of blood during surgery, but a surgeon doing their job correctly will control it.
The failure to effectively control the loss of blood can lead to shock to the other body organs, damage to the heart and even death in some cases.
Surgical negligence compensation claims for the damage caused will get you the money you deserve.
Leaving foreign objects inside the body claim
Leaving foreign objects inside the body includes surgical instruments, gauze and swabs. The serious side effects of infection and pain can do a lot of damage to your body.
If the surgeon and the surgery team do their job properly, everything is accounted for before closing the wound.
Surgical negligence like leaving foreign objects inside the body is avoidable.
It is surgical negligence when this happens, and you have a surgical negligence compensation claim.
Nerve damage caused by surgery claim
Nerve damage, like other unnecessary damage caused during surgery, should not happen when a surgeon does a professional job in theatre.
A careless surgeon may nick the nerve near the area of surgery and do a lot of damage to it. Nerve damage includes pain and stress and can cause a lot of psychological upset.
Nerve damage during surgery is medical negligence and will form part of your surgical negligence claim for compensation.
Perforation of organs claim
Perforation of organs is a very serious form of surgical negligence. When doing routine surgery the surgeon may perforate your bowel or bladder with one of their instruments and fail to recognise it. Causing the damage may be negligent but failing to recognise the damage is a common medical negligence claim
The damage caused includes severe infection, possibly permanent damage to the bowel and many months of hospital visits and recuperation.
The medical negligence compensation claim for the perforation of organs can be for very high amounts of damages.
Negligence when giving anaesthesia claim
Negligence when giving anaesthesia can include giving too much anaesthetic or too little of it. Medical negligence can also include damaging the teeth, throat and neck area when readying the patient.
If there is surgical negligence, like giving too much anaesthesia, the patient may be difficult to resuscitate and could need ICU admittance.
Too little anaesthesia and you may wake during surgery with obvious consequences of anaesthetic awareness.
Infection following surgery claim
Infection following surgery is always a possibility. When the surgeon does not take due care, like giving a strong antibiotic, the infection could be life-threatening.
The surgeon is responsible for ensuring there is little or no infection following surgery. Lack of hygiene is a cause of infection and lies behind many surgical negligence compensation claims.
If surgical wounds are not correctly treated, the body may develop an extreme infection known as sepsis.
Failure to follow recommended practice claim
Failure to follow recommended practice by a surgeon should never happen in a professional environment. Every surgeon is trained to follow recommended practice in theatre, and there is not any excuse for ignoring it.
It is surgical negligence when the surgeon does not follow the recommended practice. Protocol exists to protect your life and any unnecessary damage during surgery.
You can claim compensation for the medical negligence during your surgery.
Operating when unsafe to do claim
Operating when unsafe to do so includes running a surgery when not enough staff are on duty. Every team is fully trained to check patients and report any worries to the surgeon.
Operating when unsafe to do so is surgical negligence, and your medical records will form part of the compensation claim.
The steps involved when suing for surgical negligence
The steps involved when suing for surgical negligence are a part of any successful compensation claim. When you follow them correctly and get all the facts and figures together, your medical negligence solicitor will do the rest.
Step 1: Seek medical advice
Seek medical advice on the injuries you have suffered or are suffering with immediately you realise you experienced surgical negligence.
Step 2: Contact a specialist medical negligence solicitor
Contact a specialist medical negligence solicitor who operates on a No Win No Fee basis and tell them what went wrong. The right solicitor will look at your case, see where the problem lies, and advise if you suffered surgical negligence.
The Medical Negligence Team also have a 100% Compensation Guarantee scheme, where you get all the money awarded in a negligence claim.
You are the one who suffered medical negligence, and you should get all the money due for the suffering.
Step 3: Your medical negligence solicitor obtains your medical records
Your medical negligence solicitor obtains your medical records with your permission. By reading your records, they will confirm if they think you have a valid surgical negligence case.
The medical negligence team will know from reading your medical records if the case will result in surgical negligence compensation being paid.
Step 4: The medical negligence solicitor sending a letter of claim to the negligent party
The medical negligence solicitor sending a letter of claim to the negligent party is the next step. The letter will ask them to admit surgical negligence in what is known as ‘sending a letter of claim.’
When the negligent party receives the letter of claim, it has up to four months to provide a written response.
Step 5: Getting a response from the negligent party’s insurer
Getting a response from the negligent party’s insurer will move your compensation claim closer to a conclusion.
The insurer will either admit the medical negligence or say they intend to defend the case. Deciding to defend the case is known as ‘deny liability’ in legal terms.
If they admit liability, your surgical negligence claim can be valued.
The two parties will meet to decide on your surgical negligence compensation payment.
Your solicitor will negotiate with the negligent party and use their experience to get the compensation you deserve.
Step 6: Issuing court proceedings
Issuing court proceedings is the next step if they deny liability in your surgical negligence case. Going to court happens, too, when they are not prepared to pay a fair amount for the injuries you have suffered.
Your medical negligence solicitor issues the court proceedings.
Remember that less than 1% of medical negligence cases go to trial.
Our team members have a higher career win rate with a 75% success rate on NHS letters of claim, compared to an industry average of 54.5%.
The first step is to get in touch and tell us what went wrong. It’s free and easy. Call our 24-hour helpline: 0800 246 1122 or request a callback here.
Once you have spoken with our team we’ll let you know how we can help. Typically the next step is to obtain your medical records for us to review.
Once all your medical records have been received they will be reviewed by a medically & legally qualified member of our team. If there is evidence of medical negligence we will send a letter of claim to the negligent party outlining your medical negligence claim.
Using a No Win No Fee solicitor
Using a No Win No Fee solicitor is the only way to a successful surgical negligence claim. Your No Win No Fee medical negligence solicitor will not charge you for a claim you do not win.
If any solicitor starts talking of a ‘win fee’ or a ‘success fee,’ you should walk away. The negligent party insurers should pay all fees meaning you should be entitled to 100% of the compensation recovered.
The medical negligence solicitor should also operate a 100% Compensation Guarantee scheme. When you win the case, all the money awarded should go to you, not the solicitor.
You are the one who suffered surgical negligence, and you deserve the compensation to get your life back to normal.
How long do I have to make a claim for surgical negligence?
You have three years to make a claim for surgical negligence. All medical negligence claims are subject to limitation periods.
For example, in England and Wales, medical negligence claims must generally be brought, court proceedings issued within three years of the injury, or three years of knowledge of the facts giving rise to the claim.
If someone has passed away, it is the date of death if the limitation period has not expired at the date of death.
Children not under a disability typically have until they reach 21 to start a surgical negligence claim or court proceedings.
Persons under a disability, who lack capacity, are not subject to any limitation period.
Contact us at the Medical Negligence Team if you need to sue for surgical negligence. People claim compensation when they suffer surgical negligence at their hospital.
Claim amounts start at £1,500 and go to over £1M in some cases.
Always use a No Win No Fee medical negligence solicitor. At the Medical Negligence Team, we operate a 100% Compensation Guarantee, along with the No Win No Fee policy, so you will get every penny of the money awarded.
We are very successful at what we do so you will receive all the compensation money very quickly.
Contact the Medical Negligence Team today for all your surgical negligence needs.