Surgical errors – when can you claim?

About the Author

Name: Matthew Smith

Title: Principal Lawyer and Head of Clinical Negligence

Email: matthew.smith@lindermyers.co.uk

Telephone: 0161 837 6821

July 19th, 2022

In most cases, the standard of care provided throughout operations and treatment is usually satisfactory, if not excellent. But what happens when there are unfortunate complications, or negligence cases where the surgical team have failed to meet adequate standards?

Sometimes pain, trauma or a worsened condition can become a result of mistakes made during operations. The majority of surgeries involve risks of some sort and these must always be explained to the patients in full before proceeding with any operation or surgery. If these potential problems are not made evident or mistakes are made within the procedure, you may have grounds to claim compensation.

What is a surgical error?

The reasoning for a surgical error could fall under a wide range of reasons. Perhaps a hip replacement has gone wrong, there was a failure to take informed consent from the patient or even that the patient has received the wrong form of surgery. Depending on the sort of treatment that is being given, the case for proving negligence can vary. In summary, surgical negligence is caused by a surgeon’s, or their team’s, mistakes leaving either physical or psychological harm (or both) to the patient.

Examples of surgical errors could be:

  • Failure to properly consent the patient
  • Equipment malfunctioning or even being left in the body
  • Nerve damage caused by inadequate surgical technique
  • Infection as a result of improper sterilization of surgical equipment.
  • Failing to control infections which naturally develop post surgery
  • Blood clots and loss of blood circulation
  • Performing surgery on the wrong limb, or on the wrong level of the back for example

The after effects of negligent surgical errors can be life changing and can carry long-lasting implications.. It has the potential to affect both physical and mental health as well as bringing financial pressures to the individual and their family. Unfortunately, it’s likely that there will be significant financial losses whether it’s due to a loss of earnings as attending work is no longer feasible or if it’s making extra adaptations to your home to aid you post-surgery.

Can I sue for negligence on the NHS?

If your treatment was carried out by an NHS clinician, your claim will be against the NHS trust that they work for. Any compensation paid will come from NHS Resolution – a scheme funded by NHS trusts.

When it comes to claiming for medical negligence at a private hospital, it is more common to sue the individual clinician as they will be privately insured. We can help you with this.

How to make a claim

If you are over the age of 18, you will generally have three years from the date of surgery to pursue a surgical error case. Our experienced team at Linder Myers has a plethora of expertise within this field and will be happy to talk you through any queries you may have.

If you feel you might be entitled to compensation due to a surgical error, we can help you. Simply fill out the form below or contact a member of the team on either 0345 124 5995 or 0161 837 6821.

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