Download our guide on what medical consent is and why it's important.
Surgery negligence compensation claims
Most surgical negligence claims can be dealt with on a no win no fee basis.
We can deal with most surgical negligence claims on a no win no fee basis. If you have suffered because of a mistake made during surgery, contact our specialist surgical negligence solicitors.
Surgical negligence claims
In most cases, surgery will go as planned. But unfortunately no surgical procedure has a 100% success rate. Surgeons do occasionally make mistakes which result in injury or a poor outcome.
Examples of surgical negligence include:
- delay in performing surgery
- failing to get medical consent from the patient
- retained surgical instruments
- performing the wrong type of operation
- wrong-site surgery (such as amputating the wrong limb)
- not properly sterilising instruments
- not properly executing the surgery
- not providing the right aftercare
- failing to stitch the wound correctly
- administering too much or too little anaesthetic
- contaminating blood during a blood transfusion
A variety of injuries can arise from surgical mistakes, depending on the type of surgery. These could include:
- damage to organs
- perforated bowel or bladder
- nerve damage
- viral infection
- adverse reaction to blood transfusion or transplant
- loss of sight
Can I make a no win no fee surgical compensation claim?
If you feel that a mistake during your surgery or aftercare has caused an avoidable injury or poor outcome, contact Co-op Legal Services for a free consultation with a medical negligence solicitor. The solicitor will listen to the information you provide, then provide you with free initial legal advice based on the details provided.
If we take on your claim, your medical negligence solicitor will investigate your treatment by reviewing your medical records and, if appropriate, seeking guidance from independent expert surgeons.
If the investigation reveals that a surgical mistake has caused an avoidable injury or a poor outcome, your medical negligence solicitor will share the findings of the investigation with either NHS Resolution, the NHS Authority that manages claims on behalf of the NHS, or the appropriate Medical Defence Organisation (organisation that provides professional indemnity for healthcare professionals).
Once NHS Resolution/the relevant Medical Defence Organisation agrees that a mistake has been made, your solicitor will work to agree with them the impact of the mistake on your eventual outcome and the right amount of compensation to be awarded.
If the other side deny liability (fault) your medical negligence solicitor can start litigation to secure a fair compensation settlement for you, including rehabilitation support, future care needs, loss of earnings/income and out-of-pocket expenses.
What is medical consent and why is it important?
All adult patients of sound mind are entitled to decide whether to undergo any medical treatment, and their informed consent must be obtained before this treatment begins.
All medical procedures have recognised risks, even if excellent care is provided. The risks usually relate to certain complications, the treatment not working or some other poor outcome. The level of risk can also be higher or lower for different treatment options.
For a patient to give valid consent, they must be made aware of any risks, material to that patient based on their characteristics, and of any reasonable alternative treatments. This falls under the professional duty of the medical staff performing the treatment.
If this information isn’t provided, the treatment will have been carried out without the patient’s informed consent. If the treatment then causes an otherwise avoidable injury, this could be grounds for a medical negligence claim.
Examples of surgical negligence cases and payouts
These two surgery negligence cases show how medical negligence solicitors can secure compensation and rehabilitation support in surgical negligence claims.
Hernia surgery gone wrong - the case of Mr V
Mr V was 48 years old when he underwent keyhole surgery to repair a hernia. After the operation, fluid was leaking from the site of the surgery. He began to suffer abdominal pain and was unable to pass urine. He was given intravenous antibiotics.
An ultrasound scan was carried out to check for free fluid in the abdomen. The scan didn't reveal any so Mr V was discharged. The next month, Mr V went to A&E because of blood in his urine. Mesh from his hernia repair was protruding through the bladder wall. He underwent urgent surgury.
Mr V was left with a 25% loss of bladder function.
His surgical negligence solicitors found the bladder damage had been caused by surgical mistakes.
Surgery claim compensation awarded - £27,500
Childbirth injury claim - the case of Ms D
Ms D was a 31 year old city banker when she had her first child. During labour, a surgical incision to assist delivery was inappropriately performed, causing a third-degree tear.
Ms D was not informed of the tear but a repair was carried out. There was no proper examination carried out post-delivery.
About two weeks later, Ms D was in constant pain, passing a lot of blood and having difficulty controlling her bowels.
She was referred to a Colorectal Surgeon at her 6 week check-up, when she first became aware of the tear. An ultrasound revealed the extent of it.
Ms D subsequently underwent repair and reconstruction surgery. Afterwards, she was in severe pain and was bedbound for several weeks. She was left with significant ongoing symptoms.
Surgical negligence solicitors found that the care provided to Ms D had been unacceptable and the claim went to trial.
Surgery claim compensation awarded - £1,148,882.
The compensation included awards for:
- pain, suffering and loss of amenity £65,000
- interest on pain, suffering and loss of amenity £2,600
- future surgical costs £22,000
- future psychiatric care £25,400
- for all remaining heads of past loss besides loss of earnings £5,500
- loss of future earnings £946,882
- loss of congenial employment £6,500
These cases were not dealt with by Co-op Legal Services, but reported in the Personal Injuries Quantum Database of LexisNexis
What type of surgery qualifies for a surgical negligence claim?
Surgery is performed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In the vast majority of cases surgery will go as planned, but unfortunately no surgical procedure has a 100% success rate.
There will be patients whose procedure is unsuccessful or who experience complications during or following surgery. If no mistakes have been made and the patient has been adequately taken through the consent process, there are unlikely to be grounds for bringing a surgical negligence claim.
The most common types of surgery include:
- elective surgery (planned surgery)
- eye surgery
- emergency surgery
- open surgery
- keyhole surgery
- laparoscopic surgery
- cosmetic surgery
Each surgical procedure carries recognised risks, such as:
- incisional hernia
How long does it take to make a surgical negligence compensation claim?
A surgical negligence claim could complete within a few months if it's simple, but a more complicated claim could take years to complete. Evidence will need to be gathered, supporting documents and medical records will need to be obtained and there could be negotiations, which also take time.
How long it takes to get surgical negligence compensation will depend on a few factors, including the seriousness of the personal injury, the value of the claim and whether the other side admits fault.
About Co-op Legal Services
As part of the largest Co-operative organisation in the UK, Co-op Legal Services works to ensure that our clients receive the best legal advice and support services available from our teams of personal injury and clinical negligence solicitors, legal executives and staff.
Co-op Legal Services has over 600 staff working in different businesses with offices in Manchester, Bristol, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sheffield and London.