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The gallbladder is a pouch-like organ lying on the right side of the abdomen, just under the liver. It forms part of the digestive system and helps in the storage and release of bile into the digestive tract. Problems may arise with the presence of gallstones inside the gallbladder; if these stones get loose, the bile duct could get blocked. As a result, gallstone surgery – designed to remove the gallbladder and gallstones – is usually required to provide relief. If there are any errors in the Gallbladder during surgery then, you may be able to make a Gallstone Surgery claims.
A gallstone operation can be performed by either open surgery or keyhole surgery (laparoscopy). Removal of the gallstone is done by clipping the cystic duct and cystic artery, then peeling the gallbladder from the underside of the liver. Every year, there are over 65,000 gallstone surgeries; unfortunately, surgery does not always go to plan.
What Complications Can Arise from Gallstone Surgery?
The removal of gallstones or gallbladder is typically a straightforward process. However, gallstone surgery requires great care and precision, and a number of complications could arise which could negatively impact the bile duct and other organs. Here are some of these complications:
- The bile duct can get cut accidentally if surgical instruments are wrongly used or the identification of abdominal structures is incorrectly performed.
- The bile duct can get burned accidentally, leading to malfunction.
- There could be bile duct leakage if the bile duct or hepatic duct are injured – by incision or diathermy. If this injury is detected during the gallstone operation, repair can be done immediately; if it goes undetected for too long, the peritoneum could get inflamed, which can be very dangerous and potentially fatal.
Surgeons have a duty to ensure they protect the health of their patients. One way they must do this is by understanding all of the risks involved in a gallstone operation, especially during a keyhole surgery as there are more risks of injury with this type. They should warn the patient of any risks prior to the surgical procedure. If there is an injury during the operation, the surgeon should take reasonable steps to repair the damage. Failing to do so could cause the patient to suffer avoidable pain, requiring further treatment.
Am I Entitled to a Gallstone Surgery Claim?
You may be entitled to a gallstone surgery claim if:
- The administration of anaesthetic was negligent.
- Errors were made during surgery, resulting in damage to the liver, blood vessels and bowels.
- A surgeon acted negligently and got the bile duct cut, leading to bile leakage into the abdomen.
- A surgeon failed to properly use the clips to seal the tubes connecting the gallbladder to the bile duct, leading to leakage into the abdomen.
- Your surgeon has failed to investigate complications arising from a gallbladder operation.
- Your medical professional failed to identify and monitor risks of a potential infection post-surgery.
If you have suffered what you think to be an avoidable injury following a gallbladder surgery, you may be entitled to surgical error claims. In this case, you would need to establish that your surgeon failed to provide medical care in accordance with what a reasonable body of competent surgeons would consider acceptable under the same circumstances.
Therefore, you are under obligation to show that:
- The surgeon owed you a duty of care;
- The surgeon breached that duty of care;
- The breach of duty directly contributed to your injury;
- You incurred damages as a result of the injury suffered.
How Much Compensation Can I Expect for a Gallstone Surgery Claim?
The compensation amount that can be claimed for gallstone surgery negligence varies from case to case. Typically, compensation is made up of two parts: general damages and special damages.
- General damages
General damages compensate for the direct impact of the injury on your life. Complication of gallstones surgery claims due to negligence can lead to inability to participate in hobbies a person once loved. The Judicial College issues guidelines as regards how much compensation a victim in this case may be entitled to.
- Special damages
Special damages cover financial losses you have incurred as a result of the negligent treatment, including those you will incur in future. For instance, you may be able to make claims for medical expenses, loss of earnings, travel expenses and care costs.
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Time Limits for Making Gallstone Surgery Claims
There is a strict three-year time limit (limitation period) for medical negligence claims. This means that if you have been a victim of gallstone surgery negligence, you must start your claim by way of issuing court proceedings within three years of the negligent treatment or three years from the date you became aware that your injury was due to negligence.
When Do I Become Aware of Negligent Treatment?
The medical negligence time limit does strictly begin to run from the date of the incident, but the date you became aware your condition was due to negligence plays an important role as well. This is because you may not realize your surgery didn’t go to plan until later. You may realize that something isn’t right with your treatment, but may not know it was as a result of medical negligence.
No matter how long ago your negligent treatment took place, if you can show that you have been aware of the negligence for less than three years, you may be entitled to a claim for compensation.
How Long Will My Gallstone Surgery Claim Take?
Medical negligence claims usually take between 12-18 months to settle. However, the more straightforward a case is, the quicker a settlement can be reached. Some complex cases can take up to three years or even longer to settle.
The duration of the claims process will also depend on whether the claim can be settled out of court. Our specialist medical negligence solicitors aim to negotiate an out of court settlement on your behalf and, in the vast majority of claims, we are able to achieve this. However, if the alleged negligent party denies liability or fails to offer a fair compensation amount, you can rest assured we will walk you by the hand through this process.
No Win No Fee Gallstone Surgery Claims
At Medical Negligence Direct, we offer to work with our clients on a No Win No Fee basis in the vast majority of cases we handle. With a No Win No Fee agreement, you won’t have to worry about paying upfront legal fees and if your claim is unsuccessful, you wouldn’t pay anything at all.
Even if your claim is successful, legal fees do not need to be a cause for concern as a success fee (0-25% of your compensation) will be deducted from your final compensation award. Our specialist solicitors will discuss everything you need to know about funding your claim so you do not have to worry about any hidden costs.
Contact Our Specialist Gallstone Surgery Claims Solicitors
We understand how difficult a time it must be if you or a loved one has suffered an injury or illness at the hands of a medical professional. We completely trust our medical professionals and take their word for a fact; so, it can be devastating when the quality of care they provide falls below the acceptable standard.
If you think you may have been a victim of gallstone surgery negligence, we can help. We work with a panel of specialist medical negligence solicitors who are committed to helping victims of negligent treatment. While the process may be complex and lengthy, we take the hassle off your shoulders by building a robust case on your behalf and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.
Get in touch with us today on 0800 644 4240 for a free, no obligation consultation with one of our specialist medical negligence solicitors. Alternatively, you may fill our free online claim assessment form and we will call you at your earliest convenience.