Surgery can be a daunting and even traumatic experience for anyone, especially as patients will have to take some time off to recover. Although the UK healthcare system has very high standards for surgical practice, the number of surgical errors has been on the increase due to increasing pressure on available resources. If you have been a victim of surgical errors, you deserve to know what went wrong and make surgical error claims.
What is a Surgical Error?
Surgical error is a type of medical negligence. It specifically refers to when a mistake happens during a surgical procedure. For instance, a surgeon may injure an artery or operate on the wrong limb. However, not all mistakes amount to surgical negligence. For you to make a surgical negligence claim, the doctor must have fallen below the reasonable and acceptable standard of care.
All medical professionals who treat you have a duty of care towards you. This duty of care means that they must provide a universally acceptable standard for what is expected of someone who possesses their skill-set and experience. Failure to uphold this duty of care can lead to accidents and surgical error claims can be made.
Medical negligence solicitors will help you assess your case, and let you know whether you can make an error claim. As they put your case together, they will try to establish if other medical professionals with the same knowledge and under similar circumstances would have acted in the same way.
Six Common Surgical Errors
Long work hours, inadequate training and faulty equipment are some of the many factors that can cause surgical errors. But regardless of the reason, it Is often the case that the victim is left with a life-changing injury and a traumatic experience. Here are six of the most common surgical errors:
- Anaesthetic Errors
Anaesthesiologists play a big role in surgical practice. They must ensure they have all relevant information about a patient’s medical state, history and any allergies before they undergo surgery. Too much anaesthesia could impact the patient’s oxygen circulation, causing brain damage. Not enough oxygen and the patient may awaken prematurely while the surgical process is ongoing. Ultimately, the patient may suffer from nightmares when he/she remembers the traumatic experience of the poor surgical treatment they received.
- Leaving Foreign Objects Inside of a Patient
As unlikely as this sounds, a surgeon can forget instruments like clamps, gauze, pads and scalpels inside of a patient’s body when completing a surgical procedure. Such error can lead pain, infections or, in extreme cases, death.
- Wrong Patient/Body Part Surgery
Although this is relatively rare, it can be terrifying when a surgeon operates on the wrong body part or even on the wrong patient. Having a surgical procedure that was meant for a different patient or having to undergo surgery on the wrong body part should never happen. When it does, there could be severe health issues or even death. It is the responsibility of all members of a surgical team to ensure that the appropriate procedure takes place, and on the correct patient.
- Nerve Damage
In an attempt to repair your current medical condition, your surgeon could make a mistake that causes an entirely new health problem. For instance, a scalpel could slip and hit a nerve, leading to serious and potentially fatal damage. Unsteady hands during operation could also lead to unintended nerve damage.
- Post-Surgical Infections
Patients are usually weak post-surgery, leaving them vulnerable to infections that could impact their recovery and even cause further illness. Patients with already compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable in this case. A negligent medical professional could use unhygienic equipment, exposing the patient to infection. The surgical team and hospital management are responsible for your health, and must ensure their operating environment is safe for patients.
- Post-Surgical Negligence
Post-surgical care is crucial in ensuring the recovery process is as smooth as possible. It is the responsibility of your doctor to make sure you are not prematurely discharged. To achieve this, the doctor must follow up with your recovery even when you get home to ensure that there are no further complications. If a medical professional fails to do so, they could be liable for the personal injury you have suffered.
Can I Make a Surgical Error Claim?
Our panel of solicitors at Medical Negligence Direct will assess this for you. Generally, all claimants have three years from the date of the surgery to make a claim for surgical error. We will evaluate your negligent case to find out whether you have suffered avoidable injury and, if so, work with you to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve to live a normal life.
Can I Make a Surgical Error Claim on Behalf of a Loved One?
If your child is aged under 18 and has been a victim of surgical negligence, you can make a claim on their behalf any time before their 18th birthday. If you do not start a claim before they turn 18, they will then have three years – until their 21st birthday – to bring the claim.
You can also make a claim on behalf of a loved one who is unable to make independent decisions due to a mental disability, or if the surgical negligence has made them unable to start their claim. If the surgical error results in fatality, then a compensation claim can be made by the deceased person’s spouse, family members or estate.
How Much Compensation Can I Receive for a Surgical Error Claim?
In addition to the pain and suffering you have experienced, your injury can impact your finances. Medical negligence solicitors at Medical Negligence Direct look at negligent cases on an individual basis and ensure you receive compensation that covers for the effects the injury has had on your life.
As no two negligence cases are the same, the solicitor assigned to your case will tell you how much compensation you can expect. After understanding what you’ve been through, we will go all out in support of you to ensure you receive maximum compensation.
For instance, your compensation will generally cover:
- Your pain and suffering
- Loss of earnings and future expected earnings
- Money you have spent on medical bills
- Travel or accommodation expenses for you and your family while you were receiving medical care
- Social activities you have missed out on due to the surgical negligence
How Can Medical Professionals Prevent Surgical Errors?
Surgeons and other medical professionals can minimize the risk of surgical errors by ensuring they practice due diligence at all times. Most surgical errors can be prevented if medical professionals implement appropriate precautionary measures, check medical equipment pre surgery, or undergo increased training.
However, not all surgical errors are preventable. Medical negligence solicitors can help you determine whether the injury you suffered was a result of surgical negligence or it was circumstantial.
How Do I Fund My Claim for Surgical Error?
Most medical negligence claims handled by Medical Negligence Direct are funded by a No Win No Fee agreement. Whether your surgical error claim is successful or not, there will be no financial risk to you. So, it effectively protects you from the risk of having to pursue litigation.
Contact Medical Negligence Direct Today for Legal Assistance
Have you suffered injury while being operated upon by a private surgeon? Or an NHS staff? Our panel of specialist solicitors can help you make an NHS claim for NHS compensation or a claim against the private healthcare provider.
Anyone can make on-the-job mistakes, but surgeons and medical professionals must be held to a very high standard. They must pay close attention to the matter at hand to eliminate the risk of common surgical errors. If you or your loved one have suffered injury at the hands of a surgeon or other medical staff during an operation, get in touch with Medical Negligence Direct. We will dedicate our time to ensure justice is served and you receive the amount of compensation you deserve.