Whilst surgeries in the UK are usually of a high standard, there are still opportunities for things to go wrong, sometimes due to negligence.
Surgical negligence can lead to physical, mental and financial consequences for patients and their loved ones. In what is often an incredibly difficult time, it may be of comfort that you could be entitled to compensation to help you and your family better cope with the situation.
Free Initial Discussion
What Is Surgical Negligence?
Surgical negligence is the term used to describe situations in which healthcare professionals have failed to meet the expected standard of care during surgical procedures. This can occur in both private and NHS medical services.
It can include medical errors, mistakes, or lapses in judgement during surgery that result in harm or injury to the patient.
Surgical negligence can have both short-term and long-term implications for patients.
What Does The Term Surgical Negligence Cover?
Surgical negligence can encompass a wide range of issues, such as incorrect incisions, damage to organs or tissues, anaesthesia errors, post-operative infections, and inadequate pre-op or post-op care.
It is important to note that not all surgical complications or unfavourable outcomes are considered to be surgical negligence.
To determine if surgical negligence has occurred requires an assessment of whether the healthcare professional’s actions failed to meet the accepted standard of care and contributed to the patient’s harm or injury.
What Causes Surgical Negligence?
There are a number of factors that can cause or lead to surgical negligence. Here are some of the most common causes:
- Fatigue or Burnout: Long working hours, sleep deprivation, and a high-stress environment can impair a surgeon’s judgement and general performance. Tired or stressed medical staff can be more likely to experience errors during surgery.
- Inadequate Training or Lack of Appropriate Experience: Surgeons and medical staff, on occasion, might lack the necessary training, qualifications, or experience to perform a particular procedure.
- Communication: Poor or inconsistent communication between healthcare professionals can be a cause for a surgical negligence claim. Miscommunication of patient information or failure to convey critical details during surgery can sometimes lead to mistakes that cause harm.
- Equipment Failure: Malfunctioning or defective surgical instruments, equipment, or technology can contribute to surgical errors.
- Systemic Issues: Organisational problems within healthcare facilities, such as inadequate protocols, a lack of supervision, or more general understaffing, can create an environment where surgical negligence may be more likely to occur.
- Lack of Informed Consent: Failure to obtain informed consent from the patient, including discussing potential risks and alternatives, can also result in surgical negligence claims.
- Medication Errors: Mistakes in administering medication, incorrect dosages, or failure to consider drug interactions can lead to complications during surgery and be considered negligent.
It’s important to note that each case is unique, and the causes of surgical negligence can vary. Consulting with legal professionals, like our team at Macks Solicitors, is crucial for building a strong case for a surgical negligence claim.
Compensation For Surgical Negligence
In the UK, compensation for surgical negligence provides financial support to individuals who have suffered harm or injury. The compensation aims to help alleviate the physical, emotional, and financial burdens caused by the negligence.
Who Can Claim For Surgical Negligence?
The patient, if able, can claim compensation for surgical negligence. The family of the patient are also able to make a claim on the patient’s behalf in some circumstances such as if the patient is under 18.
Are There Time Limits For Surgical Negligence Claims?
Yes, there are time limits for pursuing surgical negligence claims in the UK.
In most cases, the period for surgical negligence claims is three years from the date when the negligence occurred or from the date when the patient became aware (or should have reasonably become aware) that the negligence caused harm or injury.
If the patient discovers the negligence at a later date, such as when the harm or injury becomes apparent, the three-year time limit may start from that “date of knowledge.” This allows individuals to bring a claim within three years from the date they discovered or should have discovered the negligence.
If the patient lacks the mental capacity to handle their own legal affairs, there is no limitation period as long as they remain incapacitated. Once they are able to handle their own legal affairs, the usual three-year time limit applies.
If the patient is under the age of 18 at the time of the negligence, the three-year limitation period typically starts on their 18th birthday. In some cases, the patient’s family may be able to claim on their behalf.
Surgical Negligence Claims For Cosmetic Surgery
It is possible to make a surgical negligence claim for cosmetic surgery. Again, in these cases, compensation can be awarded for substandard care, harm or damage caused by surgery.
This can cover many of the 30,000 cosmetic surgeries completed each year, including breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, and liposuction. The most common types of negligence for these procedures can include infection, scars, nerve damage or extremely unsatisfactory results.
As with other surgeries, informed consent is to be considered when claiming surgical negligence. This looks at whether the patient was made aware of the potential risks and outcomes of the surgery.
Some cosmetic surgery compensation claims can be more subjective. For this reason, it’s extremely important to use a trusted and experienced solicitor to help you as you build your case for a claim.
Claims For Surgical Errors
Surgical errors refer to preventable mistakes or deviations from the accepted standard of care during surgical procedures. These errors can involve incorrect incisions, damage to organs or tissues, anaesthesia errors, foreign object retention, post-operative infections, or inadequate post-operative care.
How Macks Can Help
If you or a family member has experienced a physical or mental injury as a result of a surgical error you could be entitled to compensation.
At Macks Solicitors, our experienced team have years of experience in helping families claim to help them deal with the consequences of surgical negligence. Speak to us today to discuss your claim. We will thoroughly explore your case and determine the best course of action that is tailored to your specific needs.
Latest Trustpilot Reviews
So helpful and kind.Thank you for all your help
So helpful and kind.Thank you for every thing you did.
Professional, efficient and helpful
I was given clear advice and guided through the divorce process very professionally. Sarah and Sarah we helpful, informative and dealt with everything quickly and efficiently.
Outstanding service, very helpful and polite staff, always in the know about our case .. all round great professional solicitors.