Surgical Medical Negligence Claims

Surgery has saved and improved countless lives, and the vast majority of operations go according to plan. Unfortunately though, mistakes can happen, and these can have a devastating effect on the lives of patients.

Bolt Burdon Kemp has an established history of winning compensation in very complicated medical negligence cases, and we do so while providing the best possible support and advice during the process.

If you think you or a loved one has been affected by a surgeon’s mistakes, then please contact us and we will give you our expert advice, usually on a no-win, no fee basis. Most cases do not even reach court.

The risks involved with surgery

All surgery comes with a risk, and it’s important that the risks are clearly explained to the patient before the procedure, so that an informed decision can be made by a patient about whether to go ahead.

With a person’s life often being in the hands of the surgeon, it’s understandable that the patient and their loved ones will feel anxious. The thought of anything going wrong is unbearable and, when the worst happens, it can be very difficult to come to terms with.

Examples of medical negligence in surgery

If the surgery is carried out in a way that is substandard, and the patient’s condition is worsened as a result, our solicitors will be able to assist you in your claim for compensation.

The following are other examples of negligence that can occur in surgery, and are grounds for compensation:

  • Unnecessary surgery
  • Surgery carried out on the wrong part of the body, such as the wrong limb
  • Foreign objects, such as surgical instruments, left in the body
  • Failure to identify abnormalities during exploratory procedures
  • Avoidable damage to tissue, nerves and muscle
  • Hospital-acquired infections
  • Failure to manage an emergency situation appropriately
  • Inappropriate use of materials such as mesh, which can often lead to infections

If the patient believes that the risks involved with the operation weren’t adequately explained, and that they would have chosen not to proceed with surgery if they had been, then there may also be grounds for compensation if a complication occurs.

In some cases, issues arising from surgical negligence can be remedied with further operations, and a full recovery is possible. In other cases surgical negligence may lead to life-changing consequences, or even death.

Claiming compensation for surgical negligence

A financial award can only go so far in compensating an individual or their loved ones for the damage caused by surgical negligence, but it can help people deal with their injuries and any life adjustments.

If compensation is due, the size of the pay-out will be determined based on the severity of the injuries caused by the medical negligence.

The settlement can also cover any financial expenses that have come about as a result of the substandard surgical procedure. This may include the cost of any extra care required.

Success stories for negligent surgery

Negligent gall bladder removal surgery

Our client underwent gall bladder removal surgery (Cholecystectomy). During the operation, surgical error damaged the common hepatic duct causing bile to leak into our client’s abdomen. After receiving expert evidence, our client’s injuries were found to be caused by either diathermy cautery (heat used to seal blood vessels) used during the surgery or by a blunt trauma (from a surgical instrument). The medical expert advised that either way, the fact that the common hepatic duct was damaged would constitute negligent care.

Our client suffered bile peritonitis as a result of the injury and she was readmitted to hospital a few days later where she needed further surgery.

As a consequence of the surgical error, our client suffered abdominal pain, bloating, and risks of developing very serious complications later in life. Our client also suffered with PTSD and anxiety which impacted her overall quality of life.

Liability was partially admitted when a Defence was served and following a case management hearing at Court, the claim settled for £65,000.

Surgery conducted with inappropriate shoulder prosthetic leads to settlement

Mrs B underwent orthopaedic surgery at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (“RNOH”) in London under the care of Mr Simon Lambert, a specialist in the treatment of shoulder and elbow conditions. Mrs B was promised that the surgery would bring about improved stability and function in her damaged shoulder joint.

The shoulder prosthetic which was used in the surgery was both unregulated and untested in shoulders. The particular implant is known as PEEK, a synthetic plastic – an abbreviation for its full name ‘polyetheretherketone’.

RNOH’s investigations revealed that Mr Lambert was using PEEK in shoulder surgery from 2008 until around 2013. At least 20 patients were operated on using PEEK. It’s suspected that none of them were aware that the use of PEEK in shoulder surgery was unauthorised or untested at the time that they agreed to undergo surgery. The PEEK operations failed, for one reason or another, and these patients have had to undergo more surgery as a result. We know that some patients have had to undergo multiple revision surgeries, and have still been left with significant pain and mobility problems.

In Mrs B’s case, the implant went on to fail and she had further surgery. It was eventually removed two years later.

Mrs B instructed BBK to investigate her claim after she learned of the scandal surrounding the use of PEEK. Within 9 months of being instructed, Mrs B’s claim was settled without the need for Court Proceedings in the sum of £40,000. BBK has represented several Claimants who have brought successful claims against Mr Lambert for the use of PEEK.

Read our blog for more information on PEEK implants.