Surgery has evolved considerably in recent decades. Procedures which were unthinkable even ten years ago are now routinely provided, allowing us to live longer lives.
It is now possible to operate on babies in-vitro, and even replace heart valves using minimally invasive methods (referred to as a TAVI procedure). And in turn, as people live longer, surgeons are now faced with ever more complex health problems. While most surgeons do all they can to protect the health of their patients, there are always risks, and occasionally problems can occur.
Much has been done to mitigate the possibility of errors before, during, and after surgery, including protocols to ensure the correct surgical site is made clear, the patient is identified, the procedure type is confirmed before proceeding, and accounting for the use of surgical supplies and instruments (to avoid the possibility of foreign objects being left inside the body).
What constitutes surgical negligence?
Surgical error can occur in a range of medical settings and may include:
- Performing surgery on the incorrect part of the body or patient
- Unnecessary damage caused during surgery
- Lack of care
- Failure to effectively control blood loss
- Leaving foreign objects inside the body
- Nerve damage
- Perforation of organs
- Poorly administered anaesthesia
- Failure to follow recommended practice
- Operating when it is not safe to do so – e.g. when the surgeon is tired, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Incorrect medication (type or dose)
It is important to distinguish between adverse outcomes or events during surgery due to negligence, and those that may occur due to the nature and complexity of the operation. As such, not every surgery during which there is a problem will be classified as negligence.
If you are unsure whether your case, or that of a family member or loved one, constitutes negligence by a surgeon, please contact one of our specialist surgery negligence solicitors today. We will take the time to listen to the details of your concerns in a respectful and caring manner and provide an open and honest assessment of whether you might be able to bring a claim for recourse.
Why does negligent surgery occur?
Medical negligence may occur for a number of possible reasons including insufficient staff, tiredness due to excess hours, insufficient skills and/or experience, insufficient supervision, lack of correct tools or equipment, ineffective communication, poor procedures (e.g. poor sterilising processes leading to infection), or lack of planning.
Can I bring a claim for surgical negligence?
To bring a claim for surgical negligence, it will be necessary to provide evidence that:
- The surgeon, anaesthetist, or other healthcare professional involved in your care performed their duty in a way that was below a satisfactory standard (i.e. that another surgeon or healthcare professional would not have made the same error), and;
- This negligence caused you damage or injury.
To prove your case, we will compile evidence, including medical or care records, and seek expert medical opinion.
What may a pressure sore injury medical negligence claim cover?
Claims following surgical negligence may cover two areas of loss:
- Pain and suffering due to the injury; and
- Specific costs resulting from the injury caused. This may cover costs already incurred, such as transport, accommodation, and medical treatment, and expected future expenses, such as physical therapy and care costs.
The costs you receive will be based on the precise injuries suffered and the circumstances of the case.
How Lavelle Partners can assist you in bringing a claim
- Lavelle Partners have successfully managed many cases of surgical negligence.
- Our personal injury team, headed by partner, Avril Scally, who herself has over 15 years’ experience in medical negligence claims, place client care at the centre of everything they do.
- From the first moment you speak to one of our solicitors, we will listen to your case carefully and with empathy and will only recommend advancing your case if we believe you have a valid case.
- We have both the legal expertise and understanding of the real-life challenges faced by individuals and their families following such events.
- Our solicitors will manage the process entirely on your behalf; compiling the information necessary for your case, including medical notes and managing the submission of your medical negligence claim.
By allowing us to handle your claim on your behalf, you can focus on what is most important, your recovery and care, or that of your family member or loved one.
For further information on making a claim for injury due to surgical negligence in Ireland, please contact Lavelle Partners in confidence on (01) 644 5800 or email Avril Scally at [email protected]
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with RE.8 of SI 518 of 2002.