Surgical Error Claims

Surgical Mistakes - Making a Medical Negligence Claim

The cost of a surgical error to a patient can be both physical and financial. Life changing injuries as a result of medical negligence could mean ongoing treatment and the need for specialist equipment, both of which can prove expensive. You should have the means to pay for whatever is required to assist and ease your discomfort.

Surgical error claims

That is where a surgical error compensation claim can help.

Coping With The Effects Of A Surgical Error

While it is normal in the UK for surgical procedures to pass off without incident, there are occasions when complications do arise. Although events like this are rare and not necessarily the fault of the medical staff involved, mistakes can be made, leading to surgical error.

Coping with the results of a surgical mistake can be a difficult and distressing experience. That is why a consultation with a legal professional, who has a track record in such matters and can help you understand the options available to you with regards to a surgical error claim, is highly recommended.

What Surgical Errors Can You Claim Compensation For?

If you have suffered an injury during a procedure as a result of medical negligence, you could be entitled to compensation. Examples of surgical errors you might be able can claim for include:

Anaesthetic Awareness

Anaesthetic awareness occurs as a result of an error on the part of the anaesthetist and leads to a level of awareness during the procedure. This can manifest as a memory of what happened, experiencing pain during the surgery, or being fully aware and conscious of the pain but unable to move and alert anybody to the fact. It can lead to ongoing and debilitating psychological issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Brain Damage

A brain injury can occur when the supply of oxygen is either partially or completely cut off. The level of deprivation and length of time for which it lasts has a direct effect on the seriousness of any resulting condition. The interruption in the flow of oxygen to the brain can occur as a result of surgical error, where a medical professional has failed to fulfil their duty of care and neglected to make the correct observations during a procedure. This can lead to cognitive, physical and psychological issues, varying in both the severity and the degree of impairment.

Cosmetic Surgery Issues

With the growing number of people undergoing some form of cosmetic procedure, issues arising from surgical errors in this area are on the increase. Botched cosmetic surgery, through the negligent actions of the surgeon or other healthcare professionals, can result in nerve damage, excessive and unsightly scarring and a number other painful and sometimes crippling conditions.

Damage To Vital Organs

Damage to vital organs can occur in cases of invasive surgery where the organ is accidently cut or punctured by either external or other means, which can lead to internal bleeding, infections and a variety of other serious conditions that require further emergency surgery. Organ damage can also occur if the patient is deprived of oxygen, often from an incorrect dosage of anaesthetic. Dependent upon the vital organ that is damaged, the patient can suffer varying degrees of debilitating and serious conditions that require ongoing treatment to effectively manage.

A key tenet of the medical handbook is ensuring the patient gives informed consent for any surgery where they have the capacity to voluntarily do so. Obtaining informed consent means that the person undergoing the surgical procedure has made a decision based on the information given to them by the medical professional. This should include what the surgery involves, the benefits and the risks, any alternative procedures or treatments available and what is likely to happen if the surgery does not go ahead. Failure to effectively convey this information before undertaking the procedure is an act of medical negligence and, if it has detrimental consequences (amputation, for instance), can mean a lifetime of inconvenience, pain or even death.

Infection Of Wounds

Although, following any operation, there is a risk of infection to the wound, medical professionals are duty bound to mitigate this risk by maintaining good hygiene standards throughout. This includes ensuring that hands are washed or scrubbed with anti-bacterial gel between procedures and using sterile instruments throughout. Staff must also be capable of detecting if a wound has become infected during postoperative care, enabling them to treat it accordingly. Failure to maintain the required standards of hygiene or spot signs of contamination can have devastating consequences, with infections spreading throughout the body, putting the patient at risk of developing a fatal condition.

Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopic surgery, otherwise known as minimally invasive or keyhole surgery, involves performing an operation through small incisions in the body, cut a distance from the site of the actual procedure, with small cameras inserted to enable the surgeon to perform the work via a monitor. The delicate nature of these procedures mean that a high degree of skill is required to prevent surgical error, which can occur if a small, unintentional nick goes unnoticed and is left untreated. This can lead to further complications such as infections and internal bleeding.

Nerve Damage

Due to the proximity in which surgeons operate with regards to the vital nerve endings within your body, nerve damage is one of more common conditions associated with surgical error. Failure to adhere to the correct surgical techniques or perform necessary monitoring can result in damage to the patient's nerves, which, in turn, can affect the nervous system, leading to wide array of problems and physical impairments.

Retained Surgical Instruments

A retained surgical instrument is an item which, through surgical error, has been left inside the body of a patient. This might be anything from a surgical swab to a scalpel and can mean further operations, infections, internal damage and life-threatening complications.

Making a Surgical Error Claim

The compensation you may be entitled to from a surgical error claim can go a long way towards ensuring you have the support and treatment you need to either manage or remedy a resulting condition. A claim can also raise awareness of the problem, minimising the risk of it happening again.

You have 3 years from either the date of when the surgical error took place, or the date of when the resulting condition was diagnosed, to make a claim.

Has Your Life Been Affected by a Surgical Error?

If you have been affected by a surgical error that has damaged your quality of life, caused you pain and left you physically, psychologically or financially disadvantaged, then you should seek independent legal advice to determine whether there is a case of medical negligence.

With a team specialised in obtaining justice for victims of surgical mistakes, Simpson Millar has the expertise and the experience to ensure you get the best chance of obtaining the compensation you are entitled to.


If you have been victim of medical negligence you could be entitled to compensation. Call our medical negligence solicitors today on Freephone: 0808 129 3320 or use our free, no obligation, online enquiry form to register for a call back.


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Emma Costin - Director of Complex Personal Injury - Bristol

Emma Costin
Director of Complex Personal Injury

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