Surgery Negligence Compensation Claims

Surgery Negligence Claims*

It is likely that all of us will require some type of surgical intervention in our lives. The vast majority of these surgeries will proceed without incident. However, due to the inherent risks associated with surgery, sometimes things do go wrong. It is important to understand that just because something went wrong with your surgery, does not necessarily mean there was surgery malpractice* or that you have a surgery negligence claim*. Surgery, particularly emergency surgery, are complex matters where complications can arise, through no fault of your medical practitioners. That said, sometimes mistakes are made as a result of surgery malpractice* and in those circumstances, either you or your family may be entitled to bring a surgical negligence claim*.

What constitutes surgical negligence?*

Surgical negligence* arises where your surgeon or surgical team, fails to provide you with what is considered to be an acceptable standard of care and where you have sustained an injury as a result of that failure. The consequences of surgical mistakes for a patient can be severe. They can often lead to serious injuries, such as the perforation of organs, the onset of severe infections, such as sepsis, the requirement for further surgery or in tragic cases even the death of the patient. The most common surgical mistakes that our surgical negligence solicitors* see include:

  • Failure to perform surgery as a result to the misdiagnosis of the patient’s condition.
  • Performing surgery at the wrong site.
  • Carrying out unnecessary surgery as a result of misdiagnosis.
  • Perforation or damage to internal organs, such as the bladder, bowel, colon or spleen
  • Nerve damage.
  • Incorrect surgical procedure.
  • Leaving surgical instruments behind in surgery.
  • Failure to remove foreign objects in surgery.
  • The onset of infection such as sepsis, due to poor surgical aftercare.
  • Poor surgical results.
  • Anaesthetist errors.

What is the time limit for making a surgical negligence claim?*

Like all medical negligence claims*, the statute for bringing a surgical negligence claim* is two years from the date of knowledge of any potential negligence. However, the date of knowledge can vary depending on the individual circumstance of each case. Where a surgery is performed on the incorrect part of the body, say for example on the right knee, as opposed to the left knee, the mistake will almost immediately be noticeable to the patient. As such the statute limitations for any potential orthopaedic surgery claim* will be essentially two years from the date of surgery. However, in other circumstances, say for example surgery to remove a malignant tumour, the patient may not become aware of the mistake and the fact that they potentially have a surgical negligence claim* for a number of years.

Types of surgical negligence claims

As surgery covers a broad spectrum of procedures under a variety of specialities, so do the surgical negligence claims*. As medical negligence solicitors we often deal with cases arising from:

  • Cosmetic surgery.
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Gynaecological surgery.
  • Cardiac procedures.
  • Abdominal procedures.
  • Eye surgery.
  • Keyhole surgery/ Laparoscopic surgery.
  • Neurosurgery.

Cosmetic surgery claims*

Due to the lack of proper regulation in Ireland (Medical Practitioners Act 2007), cosmetic surgery can be performed by doctors other than those that have particular specialities in plastic or cosmetic surgery. It is, therefore, not surprising that some cosmetic surgery claims* are not uncommon. The most common cosmetic surgery claims* our medical negligence solicitors* deal with are:

  • A poor result or scarring from breast augmentation or breast reconstruction surgery.
  • Injuries or scarring as a result of varicose vein surgery.
  • Injury or scarring as a result of liposuction procedures.
  • Injury or scarring as a result of laser surgery.
  • Injury or scarring as a result of poor performance of facelifts.
  • Injury or scarring as a result of poor outcome from rhinoplasty.
  • Injury or scarring as a result of abdominoplasty.

Orthopaedic surgery claims

An orthopaedic surgeon is a medical professional who specialises in treating, musculoskeletal injuries. The musculoskeletal system includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves. The standard of Orthopaedic surgeons is very high, but occasionally negligent mistakes are made and in those occasions, a patient may have a statable orthopaedic surgery claim. Orthopaedic surgery claims arise out of:

  • Failing to perform the surgery correctly
  • Surgery being performed on the wrong site
  • Problems arising during hip, knee or elbow replacement
  • Nerve damage
  • Post-operative infection, such a sepsis
  • Leaving surgical equipment behind in surgery
  • Delay in diagnosis of congenital hip dysplasia/developmental hip dysplasia
  • The use of incorrect prosthesis
  • Delayed diagnosis of a fracture
  • Failing to carry out surgery in a timely manner

Gynaecological surgery claims

The most common gynaecological claims* arise out of poor standard of care during surgery. The main gynaecological claims* seen by our medical negligence solicitors* arise from:

  • Total abdominal hysterectomy surgery.
  • Pelvic floor surgery.
  • Sterilisation by laparoscopy.
  • Dilation and curettage surgery also known as D&C.

The injuries a woman can sustain due to negligent gynaecological surgery* are significant. They can result in a woman being left incontinent; sustaining injuries to her bladder, bowel or her uterus as a result of negligently performed hysterectomies; the loss of a woman’s opportunity to be able to bear children as a result of unnecessary hysterectomies being performed; women unnecessarily becoming pregnant as a result of failed sterilisation procedures; failure to appropriately diagnose a condition such as cervical cancer, which can have tragic results.

Abdominal surgery claims*

Abdominal surgery refers to surgical procedures done on a person’s abdominal region, to diagnose or treat a medical condition. Abdominal surgery is most commonly performed during Caesarean section; where a patient has a ruptured appendix; in hernia surgery; or to control internal bleeding. Abdominal surgery is particularly risky in those over 65 and it’s important that the patient fully understands the risks and benefits of the surgery The most common surgical negligence claims* arise in circumstances where the surgery is not performed in a timely manner or is performed negligently. The injuries a patient can sustain as a result of negligent abdominal surgery, vary from the patient’s appendix rupturing; the onset of sepsis; perforation of the colon, bowel or bladder; incontinency and other such injuries.

Eye surgery claims*

Eye surgery negligence claims* result from injuries sustained due to a breach of duty of care in the performance of eye surgery. Ophthalmic and laser eye surgery is a very delicate surgery which encapsulates cataract surgery, retinal surgery and Lasik surgery. The injuries a patient can sustain as a result of negligently performed eye surgery vary from pain and sensitivity, blurred or permanent loss of vision, or corneal scarring.

Keyhole surgery/Laparoscopic surgery claims*

Keyhole surgery is performed using a laparoscope, which is a tiny camera that is inserted into the body. The benefit of keyhole surgery is that it is performed without the need of large incisions, which reduces the level of surgery required and the recovery time. It is typically used in surgery carried out on vital organs, such as the gall bladder, the bowel and other reproductive systems. As such if it is performed negligently, it can result in severe injuries to the patient, to include, perforation of the bowel or bladder or a blood vessel. In such circumstances a patient may have a surgery negligence claim*.

Neurosurgery claims*

Neurosurgeons are doctors that diagnose and treat conditions related to the brain, spine and other parts of the nervous system. Neurosurgeons differ from neurologists in the fact that they are specifically trained to use surgical treatments. Neurologists treat a variety of neurological disorders including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries.
  • Tumours.
  • Stroke and TIAs.
  • Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and other inflammatory disorders of the nervous system.
  • Balance disorder, muscle weakness, pains and cramps.
  • Spinal surgery.

Given that neurosurgeons deal with injuries to the brain and spine, negligent care can have catastrophic results for the patient. The most common neurological surgery negligence claims* include:

  • Failure to diagnose a brain tumour.
  • Failure to diagnose or treat spinal conditions properly.
  • The misdiagnosis of subarachnoid haemorrhage.

Why choose Hanahoe & Hanahoe Solicitors?

Hanahoe & Hanahoe Solicitors have over 40 years experience and have particular expertise in surgical negligence claims*. We are a multiple award-winning law firm which is headed by our Managing Partner Luke Hanahoe. Luke Hanahoe leads our medical negligence claims* team. We have offices in Naas, Dublin, Maynooth and Portlaoise and offer advice to clients on surgical negligence claims from across the country. If you have a query in relation to surgical negligence or any medical negligence claim please feel free to contact us to talk to one of our expert medical negligence solicitors.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.