How To Make A Wrong Site Surgical Negligence Claim
By Daniel Archer. Last Updated 12th September 2022. Welcome to our guide on how to make wrong site surgical negligence claims.
If you have been a victim of medical negligence and have suffered from wrong site surgery then you are entitled to claim damages to compensate you for the pain and suffering you have experienced. We are all aware that surgery carries risks but if you go into an operating room expecting one thing and leave the operating room having undergone a completely different type of surgery or surgery on the wrong part of your body then this counts as surgical negligence.
If something like this has happened to you then please read on to find out more about what you can claim. If you decide that you would like to discuss your case further then please call us here at Legal Expert. We will be able to advise you whether your experience counts as medical negligence and explain how you can begin your compensation claim. Call us free on 0800 073 8804.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Wrong Site Surgical Negligence Claims
- What Are The Causes Of Wrong Site Surgery?
- Wrong Site Surgery Statistics
- What Are The Causes Of Wrong Site Surgery?
- Wrong Site Surgery Examples
- What Duty Of Care Are You Owed By Doctors And Surgeons?
- Am I Eligible To Claim Compensation For Wrong Site Surgery?
- Examples Wrong Site Surgery Cases
- What Injuries Could You Sustain Due To Wrong Site Surgery?
- What Can Wrong Site Surgery Claims Include?
- Medical Negligence Compensation Examples
- Claiming After Wrong Site Surgery With A No Win No Fee Solicitor
- Useful Links
Surgical mistakes can have devastating consequences for the patients involved. Not only do they need to process the fact that the surgery has been completed incorrectly but they may also need to go back into theatre to enable the surgeon to complete the procedure which should have been done initially. The impact of the surgical mistake could be life-changing if for example a healthy limb or organ has been removed or an irreversible procedure has been performed.
As a result of this traumatic incident, you could be able to make wrong site surgical negligence claims if it can be proved that somebody else was to blame for your injury. Pursuing wrong site surgical negligence compensation can be a complex process and we strongly suggest that you find legal representation to help you. If the impact of the injury is very serious, then you may need the compensation money to help with any adjustments you need to make in your life. You may become unable to work or may need ongoing help around the home.
Legal Expert has over 30 years of experience in the field of personal injury and are ready and waiting to help you with your wrong site surgical negligence case.
The wrong site surgery definition essentially describes a surgical procedure that has been undertaken on the wrong part of your body. It can also include instances where foreign objects remain inside your body following a surgical procedure. Although there is no strong defence against wrong site surgery, it can be a complex process to try and identify who is to blame and where the errors were made as part of wrong site surgical negligence claims.
The after-effects of wrong site surgery include not only the recovery from the surgery which was carried out but also future surgical procedures that may be needed to put the error right. The effects of this can be traumatic both physically and emotionally. In most cases you will need the help of a medical negligence solicitor who is experienced in dealing with cases like this to help you secure wrong site surgical negligence compensation.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) label wrong site surgery as a ‘never event’. A never event is a preventable and serious incident which would not occur if the proper procedures have been implemented. The occurrence of never events may indicate weaknesses within the safety frameworks of an organisation.
Surgery is understood to be a high risk procedure, which is why there are a number of safety protocols and policies in place, to protect the patient as much as possible. If preventive measures have not been carried out and you have suffered from a wrong site surgery error then you are eligible to claim wrong site surgical negligence.
The figures for 2021/22 tell us how many incidents of wrong site surgeries took place in NHS facilities across England. Between 1st April 2021 and 1st January 2022, there were 146 cases of wrong site surgery that were reported.
Whilst many of these incidents were one-off mistakes, some of the errors were made multiple times. For example, there were 39 cases of a nerve block at the wrong site. This is when a local anaesthetic is administered to the wrong part of the body. This was the most common form of wrong site surgery over this period of time.
There were also 14 cases of the wrong skin lesion being removed from the patient. You can see some of the other reported wrong site surgeries in the graph below.
Experiencing medical negligence can be not only deeply upsetting but infuriating, which may drive you to make wrong site surgical negligence claims. You may be asking yourself; why does wrong site surgery happen?
In response to this question, it is not always straightforward to establish the exact cause of wrong site surgery. However, common causes include GP negligence in which incorrect instructions have been sent to the hospital and passed on to the surgeon. If information from the GP is inaccurate this can lead to wrong site surgery being performed in the operating theatre.
Following an investigation, it may be established that the surgeon was negligent as they failed to make adequate checks before commencing the surgery. There are policies and procedures for the surgeons to follow in order to ensure that the procedure is carried out correctly. If the surgeon has failed to adhere to these guidelines then they may be at fault. The surgeon may also be found to be negligent if they have carried out the surgery inaccurately due to an incorrect judgement which caused an undesirable outcome for the patient.
Although never event treatment errors should not occur if procedures are followed correctly, human error or carelessness means that there are a high number of wrong site surgical negligence claims every year.
As we have discussed above there are a number of reasons that these treatment errors occur and it could be due to an error in the referral documentation, pre-operative errors or errors made by the surgeon whilst carrying out the surgery. If you have been injured as a result of wrong site surgical negligence then you may be eligible to receive wrong site surgical negligence compensation.
Here are some wrong site surgery examples:
- Carrying out surgery on a healthy limb. This can include arms, hands, fingers, toes, knees and legs.
- Completing surgery on a healthy organ. Compensation for negligence has been claimed previously as a result of surgery being performed on the wrong lung, intestine and kidney.
- Carrying out wrong site surgery on the reproductive organs of women with cases involving the womb, ovaries, fallopian tubes and cervix.
- Removal of the wrong breast in surgery involving mastectomy.
- Carrying out surgery on a healthy bone or healthy arteries and blood vessels, nerves or ducts.
- Patients have also claimed compensation for a perforated bowel if surgical negligence was involved.
Unfortunately, in wrong site surgery cases, the patient often has to undergo further surgery to correct the mistakes that have been made and complete the procedure that should have been carried out in the first place. This can put their health at further risk and emotionally can be very traumatic. It may also mean longer recovery times and a greater loss of income as a result. In the worst case scenario, wrong site surgery can even lead to the death of a loved one.
Organisations such as the CQC and World Health Organization (WHO) work tirelessly to try and prevent wrong site surgical negligence. The WHO has produced a checklist to be used in surgery to try and avoid any further harm occurring as a result of wrong site surgery. These WHO guidelines state the following:
- Any organisations carrying out surgery must appoint an executive and a clinical lead to ensure that the surgical safety checklist is completed.
- Patients must be kept fully informed about their procedure, what it entails and what the risks and side effects may be. Once the patient has fully understood all of the information they must sign a consent form.
- The surgeon should clearly mark the area which is to be operated on prior to the surgery. Any healthcare professionals involved in the procedure should make themselves aware of the patient’s medical history, including any allergies. The surgical team should discuss exactly what will happen during the operation and should all fully understand the specific needs of the patient.
If it can be proved that any aspect of these pre-operative checks were not carried out appropriately then surgeons may find themselves subject to wrong site surgical negligence claims. To learn more about how to get the wrong site surgical negligence compensation you deserve, please read on.
If you have experienced wrong site surgery (such as the wrong leg being amputated) UK time limits can vary slightly. There can be many causes of wrong site surgery, but the cause shouldn’t affect your eligibility to receive compensation.
If you’ve suffered due to an instance of wrong site surgery then generally, you have 3 years from the date of the incident to make your claim. This is stated in the Limitation Act 1980.
However, there can be instances where this time limit is suspended. For example, with claims involving children, the time limit only begins once they turn 18 years old. Before they reach adulthood, they are not legally permitted to pursue their own claim. However, a litigation friend is allowed to be appointed to do so on the behalf of the injured child.
If the injured party has a reduced mental capacity, a litigation friend claiming on their behalf is their only option if they wish to receive compensation. However, if they recover, they can pursue their own claim. The date they recover is also the start of their 3-year time limit. Before then, the litigation friend can claim without time constraints.
Get in touch with our advisors today if you have any questions.
In order to help you to understand whether or not you could make wrong site surgical negligence claims, some illustrative examples may be useful. In cases like these, the patients would almost certainly be able to prove malpractice liability for wrong site surgery.
Case A: in a situation where a vasectomy was carried out mistakenly then the first thing to do would be to find out why the mistake had happened. One possible cause could be if the running order of the operating theatre had been altered without the knowledge of the surgical team. In this case, the nursing staff who altered the running order may be held liable. The surgical team however would also need to accept some responsibility if they did not properly confirm the identity of the patient before beginning the surgery. Performing a vasectomy on a man who did not require this surgery would be extremely emotionally and physically traumatic. It could have a devastating impact on a person’s life. In a case like this it is clear that procedures and protocols have not been followed and there has been obvious negligence.
Case B: Let’s take an example of a person attending a hospital with a back problem. It is recommended that the patient undergoes surgery to repair discs in his back which are causing pain and discomfort in his neck arm and hand. Following surgery the patient loses all feeling in his arm and following investigation finds out that the surgeon operated on the wrong part of his spine, consequently damaging the root of a nerve. The patient then permanently loses the ability to use his arm properly. Although the patient believed that the procedure would be straightforward, the surgical team were negligent in carrying out wrong site surgery. This patient would certainly be eligible to make a personal injury claim.
Case C: in the case of heart surgery, a straightforward procedure can become very serious if even a minor mistake is made. In a patient who is receiving cardiac ablation surgery, if the radio energy is not directed to exactly the right place then this can have serious implications for the heart and may result in a permanent need for a cardiac pacemaker. A patient with a permanent pacemaker then requires further surgery every 7 years to replace the battery. What begins as minor surgery could turn into a lifelong reliance on surgeons. In a case of medical negligence such as this, a large payout would be expected.
For more information on how to determine your eligibility for wrong site surgical negligence compensation, please read on.
Surgery is not without risks and as a patient we put all of our trust in the clinical expertise of the surgical team. However, even the smallest of errors can lead to serious health implications. Some of the injuries you may sustain as a result of wrong site surgery can include:
- Removal of a healthy organ
- Surgery being performed on the wrong part of your body
- Severe health implications caused by performing surgery at the wrong site.
- Exacerbation of your current symptoms as a result of wrong site surgery.
- Removal of a healthy body part during an amputation procedure.
If any of these injuries were sustained as a result of medical negligence, you could be able to make wrong site surgical negligence compensation claims.
Your wrong site surgical negligence claims can include a number of different types of compensation. In general, you may be able to claim for the following in the form of wrong site surgical negligence compensation:
General damages. General damages include compensation for any pain and suffering that you have experienced. If you have been subject to wrong site surgery and have been required to undergo further surgery to correct the mistake then you are likely to have experienced a high level of pain and suffering. This also covers any psychological injuries you have experienced as a result of medical negligence. Depending on your individual circumstances you may have been subjected to a huge amount of emotional distress, which may be ongoing for many years.
Medical expenses. As part of your personal injury claim, you may wish to seek medical expenses if you have been left out of pocket by the costs of medical care. This can include any therapies that you have undertaken as part of your recovery and any prescription costs that you have had to pay as a result of your injuries.
Travel expenses. If you have incurred travel expenses, perhaps as a result of attending medical appointments then you can claim these back assuming you have invoices or receipts to prove the journeys you have taken.
Care costs. If you have required help around the house while you have been recovering from the injuries you incurred as a result of somebody else’s negligence then the person caring for you may be able to claim care costs.
Loss of earnings. If you have suffered a loss of earnings because you have been unable to go to work following your injuries then you can claim back the money that you have lost. If the injuries that you have occurred as a result of wrong site surgical negligence mean that you will be unable to work for a long time or may be unable to continue in your current career then you may also be able to claim for loss of future earnings.
If you have been injured then you may be looking for a medical negligence compensation calculator to work out how much money you may be eligible to receive. Whilst personal injury claims calculators may be useful in getting a rough idea of how much you will be entitled to receive in damages, this is no real substitute for speaking to a personal injury expert.
If you would like to speak further about how much wrong site surgical negligence compensation you may be able to receive then please call Legal Expert and we can look into the details of your case and give you a more accurate idea.
Type of Injury Details Compensation
Amputation of Both Legs £240,790 to £282,010
Amputation below the knee Loss of one leg below the knee. £201,490 to £270,100
Amputation of Both Feet £169,400 to £201,490
Amputation of a full arm Loss of one arm at the shoulder. Not less than £137,160
Amputation above the knee Loss of one leg above the knee. £104,830 to £137,470
Amputation above the elbow Loss of one arm below the shoulder. £109,650 to £130,930
Amputation of One Foot £83,960 to £109,650
Amputation below the elbow Loss of one lower arm. £96,160 to £109,650
Amputation of index and middle/ring finger Hand rendered effectively useless or of little use £61,910 to £90,750
This table will give you an idea of the amount that you can get as part of wrong site surgical negligence claims if you have suffered the amputation of a limb as a result of wrong site surgical negligence.
Claiming after wrong site surgery with a No Win No Fee solicitor may benefit you if you would like legal representation without paying any upfront costs. Solicitors that offer you a Conditional Fee Agreement, which is a form of No Win No Fee arrangement, usually won’t ask for any fees upfront or whilst the claims process is underway.
Furthermore, if your medical negligence claim is unsuccessful, the onus is not on you to pay your solicitor for their services. However, if you are awarded surgical negligence compensation, a success fee is deducted from your settlement by your solicitor. To avoid any excess charges, this fee is capped per the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013.
If you would like to work with one of our expert medical negligence solicitors on a No Win No Fee basis, feel free to get in touch the following ways and our advisors could connect you:
- Give us a call for free on our 24/7 advice line at 0800 073 8804
- Fill out your details in our online claim form and we’ll call you back
- Pop up to an online claims advisor using our free live chat service
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