By Mark Ainsdale. Last updated 15th July 2021. Welcome to our operation gone wrong claims guide. Have you suffered operation gone wrong negligence? Would you like to seek compensation for your suffering via a failed operation claim?
When you have an operation, you would be advised of all the risks of the surgery you’re undergoing. But what if a mistake is made and an operation has gone wrong due to negligence by the medical practitioner or surgical team that is supposed to be looking after your care?
In this operation gone wrong claims guide, we will explain how you can claim the maximum compensation you deserve. Additionally, we take a look at how to go about making an operation gone wrong claim, giving you all the information you may need to find out whether you could be eligible for compensation for a botched surgery. If you have found yourself in a situation where you have suffered harm due to medical negligence in surgery, you may find the guidance here useful.
If you would like to get advice about your specific situation, the team here at Medical Negligence Assist would be happy to help. To discuss failed operation claims, you can reach us on 0800 652 3087. However, we would urge you to take a look through our operation gone wrong claims guide. From there, you can learn more about making this type of operation gone wrong negligence claim.
Select A Section
- A Guide On Operation Gone Wrong Compensation Claims
- What Are Operation Gone Wrong Claims?
- How Could Operations Go Wrong?
- Negligence Leading To An Operation Going Wrong
- Injuries Caused By Surgery Being Carried Out On The Wrong Site
- Injuries Caused By Unnecessary Surgeries
- How Could Hospitals Prevent Operations Going Wrong?
- Time Limits In Which To Claim For An Operation Gone Wrong
- Calculating What You Could Claim
- No Win No Fee Claims For An Operation Which Has Gone Wrong
- Contact Us To Make A Surgical Negligence Claim
- Where Could I Learn More?
Have you undergone cosmetic surgery that has gone wrong in the UK? Or has a routine caesarean section, hip operation or gallbladder operation gone wrong due to surgical negligence? Have you suffered harm as a result of this? Has it impinged your recovery, led you to require more invasive treatment, or worse, left you with further injuries?
Sure have a duty to provide safe and effective care for you. If you have suffered from private or NHS negligence during surgery that has caused you harm, you could be eligible to claim medical negligence payouts for the avoidable harm you’ve suffered and the financial costs arising from this.
The sections below in this failed operation claims guide offers answers to common questions that could arise from operations that have gone horribly wrong. We look at what to do if an operation goes wrong, the steps that hospitals should put in place to avoid mistakes in surgery, and how you could make an operation gone wrong claim if you’ve been injured due to surgical negligence. We also look at how utilising the services of a personal injury lawyer could be beneficial when claiming for surgical error.
While you would have signed a consent form for an operation that detailed all the risks from undergoing surgery, if a surgeon makes an error and you are harmed because of this, you could be eligible to claim compensation for an operation gone wrong.
What Is Surgical Error?
A surgical error is, essentially, something that goes wrong in surgery. A surgical error could be caused by several factors and could affect patients in many different ways.
For example, surgical errors could include:
- Surgeries at the wrong site
- Unnecessary surgeries
- Leaving surgical instruments inside you
- Performing incorrect surgery
- Administering the incorrect injection
- Using the wrong port site
- Operating on the wrong patient
- Avoidable nerve damage
- Failure to manage minor complications
- Using the wrong implant/prosthesis
- Also using the wrong stent
- Misplacing tubes
- Transfusing the wrong blood
- And more….
Operations could go wrong in a variety of different ways. If a surgeon or surgical team makes an error during your surgery, this could be due to:
- Neglect – If a surgeon is complacent when carrying out your surgery, it could lead to surgical error.
- Fatigue – If a surgeon is fatigued, this could lead to a loss of concentration at a critical point in your operation, and this could lead to an error being made.
- Poor communication – If the surgical team do not communicate adequately while your surgery is being carried out, this could lead to an operation going wrong.
- Lack of planning – If contingency planning was not properly executed before you went into surgery, the smallest of complications could lead to something going seriously wrong.
- Incompetence – If a surgeon is not competent at the operation they’re carrying out, this could lead to a surgical error.
This is not an exhaustive list for situations causing a failed operation claim. And sometimes, an operation gone wrong claim could be brought for a different reason or a combination of the reasons above. If you believe that surgical negligence has led to your operation going wrong, which has caused you avoidable harm, you could be eligible to make operation gone wrong claims for a botched surgery.
Here, we take a look at some examples of how operation gone wrong negligence could occur.
Complications caused by the surgical procedures -If a surgeon were to forget a small part of a complex procedure or fail to plan for common complications, this could lead to a patient suffering severe harm.
Mistakes with anaesthetics – The dose of anaesthesia that a patient requires should be calculated carefully to ensure that the patient is appropriately anaesthetised. Overdosing or underdosing of anaesthesia could have serious consequences, leading to problems such as a patient being awake during surgery or having their breathing compromised, for example. Poor monitoring of anaesthesia could also lead to complications during surgery.
Misdiagnosis leading to surgery that was not necessary – If a misdiagnosis has been made and the patient undergoes unnecessary surgery, this could leave them with complications from the surgery and scarring that could have been avoidable.
Negligence in cosmetic procedures – Errors in cosmetic procedures could also cause problems, such as scarring, infection and more.
The type of negligence you would be required to prove could fall into one of four categories:
- Gross Negligence – This could be considered the most serious type of negligence. This could include cases where the patient’s safety has been completed disregarded. Cases of this type could, in some cases, lead to a surgeon losing their licence.
- Contributory Negligence – Sometimes, it could be found that the patient has contributed to medical negligence. It may be difficult for claimants to get compensation for cases that fall into this category.
- Comparative Negligence – In these cases, the patient may be partly at fault for the problem, but the surgeon would also share the blame. Compensation could still be awarded for cases in this category, but it may be lower to reflect a patient’s share of the blame.
- Vicarious Liability – Cases where the hospital, whether private or NHS, are found to be liable for their employees.
To learn more about operation gone wrong claims, please read on.
One type of error that could lead to an operation gone wrong claim could include a case where the surgery was carried out on the wrong site. Wrong-site surgeries resulting in a failed operation claim would be classed as NHS ‘never events’. This means that the NHS has placed procedures to ensure that these incidents ‘never’ happen.
However, according to the NHS, 423 never events occurred between April 2018 and January 2019. 165 of these were wrong-site surgeries. These included:
- 16 instances where the wrong skin lesion was removed
- 31 instances where there was a wrong site block
- 9 instances where a spinal injection was administered to the wrong side
- 3 instances where an angioplasty was performed on the wrong side
- 3 instances where ovaries were removed in error
- And more…
If you were harmed because of this type of surgical negligence – for example, where ovaries were removed could result in infertility – you could consider launching a claim for an operation that went wrong. Compensation could be claimed for your pain and suffering, both physical and mental, as well as financial costs and losses associated with such an event.
Having surgery comes with risks, so if you have undergone surgery and later found that it was unnecessary, you may have been put at risk for no good reason. So, for this type of operation gone wrong claim, unnecessary surgery could include:
- Surgeries that were unnecessary because of misdiagnosis
- An inappropriate procedure leading to a requirement for further surgery
- A failure to consider non-surgical options
Examples of surgeries that were performed unnecessarily could be seen in the Ian Paterson enquiry related to a breast surgeon convicted of unlawful wounding. Paterson performed breast surgeries on women who did not require them after convincing them that it was the appropriate treatment.
The NHS has put policies and frameworks for never events, which are meant to be used by NHS Trusts across the country to ensure that patient safety is not compromised. These measures aim to reduce operation gone wrong negligence and the impacts that result.
When a never event is identified, it should be fully investigated through the Serious Incident Framework. This should be an investigation that meaningfully involves patients, their families and their carers throughout. And that might open the door towards filing a failed operation claim.
The never event should also be reported to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) and the Strategic Executive Information System (StEIS). Modafinil (Provigil, Modvigil, Allertec, Modalert) is a central nervous system stimulant that is taken to treat sleep disorders and excessive daytime sleepiness (narcolepsy). It is sometimes prescribed as an adjunct to reduce the symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and depression.
Board-level members of the trust should analyse why and how the never event occurred and then put in place actions to reduce the risk of the never event recurring measurably. Failure to report a never event could be a breach of the CQC (Care Quality Commission) regulations.
However, all healthcare providers should take several robust and stringent measures to ensure that patient safety is not compromised. The CQC and include document these fundamental standards:
- Patients must have care and treatment that meets and is tailored to their preferences and needs
- Patients must be treated with respect and dignity
- Patients or their representatives must give consent before treatment
- Patients must not be given unsafe care (this includes having their treatment risk assessed and ensuring staff are qualified, competent and skilled)
- Patients must not be neglected or abused
- Providers must only employ competent, qualified and experienced staff to ensure standards are met
- Providers should carry out proper checks on work history and criminal records on staff
- Premises and equipment must be suitable, safe and clean
A provider and a surgeon’s actions to protect your safety in surgery could differ depending on the type of surgery you are undergoing. However, the above standards should always dictate how you should be treated. To learn more about operation gone wrong claims, please read on.
Whether you have suffered harm from private or NHS negligence, there would be a personal injury claims time limit that would apply to your case. However, when making an operation gone wrong claim, the date when the time limitation period starts could vary, depending on when you found out that the operation went wrong and caused you harm.
While some people may be immediately aware that the surgery went wrong and had caused them problems, other acts of surgical negligence may only be noticed as time goes on. If, for example, you have had a knee operation gone wrong, you may not know that this has caused you harm until the injury has partially healed and is still causing you problems.
The usual time limit for making a medical claim would be three years from either the date of the negligence or the date of discovery that negligence had harmed you. However, some other exceptions could relate to surgeries performed when you were a child or in cases where the patient does not have the physical or mental capacity to claim at the time.
Please do call us if you are unsure of the specific limitation period for your operation gone wrong claim. We’d be happy to look into this for you so that you can file a failed operation claim.
If you’ve suffered harm from a private or NHS operation gone wrong, you may be curious about how much negligent surgery compensation you could be eligible for, and you may have looked for a negligence compensation calculator to provide this information to you. Below, instead of including such a calculator, we have compiled a table containing figures taken from the Judicial College Guidelines.
These figures could act as an alternative to a personal injury claims calculator and give approximate payout brackets for certain injuries, which we believe could relate to this type of medical negligence claim. If you cannot see the specific injury you’ve experienced here, then we could give you further information over the phone once we’ve taken some details of the injuries you’ve suffered.
Updated July 2021.
|Type of Injury||Notes||Compensation Bracket|
|Total deafness||With no tinnitus or speech impediment||£85,170 to £102,890|
|Loss of sight||In one eye, where there could be a risk of opthalmia (sympathetic)||£46,240 to £51,460|
|Male Impotence||Permanent loss. Claimant would have children already.||£40,370 to £73,580|
|Female loss of fertility||Via disease or injury, resulting in anxiety, depression and pain.||£107,810 to £158,970|
|Hernias||Where physical activities, sport and work activities are limited even after the hernia has been repaired.||£13,970 to £22,680|
|Injuries to the Bladder||Some incontinence and serious impaired control. Pain could be present.||£60,050 to £75,010|
|Injuries to Bowels||Requirement for colostomy - loss of function.||Up to £140,870|
|Injuries to Kidneys||With a risk of a future urinary tract infection, or function loss of kidneys||up to £60,050|
|Facial disfigurement||Scarring that is very severe which leaves a disfiguring effect and severe psychological reaction.||£27,940 to £91,350|
|Facial disfigurement||Scarring that is less severe where there is still substantial disfigurement and significant level of psychological reaction.||£16,860 to £45,440|
|Facial scarrying||Significant levels of scarring which were reduced by surgery but where there is still some residual cosmetic disability.||£8,550 to £28,240|
It would be prudent of us to advise you that the above amounts relate to general damages for operation gone wrong claims, which are payouts for the suffering and pain of the injuries you’ve sustained.
However, you could also receive special damages to compensate you for any financial harm you’ve suffered because your surgery has gone wrong, in addition to amounts such as those included in the table above. These special damages could include care costs, travel costs, medical costs, loss of earnings and other impacts from suffering operation gone wrong negligence.
Whether you have suffered harm from NHS negligence when an operation went wrong, or you were injured due to private surgery gone wrong, you may wish to seek out a medical negligence solicitor’s assistance when it comes to making a personal injury claim for medical malpractice in surgery.
Using the services of a personal injury lawyer would be something we would recommend, as this could help make the process easier for you at a time when you may still be recovering from an operation gone wrong.
Did you know that you could retain the services of a medical negligence lawyer without having to pay legal fees upfront? With lawyers who work on a No Win No Fee basis, you need to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement to pay the lawyer a percentage of your payout as a success fee once your failed operation claim pays out.
The percentage you’d agree to pay can only be a small, legally capped percentage of your compensation, and this would only be payable if your lawyer were able to get you a payout, of course. If your personal injury solicitor couldn’t achieve a payout for you but had a valid claim, you wouldn’t have to pay a success fee.
Have you suffered operation gone wrong negligence? Would you like to seek compensation for your suffering?
For more specific guidance on making an operation gone wrong claim, why not contact our team? We could offer you a free assessment of your case to see if we think you could be eligible to make a personal injury claim for a botched operation. If we think you could claim, we could connect you with a medical negligence solicitor who could help you begin a compensation claim.
Operation Gone Wrong Claims FAQs
What is an operation gone wrong?
Cases of an operation gone wrong can vary dramatically. The NHS refers to these incidents as Never Events, which are surgical errors that are entirely preventable and due to negligence. Incidents range from anything like incorrect blood transfusions to wrong-site surgeries or even wrong-patient surgeries.
What is surgical negligence?
Surgical negligence occurs when surgeons fail to uphold their duty of care to their patients due to not following professional guidelines.
Can I make a medical negligence claim?
Typically, you can claim if your situation meets the following criteria:
- The surgeon or hospital in question owed you a duty of care
- Which they failed to uphold
- And you suffered some damage as a result
How long do I have to claim?
Most personal injury claims, including those made for medical negligence and surgery claims, have time limits of 3 years. This is effective 3 years from the date of the accident or the date of knowledge. But the claims process itself may last far beyond the final date of the time limit.
How much could I claim?
As every case is different, surgical error claims are valued based on their unique circumstances. Therefore, there’s no way of estimating what type of payout you could be entitled to without learning more about your situation and how much you suffered as a result.
Could I claim on behalf of someone else?
Yes, this is called acting as a litigation friend. If the claimant is unable to make legal proceedings themselves, you could do so on their behalf.
Do I need a personal injury lawyer?
No, there isn’t any technical requirement that you need to have a lawyer to claim. However, having one could help you get the compensation you deserve.
How can I contact Medical Negligence Assist?
Please refer to our contact section or use our live chat for an instant message back about a failed operation claim.
Here are some further resources relating to operation gone wrong claims:
- NHS Improvement Never Events – Here, you can see the provisional never event report from 1st April 2018 to 31st Jan 2019.
- NHS Never Event Policy And Framework – Here, you can read the never event policy and framework in full.
- Preventable Patient Harm Report – BMJ – The British Medical Journal published an article in 2019 about the prevalence, nature and severity of preventable patient harm.
- Surgical Claims – Here, you can see more information on claiming for surgical errors.
- Hospital Negligence – You can read our general guide on making hospital negligence claims here.
- Medical Negligence Calculator – Here, you can read more about how medical negligence compensation is calculated.
Thanks for reading our operation gone wrong claims guide, where we’ve hopefully explained how you could claim compensation after suffering operation gone wrong negligence.
Written by Jo.
Edited by LisM.
Please get in touch if you need to make an operation gone wrong claim/failed operation claim.