Retained Foreign Object Compensation Claims Explained

This guide looks at retained foreign object compensation claims. We explain when it could be possible to seek medical negligence compensation after suffering avoidable harm from foreign items being left inside your body because a medical professional did not provide the correct standard of care.

retained foreign object

Retained Foreign Object Compensation Claims Explained

After laying out the eligibility criteria for a medical negligence claim, we discuss the evidence you could gather to strengthen your case, and how a No Win No Fee solicitor could assist you.

Additionally, this guide provides examples of how a surgical error could occur and the effects it could cause. Furthermore, we discuss what medical negligence compensation payouts could comprise, how they aim to address the way you have been affected by a surgical error, and how they are calculated. 

You can learn more about surgery negligence claims by making a call to our advisors. They can answer any questions you have relating to seeking compensation and can provide a no-obligation cost-free assessment of your eligibility to proceed with your case. You can get in touch 24/7 using the contact details below:

Select A Section

  1. Retained Foreign Object Compensation Claims Explained
  2. Retained Foreign Object Injuries
  3. How Do You Show You Were Harmed By Surgical Negligence?
  4. Compensation Settlements For Retained Foreign Object Claims
  5. How No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Solicitors Could Help You
  6. Learn More About Getting Compensation For A Retained Foreign Object

Retained Foreign Object Compensation Claims Explained

Medical professionals, including those involved in surgery, hold a duty of care towards their patients. They are required to give the correct standard of care. Failure to do so could lead to an error that results in the patient suffering avoidable harm. 

Sometimes, there may be an intentionally retained foreign object left behind. For example, a cavity wound might be packed with gauze, which is then removed later on. Leaving foreign objects inside a patient’s body unintentionally is often classed as a Never Event, which the NHS defines as a serious incident that is wholly preventable and should never happen.

A surgical error leading to a retained material or object in the body is likely to be a breach of the medical professional’s duty of care. However, it can only lead to a medical negligence claim if you can show that:

  • A medical professional owed you a duty of care.
  • They breached this duty by failing to provide the correct standard of care.
  • This breach led to you suffering unnecessary and avoidable harm.

Time Limits To Make A Claim

Medical negligence claims must be submitted within the legal time limit. Due to the Limitation Act 1980, this means you generally have three years from the date the surgery negligence occurred to start legal proceedings. The time can alternatively start from the date of knowledge, which is when you realised that a medical professional breached their duty of care and you suffered avoidable harm as a result. 

There are some exceptions to the time limit that can apply in certain circumstances. To find out more about these and learn how long you have to begin your retained foreign object claim, please contact an advisor on the number above. Our team can also provide further guidance on the eligibility criteria and help you understand whether you’re eligible to seek compensation.

Retained Foreign Object Injuries

Between April 2015 and March 2020, NHS Resolution reports that they received 800 claims for incidents of retained foreign object post-procedure. 389 of these were Never Events and involved retained objects such as instruments, swabs, guidewires, and needles. This only accounts for NHS cases and not surgical errors occurring in a private healthcare facility.

One potential result of surgical negligence is a swab, sponge, or gauze being left in the body. Alternatively, instruments or needles could be mistakenly left behind when a surgeon closes up after surgery. Examples of the possible complications from retained foreign objects post-surgery can include:

  • Internal bleeding.
  • A perforated organ.
  • Intestinal obstruction.
  • Persistent pain and discomfort.
  • Wrongful death caused by serious injury or illness, such as an infection.

If you have suffered avoidable harm because an operation has gone wrong and a foreign object was left inside your body, call our team to find out whether you could claim medical negligence compensation.

How Do You Show You Were Harmed By Surgical Negligence?

When making a medical negligence claim, you need to provide evidence to prove that the care you received from a medical professional did not meet the correct standard and led to your avoidable harm. You could benefit from gathering the following:

  • Surgical notes, including post-surgical reports.
  • Medical records, including test results or doctor’s notes.
  • Witness contact information, such as those who attended appointments with you or were present during treatment.

Additionally, as part of the claims process, you may be required to attend a medical assessment. This is carried out by an independent medical professional who will produce a report offering insight into the nature of the harm you suffered, including how it is expected to impact you in the future.

Furthermore, your case may also be subject to the Bolam Test. This involves a group of medical professionals with training in the relevant field assessing your care and determining if it met the correct standard. You won’t have to arrange this yourself and whether it’s performed will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

If you have an eligible case, you could instruct one of our experienced operation negligence claims solicitors to assist you in gathering evidence to strengthen your case. They can offer other services, such as ensuring your case is submitted within the relevant time limit, and presenting your case in full. Learn more about our solicitors’ services and whether they could represent you by calling the number above.

Compensation Settlements For Retained Foreign Object Claims

Medical negligence compensation will be awarded to you if your retained foreign object claim succeeds. The payout can be formed of up to two heads of claim, each addressing the different ways you have been affected by medical negligence. The first is general damages which compensates for the physical damage and psychological pain brought on by medical negligence.

Those involved in calculating general damages can use the Judicial College Guidelines for support. This document features guideline compensation brackets for different types of harm at varying levels of severity.

Compensation Table

The table below contains figures from the JCG. Please note, however, that the figures are only a guide and do not guarantee compensation you could be awarded if you make a successful medical negligence claim.

KidneySerious and Permanent £169,400 to £210,400Both kidneys are lost or seriously and permanently damaged.
Loss of One Kidney£30,770 to £44,880No damage to the remaining kidney.
BowelsCases Involving Double IncontinenceUp to £184,200Total loss of natural bowel and bladder function, coupled with the complete loss of urinary control. There are further medical complications.
Total Loss of Natural FunctionUp to £150,110Dependent on age, there may be a need for colostomy.
BladderImpaired Function and ControlUp to £140,660Control and function are completely lost.
Serious £63,980 to £79,930Impairment of control alongside pain and incontinence.
Digestive SystemDamage Resulting from Traumatic Injury (i)£43,010 to £61,910Severe damage with ongoing pain and discomfort.
SpleenLoss of Spleen£20,800 to £26,290There is a continuing risk of internal infection and disorders due to a damaged immune system.

Examples Of Special Damages

If you have also suffered financially because of medical negligence, you could receive special damages in your payout. It is important to keep records of any expenses, including receipts, payslips, and invoices. Provided you have evidence to prove the loss, you could claim back the following under special damages: 

  • A loss of earnings if you could not work while recovering.
  • Medical bills, such as prescription charges.
  • Travel costs, such as taxis to and from medical appointments.

Please give us a call if you would like to know more about how compensation for surgical negligence is calculated.

How No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Solicitors Could Help You

If you have a valid medical negligence claim then you could choose to instruct one of our solicitors. With years of combined experience, our solicitors are well-versed in helping claimants seek compensation. Additionally, they could offer you their support under a No Win No Fee arrangement called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA.)

A CFA could benefit you as the solicitor would not charge any upfront or running fees for their work. Also, you do not pay them for their services if the claim is lost.

Winning the case would entitle the solicitor to deduct a success fee from your compensation. The percentage that can be set aside for a solicitor is capped due to The Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013.

Contact Us

Why not speak to one of our advisors today? Not only is a consultation free, but there is no obligation to start a claim with us when you get in touch. However, if we find that you have a valid case and you would like to have one of our expert medical negligence solicitors represent you, we could connect you.

For more information, please get in touch via the following contact details:

Learn More About Getting Compensation For A Retained Foreign Object

Here are some further medical negligence guides we have produced:

You can also find useful information from these resources:

Thank you for reading our guide to seeking medical negligence compensation for a retained foreign object. Please get in touch for further support or to discuss your potential claim.