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Your guide to surgical negligence

Team of surgeons operating - surgical negligence

Your surgeon has a duty to treat you appropriately and you have the right to expect that he will be as capable as a reasonable and responsible surgeon who performs the operation that you need.  If the outcome of your surgery is not what you expected you may have a negligent medical treatment. Complications that arise during surgery or develop at a later stage may be the result of negligence. Your  doctor or specialist should have explained to you the risks of the surgery and all possible outcomes before surgery takes place.  If he has not you may not had the correct surgery or you may not have given your informed consent.

If you or a member of your family have suffered an unexpected outcome a loss, following surgery  you will need to seek specialist lawyer who is an expert in complex cases arising from surgical negligence. The specialist lawyers at Your Legal Friend will help you find out what went wrong, what can be done to put it right and claim compensation.  We know that you have been let done by a professional and we will treat you be  with sympathy  and provide you with straight forward easy to understand advice.

What you must do first... is to discuss the specific circumstances before, during and after your time in hospital and the subsequent impact upon your quality of life with our dedicated medical  negligence team at Your Legal Friend.

Our specialist lawyers have  successfully resolved  many different types of cases arising from surgical negligence. With access to specialist surgeons in all areas of medicine we can advise whether you have received poor care and if you are entitled to  compensation for the injury or harm you have suffered because of surgical negligence.

Did you know...

  • 322 cases of foreign objects are left inside patients during operations*
  • 214 cases of surgical procedures are on the wrong body part*
  • 73 cases of patient feeding / medication tubes incorrectly inserted into patients' lungs*
  • 58 cases of incorrect implants or prostheses are fitted*

*Freedom of Information request to NHS Trusts, 2013

Three key stages where surgical negligence may be found

There are numerous types of surgical procedure and complications that might occur at a particular stage. To discover where a problem might have arisen during your treatment, we will look at  four stages and each stage examined for potential medical negligence.

  • Investigation and diagnosis, including delay
  • Informed consent
  • Surgical complications
  • Care after surgery

Common surgical negligence claims

Of the 4.6 million hospital admissions to the NHS in England each year requiring surgery the risk of a mistake taking place during a procedure is estimated by the NHS to be one in 20,000.

Among the various types of surgical negligence claims that are commonly made are:

  • Failure to fully and honestly discuss the risks and benefits of surgery and the alternatives.
  • Misinterpreted scans
  • Delay in surgery resulting in avoidable surgical complications.
  • Poor surgical technique leading to injury.
  • Damage to surrounding structures, tissues and nerves.
  • Poor post operative care.
  • Anaesthetic complications including respiratory distress, stroke, cardiac arrest, brain damage, anaesthetic awareness, tooth and throat damage.
  • Retained swabs and implements.
  • Post operative infection.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism.

To bring a successful surgical negligence claim, it is necessary to prove...

  • Whatever type of injury has been sustained, it must have been caused by unacceptably poor treatment , and
  • It must have been avoidable with poor care
  • It must have resulted in an injury

If you have suffered an injury, which could not have been prevented with proper care , it will not be possible to bring a claim for surgical negligence.

Time limit for making a claim for surgical negligence...

When a mistake is alleged to have been made during a surgical procedure, which is believed was the cause of physical or psychological damage, it is vital to immediately seek expert  legal advice from a medical negligence specialist.

A claim for surgical negligence must be started in Court within 3 years from:

  • The date of your injury, or
  • The date when you first discovered your injury was the result of an action you now believe was negligent.


While no amount of compensation for surgical negligence will be able to reverse the  pain that you have suffered and the stress caused, you may  need support and care. Compensation that you are entitled to because of the lack of surgical care received will help.

Compensation can be divided into two types:

  • General Damages for the pain and suffering
  • Financial loss

The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the type of injury and personal circumstances, such as the consequences of the injury on your ability to work and care for your family.

Loss of income

There is likely to be a direct financial impact if your ability to work or care for your family, and other expenses such as medical bills.

How Your Legal Friend can help you..

As experienced medical  negligence specialists we are committed to ensuring victims of surgical negligence obtain the answers they need and the compensation that  they deserve. Our investigation  could prevent others from suffering in a similar way.