By Stephen Kane. Last Updated 24th May 2023. If you need surgery to cure a medical problem, you need to put all of your faith in the surgeon and their team. While a large proportion of operations are successful, sometimes mistakes do happen. If they do, and you suffer an avoidable injury during the operation, you may wish to seek damages for your pain and suffering. In this guide, we’re going to explain when you could claim compensation for an operation gone wrong. We will look at what problems can arise during surgery, why a surgeon could be held liable for your injuries and what amounts of compensation could be paid.
Advice.co.uk offers free support for anybody who is considering starting a claim. We’ll begin by reviewing your case on a no-obligation basis. During your consultation, you’ll receive free legal advice on your next steps. If the claim appears to have strong grounds, you could be connected with a medical negligence solicitor on our panel. If they accept your claim, it will be managed on a No Win No Fee basis.
For more information on claiming for a surgical error, please read on. Otherwise, when you’re ready to talk about your claim, please call 0161 696 9685 to get the ball rolling.
Select A Section
- Operation Went Wrong – Compensation Payout Examples
- Calculating Other Damages You Could Claim
- Surgery Gone Wrong – What Is Surgical Negligence?
- Things That Could Go Wrong During An Operation
- Wrong Site Operation Injuries
- Unnecessary Operation Injuries
- Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong
- Surgery Gone Wrong – Claim Time Limits
- No Win No Fee Claims For An Operation Gone Wrong
- Other Resources
Operation Went Wrong – Compensation Payout Examples
You could potentially claim compensation if your operation went wrong and caused you unnecessary harm. To do so, you would need to prove negligence on the part of your medical care provider.
In a successful claim, part of your compensation will try to address the pain and the distress of the injury you were caused. This is known as general damages. In the table below are some examples of figures in this category for some injuries that could be relevant in a claim for an operation gone wrong, taken from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG).
This is a publication commonly used to value potential compensation amounts in claims for medical negligence, though it is not an exact reflection of what you will be awarded.
We have included a table below of entries listed in the April 2022 edition of the JCG.
|Injury Type||Further Information||Amount|
|Moderately Severe Brain Damage||The person will depend on others and may suffer from physical and cognitive disabilities.||£219,070 to £282,010|
|Paraplegia||How much is awarded will depend on factors such as the extent of pain experienced and the person's life expectancy.||£219,070 to £284,260
|Kidney||Serious damage to both kidneys or both kidneys have been lost.||£169,400 to £210,400
|Kidney||There is a risk of the kidney's natural function being lost, or of a future urinary tract infection.||Up to £63,980|
|Female Reproductive System||Infertility with sexual dysfunction and depression.||£114,900 to £170,280|
|Male Reproductive System||A complete loss of the reproductive organs.||In excess of £153,870
|Bladder||A complete loss of the bladder's function and control.||Up to
|Bladder||The bladder's control is seriously impaired, with the person experiencing some pain and incontinence.||£63,980 to £79,930|
|Bowel||Incontinence and faecal urgency following surgery that cause the person to be stressed and embarrassed.||In the region of £79,920
|Spleen||The spleen has been lost which poses a risk of developing internal infections due to the immune system being damaged.||£20,800 to £26,290|
You can also seek compensation for other effects of the injury, such as the financial losses you may have suffered. We provide more information about this below, but if you are looking for an estimate of compensation for your claim please speak with one of our advisors.
Calculating Other Damages You Could Claim
In the last section, we looked at compensation that could be awarded to cover the pain caused by your injuries. On top of that, you might also claim for financial losses or costs associated with your injuries. This part of your claim is called special damages. Dependent on how you’ve been affected, you could claim for:
- Medical expenses. While remedial treatment is usually free on the NHS, you might have to pay for prescription costs. Therefore, you could claim these costs back.
- Travel costs. If you have to pay for fuel, parking, or other travel-related costs linked to medical appointments, for instance, you could be entitled to claim them back.
- Care costs. These could be claimed if you needed support with daily tasks during your recovery. They could include professional carer’s fees or an amount to cover the time a relative spent supporting you.
- Lost income. During your recovery, it is possible you might need time off work to recuperate. If that’s the case, and it means you lose income, you could add the loss to your claim.
- Future lost earnings. Some injuries can affect your capacity to work for the long-term. If that happens, and you have to change your job, reduce your hours or stop working altogether, you could seek a compensation payment to cover your future lost income.
- Home adaptations. For more serious injuries that result in a disability, you might need to make changes to your home. If these changes result directly from your injuries, you could ask for the cost to be covered by your compensation.
In the hands of a surgical team, you should expect to receive a minimum standard of care. If the surgical team neglect this duty to provide a minimum standard of care, and injury is caused, surgical error claims could be made.
To claim for a surgery gone wrong, you will need to prove that you experienced harm as a direct result of the surgical team neglecting their duty of care. For example, you could experience an allergic reaction to a medication administered during the surgery. If you had a known allergy to this medication and informed medical professionals before your operation and it caused you harm, you might be eligible to make a surgical negligence claim.
However, if you had an unknown allergy and reacted to medication administered during the operation, you may not be able to make a surgical negligence claim. This is because, although you may have experienced harm due to the allergic reaction, if the allergy was unknown, it could not have been prevented.
Surgical error claims can be discussed with our advisors by calling the number at the top of the screen.
Evidence For Surgery Compensation Claims
In order to be eligible to make a medical negligence claim after your surgery has gone wrong, you will need to prove negligence occurred. Collecting sufficient evidence could help with proving this.
Examples of evidence claimants may be able to gather when seeking compensation for operations gone wrong include:
- Medical records that confirm the operation you received, the injuries you experienced from the operation and the treatment for those injuries.
- Photographs of your condition after your operation.
- A diary detailing your symptoms and how they affect your daily life.
- Correspondence with the medical institution where the operation occurred regarding the treatment you received.
A solicitor from our panel with experience in surgery compensation claims could help you with gathering evidence, provided you have a valid case.
What Are Surgical Never Events?
The NHS defines a never event as a serious incident that is wholly avoidable. The reason they should not have happened is because of defined NHS procedures designed to prevent mistakes.
Examples of mistakes listed in the Never Events list 2018 include:
- Wrong-site surgery.
- Retained foreign objects post-procedure.
- Administering medicine by the wrong route.
- Wrong implant/prosthesis.
Things That Could Go Wrong During An Operation
There are several ways that surgical operations can go wrong. They include:
- Anaesthetic errors. If the anaesthetic is not managed correctly, the patient could suffer avoidable pain during their treatment.
- Procedural mistakes. You could be entitled to claim if you suffer because the surgical team fail to adopt the correct procedures during your treatment.
- Wrong treatment. In some cases, unnecessary surgery could cause you to suffer because the wrong medical condition was diagnosed.
- Failure to diagnose. You might suffer avoidably if a surgeon fails to diagnose an additional problem during your surgery.
- Foreign objects. As described in the never events section, sometimes medical equipment is left inside the body after treatment. This could include clips, swaps and other surgical equipment. As well as the initial pain this could cause, you could suffer more pain because extra surgery is required to retrieve the item.
Wrong Site Operation Injuries
If a surgeon performs a procedure on the wrong part of the patient’s body, it is called ‘wrong site surgery’. It is one of the never events defined by the NHS.
Prior to any surgery, the patient should be told exactly what procedure will be performed. A surgical safety check-list should be completed by a clinical lead as well. The part of the body that is to be treated should be clearly marked before the procedure is attempted. Also, the surgical team should have knowledge of the procedure including any concerns that the patient has indicated. All of these things should help to ensure the correct body part is treated.
If wrong-site surgery does take place, there can be a physical impact on the patient. For instance, it could have an impact on their life expectancy. Also, there could be a significant psychological impact too. In addition, the fact that the correct body part was not treated means that the patient’s underlying condition could worsen due to a delay in treatment.
Unnecessary Operation Injuries
There are many reasons why you could claim for the harm caused by unnecessary surgery. They include:
- Where the medical condition is misdiagnosed. This can mean inappropriate or unnecessary surgery is performed.
- If the wrong procedure is carried out. For example, if only a partial hip replacement is carried out but a full one is required. This could mean further surgery is required later on.
- Failure to obtain informed consent from the patient.
- Failing to look for non-surgical methods of treatment. For instance, if a hysterectomy is performed for fibroids but the intrauterine hormone system wasn’t considered.
We could help you begin legal action for any suffering caused by unnecessary or inappropriate surgery. If you would like to know more about how we could help, please call our team today.
Elective procedures could go wrong due to negligence. If you suffered unnecessary harm due to botched plastic surgery, you might be eligible to make a medical negligence claim. However, you will need to have evidence that proves negligence resulted in your plastic surgery gone wrong.
Botched plastic surgery examples could include:
- Breathing difficulties following a nose job if your surgeon did not warn you of the risks. Your medical records or witness contact details could be submitted to support your claim.
- An allergic reaction to fillers could be considered plastic surgery gone wrong. If you told the person carrying out the procedure about your allergies and they still proceeded, your medical records could support a claim.
- Defective implants. Manufacturing details of the implants could be submitted to support your botched plastic surgery claim, especially if there had been a recall and the surgeon proceeded to use the recalled implants. Additionally, known defects with implants that have not been recalled could also be the basis of plastic surgery gone wrong.
Surgery Gone Wrong – Claim Time Limits
You could make a medical negligence claim for an operation gone wrong if you could prove that a medical professional breached their duty of care and caused you harm. However, for all surgery compensation claims, you only have a certain amount of time to start your claim. Generally, these time limits are:
- 3 years from the date medical negligence harmed you.
- 3 years from the date you first realised you were harmed by medical negligence. This is known as the date of knowledge.
However, there are certain circumstances where there may be exceptions to these time limits. For example:
- If you child’s surgery has gone wrong due to medical negligence, they will have 3 years to start a claim once they turn 18. Before this date, a court-appointed litigation friend can make a claim on their behalf. In this instance, the time limit is suspended.
- If someone lacks the mental capacity to make a claim, a litigation friend could make a claim on their behalf. Or they will have 3 years to start a claim if they regain the mental capacity to make a claim on their own.
Contact one of our advisors today if you have any questions about medical negligence claims for operations gone wrong.
As we have explained, medical negligence compensation claims can be tricky to prove. You might therefore worry about the cost of hiring a solicitor to support you. To remove some of that worry, and to reduce your financial risks, our panel of solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis for all claims that are taken on.
When the solicitor contacts you, they will need to review your case to check its chance of success. If they accept your claim, they’ll provide a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) for you. The CFA is the contract that explains under what circumstances the solicitor will be paid. It will also make it clear that:
- You are not asked to pay any upfront charges.
- There will be no solicitor’s fees payable during the course of your claim.
- If the claim is lost, you are not liable for any solicitor’s fees whatsoever.
The only time your solicitor will be paid is if they win compensation for you. If that happens, they’ll keep a percentage of your settlement amount to cover their costs. This is detailed in the CFA as a success fee which, by law, is capped to prevent overcharging.
A member of our team will advise you if you could claim on a No Win No Fee basis once your case has been reviewed. So, why not get in touch using the number above today? If you would like to speak to us today, you can:
- Call our free advice hotline on 0161 696 9685 and speak to a specialist.
- Begin your claim by filling in this online enquiry form.
Thank you for reading this article on claiming compensation for an operation gone wrong. In our final section, we have provided you with a list of resources that may come in handy during your claim. If you need any additional details, please feel free to contact an advisor on the number above.
Duties Of A Doctor – Information from the General Medical Council on what standards a doctor should adhere to.
Complaining About The NHS – This article explains the steps you’ll need to take if you want to complain about NHS services.
Care Quality Commission – You can read inspection reports about any medical establishment that’s been inspected by the CQC.
To show what other types of claims we could help you make, please see some of our guides below.
Unfair Dismissal – Information on how employment law solicitors could help you claim for unfair dismissal.
Suing The NHS – Details on when you might be able to sue the NHS for medical negligence.
Broken Rib Claims – This guide shows when you might be able to claim for a broken rib injury.
Other Medical Negligence Guides
- Medical Negligence Compensation Claims
- Care Home Negligence Claims
- Pharmacy Prescription Error Claims
- Optician Negligence Claims
- Botched Derma And Lip Filler Claims
- Wrongful Death Caused By Medical Negligence
- Dental Negligence Compensation Claims
- Suing The NHS For Medical Negligence
- Surgical Error Negligence Claims
- Claiming Compensation For Hospital-acquired Infections
- Medication Errors At Nursing Homes
- Frequently Asked Questions On Medical Negligence Cases
- How Much Compensation For Dental Negligence?
- Reporting Negligence In A Nursing Home
- How To Make A Claim Against The NHS
- How To Prove A Medical Negligence Claim
- Death In A Care Home – How To Claim Compensation
- Time Limit On Medical Negligence Claims Against The NHS
- Making A GP Negligence Claim
- Walk-in Centre Negligence Claims
- Birth Injury Claims
- Making A Blood Transfusion Claim
- Misdiagnosed Stroke Claims
- What Circumstances Are Classed As Medical Negligence?