Whilst advances in knowledge, equipment and skills has made most forms of surgery safer than ever before, surgical errors still do occur and both pre-operative and post-operative care can be neglected. Although particular issues arise with different types of surgeries, common issues which feature in most forms of surgery include alleged failures to obtain properly informed consent, inadvertently damaging adjacent anatomy or organs, failing to take intra-operative precautions such as the use of prophylactic antibiotics and/or antithrombotic drugs, failing to recognise and to treat post-operative bleeding and other failures in post-operative management.
It is now well established that surgeons must obtain their patient’s informed consent prior to undertaking any surgical procedures, except in emergency situations, and such consent requires patients to be informed of all material risks of potential adverse outcomes to the relevant procedure. A risk is material if a reasonable patient would attach some weight to it. Even a very remote risk of a complication which would result in serious harm, such as paralysis or death, is likely to be viewed as material to any decision to undergo an elective surgical procedure and should therefore be discussed with a patient. Whilst complications can occur in any surgery without negligence by the operating surgeon, the failure to recognise the early warning signs of such complications including of blood loss or infection and to initiate appropriate remedial treatment may provide grounds for a medical negligence* action.
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If you have experienced a poor outcome from a surgical procedure, it is important to seek advice in relation to whether you have grounds to bring a legal claim for compensation in respect of your injuries. If you were not provided with sufficient information in relation to the risks associated with the proposed surgery, if there is evidence that your injuries may be attributable to poor surgical technique or a lack of reasonable care or if early signs of complications were not recognised and acted upon, a legal claim may be able to be brought for compensation with respect to your injuries. Such compensation in the event of a successful claim is likely to include an award of damages for your pain, suffering and loss of amenities which you have experienced as a consequence of the inadequate surgical treatment and the future pain, suffering and loss of amenities which you will experience as a result of the continuing effects of your injuries.
Ivor Fitzpatrick & Company has investigated many cases of poor surgical outcomes in order to ascertain whether the injuries sustained by the patient were the result of the operating surgeon failing to exercise a reasonable standard of care in the pre-operative, intra-operative or post-operative periods. We have successfully brought surgical error claims to trial and have negotiated very favourable settlements in relation to cases where patients have suffered poor and unexpected outcomes from the surgeries which they have undergone.