Surgical Error Compensation Claims

Medical negligence can occur during the course of surgery or following surgery when complications or infection may arise.

All surgery carries risks and just because there are complications does not mean there has been negligence. However, there are cases where there was a failure clear failure by the treating surgeon to perform the operation to an acceptable standard, or in some cases, carry out appropriate surgery for the problem.

As surgery can be performed on any part of the body the nature of the injury is a very wide ranging and can be very minor or catastrophic. A failed knee replacement operation may lead to a period of unnecessary pain and suffering and the need for a redo operation which may resolve matters. A failed or negligently carried out operation to the spine may result in a catastrophic injury with life-changing consequences.

Our highly experienced team of specialist clinical negligence lawyers are here to assist and to advise. They will advise you comprehensively about the merits of your claim, funding and ensure that you and your family get the best possible results. Contact the team for Free Consultation

Claims frequently arise from:

No Win No Fee claims with Hodge Jones & Allen

The majority of our cases are funded by way of a conditional fee agreement, more commonly known as a No Win No Fee agreement. This means there is no financial risk to you. Start your claim today

Accessory nerve damage

The accessory nerve (sometimes called the spinal accessory nerve) is not well known but any injury to it can have severe consequences for a patient. This nerve controls our ability to shrug our shoulders and turn our head. Without this nerve life would be very difficult and many day to day tasks would be impossible.

The accessory nerve runs from the brain, down the neck, close to the surface of the skin and runs into the shoulder area where it controls the trapezius muscle. This keep our shoulders up and in place and enable us to lift our arms above our heads. It also controls the sternocleidomastoid muscle, which allows us to turn our heads.

More information about accessory nerve damage is located in the FAQs section of this page.

Cardiology negligence

Heart disease is a major cause of health problems in the UK. This is partly due to lifestyle factors and partly due to diet or perhaps congenital conditions.

Each year thousands of patients are diagnosed with coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, heart valve disease or cardiomyopathy.

More information about cardiology negligence is located in the FAQs section of this page.

Colonoscopy negligence

A colonoscopy is a procedure used to investigate a patient’s bowel. Often this procedure is used to detect or prevent bowel cancer.

The standard procedure will be performed by a doctor using thin tube with a camera attached to it. The tube may also have a snare attached to it. The purpose of the investigation is often to find small growths called polyps in the lower part of the bowel that could eventually become cancerous. Once they are located the polyps are removed and then sent to the pathology department for review.

The procedure is normally very safe but sometimes the patient’s bowel can inadvertently be perforated during the procedure. More information about colonoscopy negligence is located in the FAQs section of this page.

Compartment Syndrome

Compartment Syndrome is the medical name for the crushing of nerves and blood vessels within a muscle compartment. It is an incredibly painful condition and has to be treated as an emergency.

Crushing of the muscle compartment lead to reduced blood flow. It will often occur in a patient’s arm or leg.

The cause is usually some sort of trauma injury, perhaps a fall or a broken bone. It can also be due to a crushing injury, unrecognised internal bleeding or due to a misplaced intravenous drip (called an IV drip).

Delayed treatment

Without treatment the patient is likely to suffer muscle loss, amputation, infection, nerve damage, and even kidney failure. More information about Compartment Syndrome is located in the FAQs section of this page.

Gallbladder removal

The surgery to remove the gallbladder is called a cholecystectomy (pronounced co-lee-sis-tec-toe-mee).

This procedure is usually carried out using minimally invasive techniques. This means that the gallbladder is removed small incisions rather than by open surgery. This operation is called a Laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

The recovery period is much less with the laparoscopic technique and open surgery is very rare now. More information about cholecystectomy negligence is located in the FAQs section of this page.

Frequently asked questions

How is the accessory nerve injured?

The accessory nerve claim cases that Hodge Jones Allen have undertaken have usually involved minor surgical procedures such as a biopsy being performed in the neck area. More commonly this tends to be a biopsy of a lymph node which is being performed to diagnose the patient’s underlying condition.

On other occasions surgery in the neck area has been performed to remove a harmless fatty lump (sometimes called a lipoma) which has gone wrong.

With appropriate skill and care, injuries to this nerve can and should be avoided. Surgical inexperience or a rushed, poorly planned procedure are often the cause of injury.

Sadly, many of the cases in which we have acted have involved severe injuries to the accessory nerve. This type of injury is very hard to repair so patients who have suffered an injury of this nature must adapt their lives to cope with their restricted arm and neck movements.

How is the accessory nerve repaired?

There are several ways that spinal accessory nerve damage can be repaired. As it affects multiple areas of the body, a multidisciplinary approach is required, including conservative (or non-surgical) management, physical therapy and surgical repair.

Conservative management options include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS
  • Transcutaneous nerve stimulation
    Regional nerve-blocking procedures with local anaesthetics
  • Physical therapy is a key part of rehabilitation, and is essential both for patients who decline or are ineligible for surgery, as well as patients who are to undergo surgical repair of the spinal accessory nerve.

Surgical repair can take several forms, including:

  • Neurolysis
  • Primary nerve anastomosis
  • Cable graft, including autografting or biosynthetic nerve guides (including Neurotube)
  • Eden-Lange muscle transfer

What are the treatments for heart conditions?

The treatment options for heart conditions have increased substantially in recent years. Many untreatable conditions can now be treated – sometimes just with medication. Others need surgical intervention.

Medication errors for heart conditions

Some heart conditions – such as atrial fibrillation, often will need to be treated with medication. It is important that this is commenced promptly when required and that the correct does and frequency are explained to the patient.

Diagnosis errors for heart conditions

Many cases we deal with relate to the delayed diagnosis of heart attacks. Some conditions appear very much like a heart attack and thus the diagnosis can be missed.

Many cardiology negligence cases involve a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a heart attack in the office or in an emergency room setting. Far too frequently, people complaining of the symptoms of heart attack are sent home where they subsequently suffer a myocardial infarction and die.

Gastrointestinal distress is a common symptom of heart attack that is frequently misdiagnosed as heart burn. Women are more likely to experience vague symptoms like sleep disturbances, shortness of breath and fatigue. Yet many doctors overlook these symptoms and only look for “classic” heart attack symptoms, like chest pains.

People with diabetes are at higher risk for heart disease, yet they, too, are under-diagnosed. Even serious heart conditions are highly treatable — if the problem is correctly diagnosed.

Surgical errors for heart conditions

As with all operations, there are always risks associated with heart surgery, and patients should be told about frequent or serious possible complications when they consent to the procedure.
A wide variety of heart operations are carried out, including:-

  • Coronary bypass surgery
  • Coronary angioplasty and stents
  • Cardiac ablation
  • Pacemaker surgery
  • Heart valve surgery
  • Heart transplant
  • ICD (Implantable cardioverter defribrilator) insertion

Heart surgery should always be carried out by surgeons with the appropriate expertise and skill. It is important that appropriate equipment is available, monitoring of the patient is maintained throughout surgery, and that any issues are identified as soon as possible.

Cardiac care negligence

Sadly, misdiagnosis and mistakes can happen in cardiac treatment. Our team of medical negligence specialists are on hand to give you expert advice.
Examples of problems include:-

  • Misdiagnosis and mistreatment of heart attacks
  • Negligent heart surgery
  • Failure to diagnose a fatal cardiac arrhythmia
  • Failure to transfer to a heart specialist where this is required
  • Failure to diagnose diseases such as endocarditis, an infection of the heart

Of course, we recognise that money can never truly compensate you or your family for this, but it can make a big difference. A compensation claim will take into account any loss of earnings or other financial expenses that you have incurred because of the negligence.

Stent negligence

Sometimes interventional cardiologists will insert a stent or scaffolding to open a blood vessel and because of negligence the stent will become blocked causing a heart attack.

When a stent is defective or not adequately deployed serious injuries can result. Our law firm has been successful in representing patients whose stents have not worked properly.

Types of injury from colonoscopy procedure

This type of injury is often recognised at the time of the procedure and a repair can be undertaken immediately. On other occasions the injury is sometimes not recognised at the time it occurs and the patient can then be discharged home.

The perforated bowel may then leak over the following hours and days and this can lead to the patient developing a serious condition such as sepsis or peritonitis.

Perforation of the colon known recognised risk of the procedure so perforating the colon is often not thought by many medical experts to be negligent. However, the failure to recognise and act on the signs and symptoms of a perforation may well be held to be negligent.

Diagnosis of compartment syndrome

The diagnosis needs to be made quickly. The condition can be diagnosed often from the level of pain that the patient is experiencing. Compartment pressure tests can also be performed.

Surgery is the only treatment for acute compartment syndrome. The muscle compartment is cut open to allow muscle tissue to swell, decrease pressure and restore blood flow.

Why is the gallbladder removal operation performed?

A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is usually performed because the patient has longstanding and painful gallstones that cannot be treated in any other way.

Gallstones often will cause no symptoms but sometimes they can block the flow of bile and cause a patient to suffer with a severe pain emanating from the gallbladder – the upper abdomen area. The pain can be enough to warrant an operation but some patients may also be at risk of jaundice.

What can go wrong?

First of all it must be emphasised that the vast majority of Laparoscopic cholecystectomies. are very successful and there are no complications.

Sometimes however, a surgeon can make mistakes in recognising the intricate anatomy around the gall bladder.

This can mean that the metal clips used in the procedure can be applied to the wrong ducts – often leading to a permanent and serious injury. Hodge Jones Allen have acted in such cases where the biliary duct has been injured during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. A further operation – called a Roux-en-Y procedure is often then required. The Roux-en-Y procedure creates a new passageway from which bile can drain from the liver to the small intestine.

In such cases the Claimant’s case is always that their anatomy could and should have been properly identified during the operation and that the clips were negligently placed. The Defendant often will try to defend these cases by arguing that the patient’s anatomy was abnormal and that there was no negligent treatment. This is an all too common defence.


Case Study: Compartment Syndrome

In one case we were able to show that internal bleeding had not been treated quickly enough. This had led to a patient suffering a severe nerve injury in their leg which affected their mobility. The patient was awarded a six figure sum for their injury.

Case Study: Colonoscopy negligence

In one case in which our solicitors acted a patient was awarded £500,000 for the negligent delay of 4 days in recognising that the patient has suffered a perforated colon. The delay caused peritonitis which led to the patient suffering injuries which completely changed their life and ability to live independently.

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