General & colorectal surgery negligence claims
General surgery is one of the largest surgical specialities in the UK and accounts for around 30% of the country’s consultant surgeons. If you’ve suffered from appendicitis, hernias, gallstones or diseases of the colon, then you may have undergone a general surgery procedure. Whilst the majority of general surgery procedures are completed successfully, unfortunately sometimes mistakes can be made.
If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to surgical negligence, then you could be entitled to make a claim.
With over 400 years’ combined experience handling medical negligence cases, Fletchers Solicitors understand the devastation that can be caused by general surgery mistakes. Our legal team specialise in medical negligence and are well versed in the issues that can arise during general surgery procedures.
What is a general surgery or colorectal surgery negligence claim?
Medical negligence can occur during general surgery procedures when a medical professional offers a substandard level of care. This means that the care provided was not in-line with medical guidelines and best practice. Whilst surgical procedures come with risks, negligent surgical errors and mistakes are avoidable and cause unnecessary suffering for the patient.
General surgery negligence can have devastating and sometimes fatal consequences. It could be that a surgical procedure left avoidable damage to the organs surrounding the problem area, or that there was a failure to prevent, diagnose or treat a postoperative infection. In extreme cases, surgical instruments can be left inside patients.
When you undergo surgery, you trust that the surgeon handling your procedure will provide a certain standard of care. So when avoidable mistakes are made or things go wrong, it can often feel like a betrayal.
Fletchers Solicitors understand the pain and suffering that is caused by surgical negligence. No one should have to suffer with the long-term consequences of a negligent mistake. We believe that everyone should be entitled to fair legal representation, which is why we offer a No Win, No Fee agreement to take the financial strain out of the claims process. Let us secure the justice that you and your family deserve, so you can move on from the medical mistake and prepare for the future.
Different types of general surgery and colorectal surgery negligence claims
Typically, medical negligence claims for general and colorectal surgery arise around three types of procedure: Appendicectomy / Appendectomy, Cholecystectomy and Colorectal surgery.
Appendicectomy / Appendectomy
This procedure involves the surgical removal of the appendix.
The most common types of medical negligence claims arising from Appendicectomy are:
- Infection that is left unnoticed and in turn delays recovery time or even causes fatality
- The condition is left undiagnosed for too long causing unnecessary discomfort, suffering and pain for the patient and potential rupture of the appendix
- Unnecessary further surgery due to failings in first or even second operations
- The condition is correctly diagnosed as appendicitis, but there is failure to act quickly enough which results in the appendix bursting
- Inadequate or no pain relief offered
- Aftercare is inadequate or insufficient
- Damage to other organs whilst in surgery
- Failure to correctly deal with the appendicitis condition resulting in the causation of another medical issue
This is a very common type of surgery that involves the removal of the gallbladder.
The most common types of claim arising from cholecystectomy are:
- Bile duct injuries, which are often indefensible
- Vascular injury or haemorrhage (bleeding from a ruptured/damaged blood vessel), for example hepatic or iliac artery injuries, which again are often indefensible
- Bowel injury (often to the duodenum or the transverse colon)
- Delay in recognising and acting upon post-operative complications that are not due to negligence. Tragically, these claims can be founded upon the death of patients as a result of biliary peritonitis (infection) and other causes
- Spilled or lost gallstones (during cholecystectomy surgery)
- Port-site hernia/herniae
Colorectal surgery is a specialism within general surgery medicine dealing with disorders of the rectum, anus, and colon.
Colorectal procedures and injuries account for a significant number of general surgery negligence cases. The most common colorectal related claims include:
- Failure to recognise and remedy a surgical complication in a timely manner
- Failure to recognise damage to surrounding tissues
- Failure to recognise significant bleeding (haemorrhaging)
- Failure to recognise septicaemia/peritonitis (infection of the peritoneum, which is the lining of the abdomen)
- Bowel injury resulting in the need for a colostomy bag/stoma
- Bowel cancer misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Failure to diagnose benign tumours, enlarged nodes or evidence of cancers
- Damage during operations to other body parts and organs
- Damage to the bowel during procedures such as caesarean section or cholecystectomy.
- Bowel damage during radiotherapy
- Treatments resulting in fistulae, abscesses and incontinence
Whilst the majority of surgical claims arise from the above three procedures, there are other areas of general surgery that can give rise to medical negligence claims. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Breast surgery – the assessment of breast symptoms, breast cancer surgery and breast reconstructive surgery where a plastic surgeon is not required
- Lower gastrointestinal surgery – for diseases of the colon, rectum and anal canal, and particularly cancer of the bowel (though there are also sub-specialist colorectal surgeons)
- Endocrine surgery – for thyroid and other endocrine glands (though there are also sub-specialist endocrine surgeons)
- Upper gastrointestinal – this includes the oesophagus, stomach, liver and pancreas and also weight-loss surgery (also known as bariatric surgery)
- Transplant surgery – renal (kidney), hepatic (liver) and pancreatic transplantations (though there are also sub-specialist transplantation surgeons)
If you have undergone any of the above surgical procedures and believe that a mistake occurred during your care, then you may be entitled to compensation. Our expert advisors can assess the details of your treatment quickly during a free telephone consultation and let you know if you could make a claim.
Is there a time limit on making a general surgery or colorectal surgery negligence claim?
If you are an adult with the mental capacity to understand the medical error, then you have three years from the “date of knowledge” of the negligent act to make a claim. The “date of knowledge” is the date you first found out or became aware of negligible treatment. This is not three years from when the mistake happened, but three years from when you first knew that something had gone wrong. Often people find out that a mistake has been made straight away, but sometimes it can actually be a matter of months, even years before anyone admits that something has gone wrong. Due to this time limit, it’s important to seek legal advice about your claim as soon as you can.
There are special exceptions to this rule. If you or the person the mistake happened to is, or was under the age of 18 at the time the incident occurred, then the time limit is three years from the date of their 18th birthday (i.e. their 21st birthday). If the person the mistake happened to does not have the mental capacity to recognise the mistake, there can be no time limit. As time periods can vary in these instances, it’s important to promptly establish the timescale of your case, to see if you are liable to make a claim. To do this, we recommend you speak to one of our legal advisors free of charge on 0330 013 0251.
Contact us today to find out how we can guide you through the legal process.
Call us now on 0330 013 0251 or start your claim today with our online form.