Surgical error claims

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Chambers UK
Clinical Negligence

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Surgical errors and mistakes can give rise to clinical negligence claims. The grounds for these claims differ widely and range from poor counselling on available treatment options or the risks of the proposed surgery to inappropriate surgical technique and failure to identify problems after a procedure.

With continuing innovation, an increasing number of medical conditions are being remedied or managed by surgery. It is one of the most important treatments offered by the NHS in secondary care and is also one of the most frequently occurring procedures in the private health setting. While many surgeons practise in the field of general surgery, they can also be involved in a number of different specialities.

As a treatment option, surgery may not however be the first course of action. Any surgery carries with it risks and conservative management will often have been tried before surgery is considered. In most cases the highest standards of care will be provided but nonetheless surgical errors do happen. These are not risks that a patient can consent to - they are events that are outside the usual risks of surgery and are preventable. Some surgical errors are so preventable that they are called ‘never events’, which means that they should never occur.

At Penningtons Manches Cooper, our specialist solicitors have a significant depth of experience in investigating surgical error claims. We have acted for clients seeking compensation as a result of nerve damage or injury to organs; infection due to poor infection control; foreign objects being left in the body; too much or too little anaesthetic; inappropriate advice or assessment of their suitability for surgery; and mistakes in managing treatment post-operatively. This list is not exhaustive, however, and our solicitors would be happy to talk through your concerns with you.

Our surgical error claims team provides legal and practical advice on cases covering the full range of medical specialisms, including not only negligence involving NHS trusts but also claims against surgeons working privately and other members of the operating team, such as anaesthetists. We can help to secure damages to improve a patient’s quality of life if they have had a poor or unexpected outcome from surgery. These may cover loss of earnings and past and future care needs.

Our initial consultation in surgical error claims is offered free of charge and without obligation. Funding options available to clients include no win no fee (conditional fee) agreements.

We offer expert advice on:

  • failure to diagnose or operate with appropriate urgency
  • failure to consider or advise on surgical risks properly
  • failure to identify damage caused by surgery
  • failure to remove surgical instruments and swabs
  • failure to take appropriate precautions to avoid post-operative infections
  • failure to monitor post-operatively
  • never events

Recent work highlights

£130,000 for bowel injury

Agreeing £130,000 plus costs for a negligent injury to the bowel of our client during the removal of his gall bladder. He continues to suffer from continence problems, a large abdominal hernia and depression.


£12,000 for failure to remove ectopic pregnancy

Winning £12,000 damages against the surgeon who failed to remove an ectopic foetus during surgery. Our traumatised client had to undergo a second laparoscopic procedure, leaving her with additional scars and a longer recovery period.


£75,000 settlement for negligent knee surgery

Settling a case against a private orthopaedic surgeon for performing an inappropriate and technically unacceptable partial knee replacement (PKR) on our client who had a pre-existing knee condition which meant that the surgery had no chance of success.

See more detailed case studies

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP