Surgical Errors

Undergoing surgery is a daunting experience, whether it is emergency or elective, so a patient naturally places a huge amount of faith in the people carrying out the procedure. The standard of care expected in this area is very high, and medical practitioners will seek to prioritise the care of each patient, but issues may still arise.*

Surgical Errors that May Occur:

Surgical error claims can cover a wide range of procedures and categories. They include: 

Anaesthetic awareness claims

Being conscious during surgery is a traumatic and often painful ordeal with lasting psychological consequences.  If you’ve suffered anaesthetic awareness because of negligent medical treatment, you could be entitled to make a legal claim. Fortunately, anaesthetic awareness is relatively rare, but when it does occur, the cause could be:

The effects of anaesthetic awareness may include:

  • Pain during surgery and an inability to tell the medical staff
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety, insomnia, night terrors
  • Fear of medical treatment and hospitals

If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms after suffering anaesthetic awareness, you could be entitled to claim.

Contaminated blood products

Blood transfusions are vital for people who bleed profusely after major trauma such as surgery or an accident. They are also used in treatments for various conditions, including haemophilia. If the blood product used is contaminated or the wrong blood type for the patient, the results can be extremely serious. 

If you’ve received a contaminated blood product, your solicitor could help you claim compensation. You may be entitled to claim if you have:

  • Received a contaminated blood product and contracted Hepatitis A, B or C or HIV
  • Received the wrong blood type
  • Mistakenly received a transfusion
  • Received a transfusion without your consent

The manufacturers and suppliers of blood products are obliged to prevent contamination and prevent contaminated products reaching hospitals for use on patients. Hospitals are required to ensure the treatment patients receive is necessary and accurate.

Eye surgery claims

Although most eye surgery is performed safely, surgical errors can lead to reduced sight or even blindness. If you’ve suffered because of errors made during surgery, your solicitor could help you to claim compensation.  Eye surgery claims can result from procedures such as:

  • Laser eye surgery
  • Cataract, corneal or vitreo-retinal surgery
  • Eye muscle surgery (strabismus treatment)
  • Glaucoma treatments
  • Retina reattachment
  • Transplants
  • Blocked tear duct procedures
  • Incorrect prescriptions for glasses, contact lenses, eye drops, and medication
  • Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis

You may also be able to claim if you’ve had an eye condition that was misdiagnosed, requiring further treatment or causing permanent damage. Common misdiagnoses include glaucoma and detached retinas.

Knee replacement negligence

Negligent knee replacement surgery can change a person’s life and that of their family. If you or a member of your family have had a knee replacement and are suffering from pain or discomfort, or you have had revision surgery, it is important to get legal advice from specialist solicitors who understand the unique nature of knee replacement claims

Nerve damage claims

If you've suffered nerve damage due to mistakes made during surgery, you could be entitled to claim for compensation. Nerves are sensitive and easily damaged during surgery, particularly back, hip, knee, and hernia surgery. Medical staff are responsible for minimising the risk of nerve damage by identifying the location of adjacent nerves before operating. 

Symptoms of nerve damage following surgery include:

  • Paralysis and restricted movement
  • Altered sensations
  • Shooting pains
  • Tingling sensations
  • Hot and cold sensations
  • Muscle weakness

Sorin Stokert 3T HeaterCooler claims

Patients worldwide are being notified after Sorin Stockert 3T Heater-Coolers used during heart surgery have been linked to possibly fatal infections. Sorin Stockert 3T Heater-Coolers are used to moderate patients’ temperature during heart surgery and other complex surgical procedures. Some of these devices appear to have become contaminated with bacteria, including Mycobacterium chimaera, and transmitted potentially bacterial infections to patients. 

Symptoms of M. chimaera infections include:

  • Night sweats
  • Joint/muscle pain
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained fever

The bacterium is highly resistant to antibiotics, and further surgery may be needed to replace infected implants. Some 47,000 patients may be at risk of infection following heart surgery using Sorin Stockert 3T Heater-Coolers. Official warnings are being issued to all patients who have undergone valve operations since January 2013 and who may be at risk of contracting the infection. If you have become ill after heart surgery or have received a warning letter from your hospital, your solicitor may be able to help you to pursue a compensation claim.

Defective Product Claims

Spinal surgery claims

Spinal surgery can transform your quality of life by eliminating chronic, agonising pain. If errors occur during a spinal operation, however, the results can be life-changing in an entirely negative way. Your solicitor can help you claim compensation if errors during your surgery led to your suffering. Mistakes can be made during:

  • Spinal fusion surgery
  • Discectomies
  • Disc replacement surgery
  • Laminectomies
  • Aminotomies

Problems that can occur because of errors in spinal operations include:

  • Paralysis
  • Loss of movement
  • Unnecessary surgery because of a mistaken diagnosis of back pain
  • Delays in surgery causing further health issues
  • Operating on the wrong part of the spine
  • Anaesthesia problems
  • Nerve damage/damage to the spinal cord

Rectopexy Negligence Claims

Mesh rectopexy surgery is a way of treating rectal prolapse. Historically, mesh was thought to be a very good and successful alternative to other types of repair. However, recently, a number of patients have complained of significant pain from the mesh. This may be because the mesh was not put in correctly or because it has moved (migrated) from where it was originally placed. In some cases, less intrusive types of repair should have been explored and offered prior to consideration of rectopexy. Some patients were not informed of the risks from the surgery either. Unfortunately, the damage can be life-changing and irreversible to the patient. If you have suffered from rectopexy complications it is important to get legal advice from specialist solicitors who understand the unique nature of rectopexy claims

Vasectomy and Failed Sterilisation Negligence Claims

A vasectomy is the sterilisation for a man whereby the vas deferens is cut or sealed as a means of sterilisation. It is a procedure carried out when someone decides that they do not want children or choose not to have any more. In most cases the surgery is effective however complications can arise where an unwanted pregnancy occurs leading to stress, emotional strain and financial pressure.

What to Do if You Have Experienced Surgical Negligence:

To proceed with a claim for surgical negligence, a patient must show that the duty of care of a surgeon/anaesthetist/other medical professional fell below the accepted standard and that this lapse in care caused the injury of which the patient complains.  It is important to note that, just because a problem has arisen from a surgical procedure, it does not qualify automatically as negligence.

If you are considering proceeding with a case, we will, under your instruction, take up copies of your medical records in order to fully investigate the surgical procedure and how it was performed. We will consult our panel of medical experts to help you determine whether there was any negligence involved. If we do identify negligence, we will proceed with the case on your behalf.

Pursuing a claim for medical negligence can be a daunting and emotionally draining course of action to take, but we endeavour to make the process as stress-free as possible for you. Contact our team at HOMS Assist today to discuss your options in a confidential and sensitive manner.

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2-4 Ely Place, Dublin 2, D02 FR58


Bishopsgate, Henry Street, Limerick, V94 K5R6


1A South Mall, Cork, T12 PV44

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