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What to do when surgery goes wrong

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All surgeries have some type of risk. Despite hoping the surgery goes smoothly, sometimes complications get in the way and cause us more harm than good. You may develop an infection or worse, the procedure might not go to plan. If you’ve ever been hurt or further injured as a result of surgery that has gone wrong, you may consider yourself as the victim of a form of negligence. Serious errors can cause distress and discomfort, for instance, when a laser eye surgery gone wrong. We put our lives in the hands of surgeons and expect them to make us better. Although human error isn’t the only factor that can affect the success of surgery, we should know what to do when it goes wrong.

Speak to your GP

You may walk out of hospital unaware of the implications that had been involved in your surgery, or you may not have completely healed to identify if something feels or looks wrong. If you’re concerned with the health-related aspects of the procedure you have had, it’s important to seek medical advice from your doctor – especially if you begin to feel unwell.

Return to your hospital

If you’re seriously concerned, talk to the hospital or clinic you undertook surgery at. Remain calm and identify what problems you are having with your surgeon or nurse. Usually, you will be provided with an aftercare contact to help you if you feel the need to complain about the service you received.

Get it in writing

It’s not old fashioned to keep everything in check by getting doctors and surgeons to write it down. It’ll help you keep a record of everything that was initially discussed and what options had been offered to you. If your surgery goes wrong, you can then relay this information to the relevant person.

Consumer Rights

As a consumer, you have rights. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau will be able to advise you on your legal rights. Providing you follow the steps correctly, proving your case in court will be a walk in the park. You must:

  • Prove that the surgery carried out was not done with a considerate amount of skill and care
  • Ask the hospital to repair their mistake under the Consumer Bill of Right’s
  • If the above fails, you should see if there is another surgeon or hospital able to help you. You may be liable to receive compensation for the cost of the extra procedure and what you’ve lost taking time off work.

Get compensation

The best way to get compensation is by speaking to a solicitor. If you can’t afford a solicitor, you should speak to the Accident against Medical Accidents charity, which provides free advice to those who have experienced a medical mishap. If you can, make sure you get a solicitor that is registered with the Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme to ensure they have the necessary experience and training to help you.

Surgery comes with no risk-free guarantee, which is why it’s important to know what to do if it goes wrong. The effects can be devastating, and you should get the justice you deserve. Take into consideration our tips about what to do when surgery goes wrong if you were to become a victim.

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