Wrong Site Surgery Claims

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Wrong Site Surgery

Wrong site surgery can be one of the most alarming forms of medical negligence, and occurs when a procedure is performed on the wrong part of the body. Not only does such a grave error erode a patient’s trust in the healthcare system, but it can also have a severe physical and psychological impact on the patient. 

In Ireland, victims of wrong site surgery have the right to seek justice and compensation through legal means. This guide provides an overview of wrong site surgery negligence claims, including their nature, common causes, consequences, and the process for making a claim.

Helen Coughlan

Helen Coughlan
Medical Negligence Solicitor

Helen Coughlan is a partner and advises on medical negligence*, family law and personal injuries*. Helen is a qualified family mediator and collaborative law practitioner and is Chairperson of the Family and Child Law Committee of the Law Society.

Contact Helen Today

What is Wrong Site Surgery?

Wrong site surgery claims arise when a surgical procedure is performed on the wrong part of a patient’s body. This indicates a serious lapse in surgical, medical and pre-operative protocols. 

Negligence claims for wrong site surgery can be pursued against the healthcare professionals and institutions responsible for the error.

Common Types of Surgical Negligence:

Wrong Site Surgery is a highly specific type of medical error and can include:

  • A surgeon operating on the wrong limb or organ. 
  • Performing a correct procedure on the wrong side of the body.
  • Surgical procedures or interventions intended for another patient.

Potential Consequences of Surgical Negligence:

Incidents of surgical negligence can be profound and can include:

  • Unnecessary Harm and Suffering: Incidents of wrong site surgery can lead to unnecessary pain, possible disability, and may need further medical interventions or rehabilitation to resolve.
  • Financial Strain: Expenses arising from possible extra medical needs and rehabilitation, loss of earnings, and other costs may cause financial strain.
  • Emotional Distress: The mental burden of wrong site surgery can lead to depression, anxiety and loss of trust towards medical professionals.
  • Reduced Quality of Life: The combined effects of physical, emotional, and financial stress can severely impact the patient’s quality of life.

Common Causes of Wrong Site Surgery:

Wrong site surgery often results from systemic failures or human error within healthcare settings, including:

  • Communication Breakdown: Poor communication among surgical teams and medical staff, or between medical staff and patients can cause confusion which can have disastrous results.
  • Pre-Op Errors: Inadequate planning or verification/confirmation checks before surgery can lead to incidents of wrong site surgery.
  • Failure to Follow Protocols: Such as ignoring or bypassing established surgical safety checklists and protocols.
  • Human Error: Such as mistakes in patient identification, surgical site marking, or interpreting medical records.

How to Make a Claim:

Step 1: Seek Legal Advice

The first step in making a surgery negligence claim is to consult with a solicitor experienced in this field. Medical negligence law is complex, and a specialised solicitor can provide you with advice tailored to your specific situation. 

They will assess the merits of your case, help you determine whether you are eligible, advise you on the likelihood of success, and guide you through the process. 

Patrick J Farrell Solicitors specialise in medical negligence, don’t hesitate to contact us regarding your concerns and to see if you’ve potentially been involved in medical negligence. 

Step 2: Gather Evidence

Your solicitor will request your complete medical records, which are crucial for supporting your claim. You will need to compile all of your medical records, correspondence, and any other documentation related to your care. These provide evidence of the care you received and are essential for establishing a case of negligence.

Step 3: Independent Medical Assessment

It may be necessary to have an independent medical expert evaluate your case to establish whether the care you received was substandard and constituted negligence. 

Step 4: Letter of Claim

Once your solicitor has gathered all necessary evidence, they will draft a Letter of Claim and notify the hospital or healthcare provider that you intend to take a case against them. Your Letter of Claim outlines the details of your claim, the alleged cause of negligence, and the resulting harm or injury. 

Step 5: Response and Resolution

The hospital or healthcare provider, through their own legal team, will respond to your Letter of Claim. They can either accept responsibility and work towards a settlement; or they can dispute the claim which will lead to legal proceedings. 

Many claims are settled out of court, and  your solicitor will negotiate on your behalf to arrive at fair compensation for  your injuries, any financial losses, and any future care needs. However, if a settlement can’t be reached, your case may proceed to court where your solicitor will prepare for and represent you in any court proceedings.


Seeking Legal Support for Surgical Negligence

Surgical negligence claims can be highly complex and typically require a deep understanding of both medical and legal practices. If you believe you have been a victim of surgical negligence, we highly recommend you seek expert legal guidance.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to surgical negligence, contact us today for a consultation. Our expert team is committed to providing the compassionate guidance and support you need to achieve the best possible outcome.

Have You Experienced Medical Negligence?
Let the Experts Stand By You.

At Patrick J Farrell & Company Solicitors, we understand the profound impact medical negligence can have on your life. With a legacy founded by Patrick J. Farrell and carried forward by a dedicated team, we have been advocates for justice for over four decades. Our commitment to putting our clients’ interests first, combined with our extensive legal expertise, makes us the ideal partners in your pursuit of justice.

From the moment you walk through our doors to the resolution of your case, you’ll be treated with the utmost courtesy, respect, and understanding. Choose us – where your well-being is our top priority. Reach out to us today and let our experienced solicitors guide you every step of the way.

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