Surgical Errors

The standard of surgical care in Ireland is very high. Medical advances mean that surgeries which would previously have been deemed ‘cutting edge’ are now common practice and as a result, people are living longer, more active lives. However, errors can and do arise with potentially catastrophic effects. Where errors arise due to negligence – that is where the Surgeon acts in a way no other Surgeon of like qualification and skill would have acted, if faced with the same set of circumstances at the same time, and the patient suffers injury as a result- there may be grounds for a medical negligence case.
It is important to note that an adverse outcome does not necessarily mean that negligence has occurred.

Common scenarios where surgical errors can arise:

Obviously, many surgeons practice in a specific, or specialised, field and it is difficult to provide examples of negligence common to all fields. The list below is certainly not to be interpreted as an exhaustive list. However, the scenarios cited below are examples constituting negligence across a number of different surgical fields:

  • Lack of informed consent: if a patient undergoes surgery and a known risk of injury ultimately occurs, they may have grounds for compensation if they would not have undergone the surgery had they known of the risk of injury which ultimately befell them prior to the surgery.

  • Perforation of organs

  • Failure to manage blood loss

  • Failure to diagnose, or treat infection

  • Failure to recognise signs of sepsis

  • Substandard post-operative care

  • Nerve damage

  • Negligence in respect of the implantation of a medical device: for example, transvaginal mesh tape/implant to treat urinary incontinence

Medical negligence may occur for a number of possible reasons -insufficient skill, lack of experience, insufficient supervision, lack of correct equipment, poor communication, poor procedures or systems and/or exhaustion on the part of the practitioners.

If you believe that you have suffered injury due to surgical error, contact us to arrange a consultation with Brigid.

How long do I have to take a claim for compensation due to surgical error?

Proceedings must be initiated within two years of the date of injury, generally speaking. However, a lot of preparatory work is necessary before it is obvious as to whether a claim can be initiated so it is important to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity to ensure the best possible outcome.

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If you believe that you have suffered injury due to surgical error, contact us to arrange a consultation with Brigid. Brigid O’Donnell, Solicitor, is a native of Cashel, Tipperary. She has meeting facilities in Clonmel, Tipperary and Cork city but is happy to meet with clients, remotely, or in person at a time and place convenient to them. Read more about surgical injuries and medical negligence.

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