Case Study – Surgeon using faulty medical equipment during operation
Occurring much more often than you think, despite receiving billions of pounds in funding on a yearly basis, medical practitioners, and surgeons are often called upon to use out-of-date machinery, that simply needs replacing.
Along with human error, medical equipment failure is one of the main reasons MG Legal’s medical negligence claim solicitors are approached by clients looking to pursue compensation, as a result of being injured due to medical negligence. Research shows that about fifteen errors occur during any given operation, and a fourth of them are related to equipment failure.
Before any given operation, surgical room technologists should ensure that the operating theatre is prepared, sanitised, and that the equipment required for the upcoming operation is available, easy to find, and most importantly, working.
Everything from the endoscopy equipment, surgical probes, tissue clamp, and surgical scalpel, and even operating theatre lights, must be in working order, prior to any surgery taking place. If any equipment should fail, whilst the medical practitioner may seek to lay blame on the equipment manufacturer, this does not help the patient, when an operation has to be aborted, part way through.
As with everything that we buy, medical equipment comes with instructions, both for its use, and upkeep, if the equipment is to perform as it should. The hospital must make sure they keep up with manufacturer recommended upkeep of products used in the operating room or surgical procedure.
Availability of equipment is also sometimes an issue that sometimes precipitates a claim for medical negligence. In the same study mentioned above, 37 percent of failures of equipment during an operation resulted from a lack of availability of needed equipment. it is no coincidence that the specialist medical negligence solicitors at MG Legal have recently settled a claim for damages, when a surgeon, not being availed of the correct equipment, saw fit to improvise, using an inferior surgical tool that caused our client to suffer far more tissue damage than was necessary.
Problems with the settings on the equipment or their configuration happened 44 percent of the time, leading to the potential for trauma to the patient. A third of the time, it was the manufacturer causing device malfunctioning and operation errors.
How does this work in real life – a Case Study of a matter MG Legal’s solicitors specialising in medical negligence, settled for an injured client.
MG Legal, were recently approached by Mr E. Mr E, during a surgical procedure on his rotator cuff, was badly burnt when the motorised cutting tool was that was being used by the surgeon, the same being cooled by a sealed water system, leaked causing hot coolant to drip onto Mr E’s armpit and upper arm. As the coolant was heated to a high temperature and the procedure took some time, Mr E suffered significant burns to the upper arm, which has ultimately resulted in scarring. Apparently, at no time during the procedure did any of the staff in the room notice the malfunctioning machinery. Investigations proved that the machine had also not been tested by surgical room technologists, prior to Mr E’s operation being commenced.
What did MG Legal’s medical negligence solicitors do to help Mr E?
When Mr E first attended our offices, it was 2 months after his surgery, and he was shy, and a little bit embarrassed by the way the burns on his arm looked. MG Legal’s solicitors that specialise in medical negligence claims listened to Mr E, and were able to advise him, immediately, that would accept his claim for medical negligence compensation, on a No Win No Fee basis.
The same day that Mr E gave our solicitors the go-ahead to work for him, we wrote to the hospital in question, and requested Mr E’s medical notes. The aim was to see what exactly had gone wrong during Mr E’s operation, and who was to blame.
Upon receipt of his medical notes, the negligence caused Mr E to be injured was obvious, and the surgeon had made notes detailing the faulty medical equipment, even going as far as saying that a similar incident had happened, some months prior to Mr E’s surgery.
This was more than enough information for our medical negligence experts to write a formal letter of claim to the local NHS Trust.
In all personal injury cases, including those relating to medical negligence, solicitors are duty bound to give the medical practitioner a period of 21 days to respond to the initial letter of claim, and 3 months to investigate, after they have acknowledged receipt of the initial letter. Knowing that Mr E had a very strong claim for medical negligence compensation, our medical negligence solicitors instructed our own constructive plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgeon, to prepare a medical report, detailing the injuries Mr E had sustained, and giving a prognosis as to when Mr E would recover from his injuries, if at all.
How did MG Legal resolve the claim for Mr E?
When our medical negligence solicitors accept a personal injury claim, on a No Win No Fee basis, we are a tenacious bunch- what needs to be remembered, is that if your claim is not successful, we do not get paid. So, we did what we do best. Upon receipt of the plastic surgeon’s report, we noted that Mr E’s injuries, would never, fully, recover, so we used all the tools available to us, including case law, precedents, the 15th Edition of the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines, and in excess of 30 years’ knowledge of medical negligence cases, and advised Mr E what we thought he should receive in damages for his medical negligence compensation award.
Everything was taken into consideration- lost earnings, medical expenses, travel expenses, and even the cost of a lost holiday that Mr E and has family were unable to go on, due to Mr E’s injuries.
An offer was formulated, Mr E was more than happy with the same, and we sent our offer of settlement to the Trust, the very day that the personal injury pre-action protocol allowed for investigations to conclude. Upon the expiry of the permitted investigation period, the Trust had still not concluded their enquiries, and so Mr E’s offer was sent, confirming that the offer would lapse in 14 days, with legal proceedings to be served immediately after.
How did MG Legal negotiate settlement?
Mr E, as with all of the injured clients we work with, was made a priority. When our initial offer wasn’t acknowledged, within the first couple of days, our medical negligence solicitors ‘phoned the NHS Trust’s legal team- we found the name of the person at the Trust’s solicitors, who was paid to defend Mr E’s claim, and demanded that they see sense, and come to the table with a favourable response, immediately. Within 7 days, and some negotiating, from an offer from the Trust that was half of what we wanted, we settled Mr E’s claim for medical negligence compensation, for exactly the amount of money that Mr E wanted. Needless to say, Mr E was a very happy client, indeed.
What should I do if I am a victim of medical negligence?
If you have suffered medical negligence due to the negligent treatment or advice, of a medical practitioner, from a dentist, to a doctor, or surgeon, then you are not alone- MG Legal’s specially trained solicitors accept all claims for medical negligence, on a No Win No Fee basis.
If the medical negligence happened in the last 3 years, it is important that you make contact with one of our medical negligence solicitors, as soon as possible. The most important thing to remember is that you usually have 3 years to make a claim for medical negligence compensation- after that, your claim could be statute barred, leaving you with no grounds to pursue damages.
If you are thinking of pursuing a claim for medical negligence compensation, we will always carry out any initial investigative work free of charge and with a view to accepting your claim on a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win, no fee agreement). Get in touch by phone, email, send a call-back request via the website or at any of our high street offices in Garstang, Lancaster and Longridge. MG Legal are your local solicitors for No Win No Fee Medical Negligence Claims.