Surgery - Medical Negligence Solicitors
Our medical negligence solicitors will maximise your personal injury compensation claim using a no win no fee arrangement which means that if you don't win then you don't pay them their professional costs. If you believe that your Surgery was carried out negligently then just complete the contact form or email our solicitors offices or use the lawyer helpline and a specialist Surgery solicitor will telephone you at no cost and with no obligation.
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Surgey Complications - Overview
In some cases, surgery is warranted and is even a necessary procedure to remove cancerous tissue or to remove a diseased organ. In trauma cases, surgery is used to repair lacerations and to stop abnormal bleeding. In weight loss surgery, abdominal surgery is used to create a small stomach pouch that holds only a little bit of food, resulting in weight loss.
Surgery can be done as an open procedure, which means a larger incision is used to open the abdominal cavity and the abdominal contents are relatively easy to see from the outside. In laparoscopic abdominal surgery, small incisions are made that have a scope inserted into them. The incisions are about an inch long and the scope used is a lighted rigid scope. Other incisions are made into which the tools are used to manipulate the abdominal or chest contents. Some tools just move or grasp tissue while other tools are used in suturing and other techniques. Several incisions are often used at the same time.
All surgeries carry risk, whether it is laparoscopic or open. The procedures are riskier if the patient is extremely ill at the time of surgery, if the patient is elderly or if the surgery is related to trauma or cancer. Many things can go wrong and must be taken into account at the time surgery is contemplated and decided on.
One risk or complication of surgery is blood loss. The abdomen and chest are well vascularized, meaning that it has a lot of blood vessels and good circulation. It is too easy to nick a blood vessel, resulting in massive bleeding. The bleeding risk is somewhat more problematic in laparoscopic surgery, in which it is more difficult to get a handle on rapid bleeding complications. Sometimes a laparoscopic procedure must be changed to an open procedure in the event of massive bleeding. Bleeding complications are worse if a person is on blood thinners or has a disorder that is causing excessive bleeding.
Another risk of all surgery is infection. The infection can come from the outside through the incision and can come from skin organisms or airborne organisms. An infection can also come from within the body itself. If the bowels are punctured, bacteria can flood the abdominal cavity, resulting in peritonitis (infection of the peritoneum) and sepsis (bloodborne infection). Infection must be treated with flushing the abdomen of abscesses, closing of the area opened up in the first place and the use of antibiotics to clear any residual infection.
Puncturing of the viscous is a problematic complication of abdominal surgery, especially if the puncture is not picked up on right away. If the stomach, oesophagus, small bowel or colon is ruptured, the person can get a severe bacterial infection that can lead to abscess, sepsis and death. Only a small puncture wound, such as with an errant suture can cause problems with severe infection. The same is not true if something like the liver, spleen or pancreas is punctured. These are relatively sterile organs that don't yield severe infections when punctured.
After a difficult surgery, there can be a relative stasis of the intestines and colon. The bowel simply stops working due to being handled during surgery. This is known as a paralytic ileus and generally, the patient can recover on his or her own with time. During the time of ileus, the patient can drink clear liquids but cannot take in solid food until bowel sounds can be heard and the patient is passing gas.
Late complications of abdominal surgery include getting a bowel obstruction from scar tissue or "fibrous adhesions" within the abdomen. This is more common in cases of bowel infection or peritonitis. An incisional hernia can happen when the abdominal muscles aren't sealed together. This results in the abdominal contents not being contained within the muscular abdomen. Hernia surgery may be required to correct the problem. A persistent tract can develop between the abdomen and the outside or between two abdominal structures. This is called a fistula. Fistulas are commonly infected to some degree and may need to be cut out of the body in order to heal.
There are time limits within which Australian medical negligence lawyers should either settle claims or issue legal proceedings in a court of law. The purpose of these time limits is to bring finality to potential claims because memories fade, witnesses die or move away and documentation or records become lost or corrupted. Most limitation legislation is complex and difficult with numerous exceptions and exemptions and varying time limits dependent on the location, the type of injury, the age and mental capacity of the claimant, the date that the injury was or should have been discovered and the behaviour of the potential defendant.
Failure to comply with these time limits can result in loss of the opportunity to claim compensation. Reference should always be made to a qualified medical negligence solicitor to obtain information and advice on these time limits as soon as possible after the event giving rise to the potential claim. If you would like free specialist advice just complete the contact form and a no win no pay solicitor will telephone you with no charge and no obligation.
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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here