The modern hysterectomy procedure is safe and relatively straightforward, but it still carries inherent risks for the patient.
Medical negligence comes when there is a failure to manage these risks effectively, leading to complications. This is when you can make a claim.
The risks associated with a hysterectomy are much fewer than they once were, but this is a major operation where the patient must have a general anaesthetic. The patient must also expect to have a stay in hospital and an extended recovery period.
Hysterectomies can be vaginal, abdominal or laparoscopic.
What can go wrong? Examples of medical errors in hysterectomies include:
- Failure to get the patient’s consent
- Post-operational infections resulting from mistreatment or misdiagnosis
- Puncturing of the bowel or bladder during surgery
- Errors in the anaesthetic process.
As a patient planning to undergo this operation, you should be made aware of any known risks before giving your consent.
Not all of the above errors are negligent. There is a known risk of bladder perforation, for example. However, if the surgeon fails to notice this damage, or fails to repair it, leading to illness or other complications, then this would be negligent.
Where the surgeon recognises there is an injury and repairs it, then it is unlikely you could make a claim.
Damage to the bladder can mean urine leakage and a fistula developing. Bowel perforation during a hysterectomy can have serious consequences, causing infection in the abdominal cavity and leading to peritonitis or sepsis. Contracting an infection after surgery is a known risk, and can extend recovery times, but if the people treating you fail to identify and treat it adequately, then this too can be negligent.
Medical Negligence and Hysterectomies
As a patient, you should be made fully aware of the risks before agreeing to the operation. During and after the operation, the healthcare professionals treating you have a responsibility for your care, especially when things do not go according to plan.
Failure to inform you of the risks, or to repair any damage or recognise and treat infections adequately, can mean medical negligence.
For more information, help, advice or support about making a medical negligence claim, please contact us today using the form on this page.