Laparoscopy Medical Negligence Solicitors - Injury Compensation Claim


Keyhole surgery procedures, known technically as laparoscopy, have been used with increasing regularity in recent years. With the regular use of this technique has come a dramatic increase in the number of serious problems arising from clinical errors and a consequential rise in the number of clinical negligence claims. Unfortunately there have been a number of fatalities as a result of negligent laparoscopy and this is one medical issue that must be taken very seriously indeed. In addition to standard laparoscopy there is now the opportunity for these procedures to be carried out using the Da Vinci robotic surgery technique which is not always without problems.

Error of Judgement

The conceptions surrounding laparoscopy are largely positive; that pain will be decreased and recovery time will be significantly improved. What is not commonly understood is that keyhole surgery requires a �blind� entry into the body which is in itself potentially dangerous. It only takes one error of judgement on the part of the surgeon to cause very serious or fatal consequences for the patient.

Blind Entry of Camera

As a procedure, keyhole surgery is essentially several incisions into the body cavity that allow enough space for a fibre optic camera and cable to enter the body. This enables a surgeon to view inside the body in ways that would in the past have required major surgery. With the aid of this camera, surgical instruments inserted through another incision can be guided precisely. The danger with the procedure is not particularly high once the camera is inside the body. The irrefutable fact about laparoscopy is that the initial insertion of the camera and cable is done blind. If the body is less than typical or if there is unusual anatomy then the risk of injury is increased.

Established Protocols

If a surgeon fails to follow the well established methods for making this entry into the body then he is liable to pay compensation for any damage that follows on the basis of medical negligence. Such alternative methods which deviate from established protocols increase the risk of accidents and mistakes being made.

Common Errors

Some common surgical errors include operating on the wrong side of the body, which has the doubly damaging result of both destroying healthy body tissues and not dealing with the original problem on the other side. Using the wrong procedure or deciding not to take all of the necessary precautions can cause further unnecessary surgery in order to rectify mistakes. It is also surprisingly common for surgeons to leave surgical equipment behind in the body. These can include swabs, sponges and instruments. Many patients experience this problem and a number of these medical negligence compensation claims for damages are commenced every year.

Laparoscopy Solicitors Legal Advice

Our solicitors deal with laparoscopy medical negligence on a frequent basis and we have the expertise to handle the complicated nature of claiming compensation for keyhole surgery errors. We have the medical expert witnesses, forensic experts and specialist solicitors required to make a success of your case. Most of the claims we represent are the result of damage to the bladder, blood vessels or bowel although no part of the thorax or abdomen is immune to injury through this technique.

If you have suffered personal injury and you fear you may have been the victim of incompetence there is no time for delay. In order to know what options you have you should seek expert legal advice as soon as possible. Our Leeds medical negligence solicitors operate a free service whereby you can meet us in person or chat over the telephone with one of our experts and obtain initial advice. If you subsequently decide to proceed no further then that is your right and you will not be charged for our initial advice.

Keyhole Surgery Overview

Keyhole surgery is also called laparoscopic surgery and is a fast growing surgery in many surgical fields. It is technically more difficult than open surgery but it yields results that are more aesthetically pleasing with less downtime. This makes it attractive for employers and patients alike.

Laparoscopic surgery is considered to be minimally invasive surgery and is commonly used in gastrointestinal disorders. The surgery involves several small keyhole incisions in the abdomen. These provide access to abdominal organs with a lighted scope and access to tools that can enter the abdominal cavity and manipulate abdominal organs.

Laparoscopy can be used to treat the following medical conditions:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Diverticulitis
  • Crohn�s disease
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Colon polyps
  • Severe and chronic constipation

A laparoscopy is a procedure that starts with making three or more small incisions into the abdomen to allow for access ports for a lighted camera and instruments used in the surgery. The camera sends an image to a video monitor so the doctor can get a clear picture of what he is seeing.

Intestinal laparoscopic surgery includes doing a proctosigmoidectomy, which involves removing diseased and damaged portions of the rectum and sigmoid colon. It is often used to treat complications of diverticulitis. In addition a right sided colectomy or an iliocolectomy involves removing sections of the right colon along with the ileum (sometimes). It can be done for ulcerative colitis, colon cancer or Crohn�s colitis. The entire colon can be removed laparoscopically and colostomies can be created using a laparoscopy.

Laparoscopy or endoscopy can be done in heart/lung procedures, orthopaedic procedures and things like carpal tunnel surgery. The fact that endoscopy uses such a small incision and the instruments are so small, yet so functional makes these procedures increasingly attractive.

On the day of surgery, you will receive an IV tube inside a vein in your arm. This can deliver anaesthetic medication or pain medication, among others. You will be allowed in the operating room when it is ready for you. In most cases, you will receive general anaesthesia and the area will be prepped with antibacterial soap. In an abdominal procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in your belly button that will be attached to carbon dioxide gas. The carbon dioxide gas fills the abdomen so that everything is easier to see. The scope will be inserted into an incision and the doctor will take a look around to make sure you don�t have a lot of adhesions. Additional incisions will be placed for tiny instruments that can cut, burn and manipulate the tissue. The doctor sees everything on a screen as he performs the laparoscopic procedure. When it is over, the surgeon closes each incision with sutures and the procedure is finished.

There are complications of laparoscopic surgery that are the same as regular surgery and complications that are different and unique to laparoscopic surgery. Complications that are the same as regular surgery include heavy bleeding, infection and damage to nearby tissues. Complications that are unique to laparoscopic surgery include bleeding that cannot be controlled via the instrumentation and damage to tissues that happens because the laparoscope has a very narrow field of vision. Add to that the reality that these instruments are used at a distance so it is easier to make the wrong cut or damage a nerve or blood vessel than it is open surgery.

Overall, laparoscopic surgery is a good choice when done in skilled hands. If it�s not done in skilled hands, the surgery can go very wrong. Always ask about how many laparoscopic surgeries the surgeon has done and whether there have been any adverse outcomes.


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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