I underwent surgery for a carpal tunnel syndrome one month after the diagnosis was first made. Now I discover the injury would have healed itself with rest and support. Can I make a claim for unnecessary surgery compensation?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Answer:

In this scenario, there are several questions that need to be answered before you would be advised to make a claim for unnecessary surgery compensation. The primary one is whether the surgery led to an injury being sustained or the deterioration of an existing condition. If the surgery was intended to repair damage to your carpal tunnel and failed to do so, you may well be justified in making a claim for unnecessary surgery compensation.

However, you also have to consider the reasons why your doctor recommended surgery in the first place so soon after a diagnosis was made. Was the damage to your carpal tunnel so bad that surgery was the only viable option or could the problem have been resolved, as you have now discovered, with rest and support? It would take a medical expert to review your medical records to ascertain the severity of your condition and establish whether “in the circumstances and at the time” there was an alternative option to surgery.

An alternative option to surgery might even have been a consideration if you have an acknowledged fear of hospitals and operations, and your doctor placed you through the trauma of an operation regardless. If this were the case, his or her breach in their duty of care towards you would constitute medical negligence and qualify you to make an unnecessary surgery compensation claim – possibly even if you did not sustain a physical injury, but suffered an emotional trauma.

There may be other factors that were involved in your doctor´s decision to recommended surgery – such as if you expressed a desire to return to work quickly and this was the fastest way of achieving your wish – or if an option of surgery was available at the time of your doctor´s recommendation which represented an opportunity that may not have been present at a later date.

With so many different possibilities, it would be advisable to discuss your personal situation with an experienced medical negligence to first determine whether you have a claim for unnecessary surgery compensation which is worth your while to pursue. Should it be decided that you have a viable compensation claim for unnecessary surgery, your solicitor will explain the procedures from therein.