If my bowel was pierced during surgery, is it possible to claim compensation for hysterectomy complications and, if so, against who – the doctor or the hospital?
Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor
Editor in Chief
You should be entitled to claim compensation for hysterectomy complications if your bowel was pierced during surgery as it is regarded that such an injury is avoidable and represents a poor professional performance by the medical practitioner who performed the procedure.
A claim for compensation for hysterectomy complications would usually be made against the authority that employed or contracted the medical practitioner responsible for your injury; and therefore, if your hysterectomy procedure was performed at a private clinic or hospital, it would be the private clinic or hospital that a claim for a surgical injury was made against.
If your surgical procedure was performed in a hospital managed by the Health Service Executive (HSE), it would then be the HSE against whom a claim for a pierced bowel during a hysterectomy would be made. It is rare that an individual physician or surgeon is the named party in an action to recover compensation for hysterectomy complications.
However, although there is no justifiable defence against a claim for a pierced bowel during a hysterectomy, there will still have to be an investigation into your treatment in order to establish that your injury did actually occur during the surgical procedure. If you have not already done so, your solicitor should send a ‘Letter of Complaint’ to the hospital at which you underwent the procedure and also request the notes associated with your hysterectomy operation to confirm your eligibility to claim for a surgical injury.
Once liability is established, your solicitor will send a ‘Letter of Claim’ to the hospital, supporting it with the evidence of negligence he has compiled (usually with the assistance of an independent medical expert) and – if the full consequences of your injury is known – inviting the clinic or hospital to make an offer of settlement.
A claim for a surgical injury – where there can be no doubt that a medical practitioner has breached their duty of care – does not take a long time to resolve. However, you should not delay in speaking with a solicitor at the first opportunity to discuss the injury you sustained and what consequences it had to your quality of life while you were waiting for your bowel to heal.
The sooner you speak with a solicitor, the more straightforward it will be to make a claim for a pierced bowel during a hysterectomy and the quicker your claim for compensation for hysterectomy complications will be settled. Therefore, it is recommended that you make contact with an experienced medical negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity.