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Laparoscopic surgery is a popular alternative to open surgery mainly because it is less invasive, the scars are minimal and recovery times are shorter however it is certainly not without its risks due to medical negligence which can involve serious complications, damage to vital organs and fatality.

Laparoscopy Medical Negligence

Laparoscopy involves making small incisions to insert a miniaturised camera into the body which then transmits to television screens in the operating theatre and to insert the tools to perform the surgery. The first incisions and insertion of equipment is the time of greatest risk of unintended physical damage and surgeons are required to follow established protocols which should reduce the risk of accidental injury subject to unusual anatomy. The blame for a failed operation inevitably lies with the operating surgeon with liability for laparoscopy medical negligence being attributed to the healthcare provider which is usually a public hospital trust or a private hospitals owner. Inexperience with the laparoscopic equipment, lack of satisfactory technique and failure to follow well established protocols are the main causes of error resulting in laparoscopy surgery solicitors taking legal action for medical negligence compensation.

Keyhole Surgery Complications

Laparascopic surgery otherwise known as keyhole surgery has substantially increased over recent years however there has also been a dramatic rise in laparoscopy medical negligence. There are tens of thousands of deaths recorded every year as a result of clinical negligence and a substantial proportion of those occur following keyhole surgery. The majority of complications occur on initial surgical entry and most of the claims concern damage to the bowel, bladder and ureters, injuries to blood vessels and through the use of electro surgery to coagulate, cut and dissect. The main cause of these problems relates to the surgeon making a misjudgement or a mistake which may be as a result of inadequate training, lack of aptitude or inexperience in that particular procedure.

Established Protocols

Injuries through the misuse of laparoscopic equipment are often associated with the bowel, blood vessels, intestines or bile duct and the procedure is generally more dangerous than open surgery. Most injuries occur when the camera is being inserted through the initial incision which is effectively carried out 'blind'. Subsequently other instruments are threaded between the other organs on the journey to the desired location. The camera only has a narrow field of vision meaning any deviation by one of the instruments could cause unnoticed injury. There are very well established protocols for carrying out laparoscopic surgery and subject to abnormal anatomy there should be no risk of injury however injuries do occur due to the negligent operation of the equipment by the surgeon concerned.

Time Limits

If you have undergone laparoscopic surgery and there were complications as a result of medical negligence you may be able to claim compensation. Time is of the essence and there are time limits for all personal injury claims. Failure to comply with the Limitation Act may mean that the opportunity to claim compensation is lost forever. Don't delay - take legal advice today.

Laparoscopy Solicitors

Thousands of clinical compensation claims are initiated every year in the United Kingdom by medical negligence solicitors on behalf of people from all walks of life. A multitude of operations and procedures are executed successfully however small percentages do go wrong, laying the grounds for laparoscopy surgery solicitors to take legal action in order to claim compensation. Both legal aid and the no win no fee* scheme are available to pursue medical negligence compensation claims. We operate the no win no fee* scheme otherwise known as a conditional fee agreement. No legal charge is payable unless the legal case is won and the client obtains an award of compensation. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client. Please contact our laparoscopy surgery solicitors for help pursuing your claim.

Laparoscopy Information

Laparoscopic surgeries have increased in scope and frequency over the last thirty years. At the present time, laparoscopic surgery is being done on joint surgeries, plastic surgery, abdominal surgeries and other surgeries. At the current time, it is being used for sterilization procedures and for treatment of ectopic pregnancies as well as for appendectomies. A laparoscope is a device that involves a rigid rod with a camera attached to the end of it. Part of the rod is hollow so that surgical tools can be passed into the rod and can be used at a distance.

Laparoscopic surgery has revolutionized medicine today. Instead of large, open incisions, the laparoscopic surgeries involve multiple small incisions that the laparoscope is inserted into and out of through the course of the procedure. Laparoscopic surgery is considered relatively safe, with a complication rate of 1 percent to 5 percent in minor procedures to a rate of 2.5 percent to 6 percent in major procedures.

Complications of laparoscopy can be from several things. One of those things involves the anesthesia. This is what laparoscopy has in common with general surgery and, because laparoscopic surgery is generally longer than regular surgery, the chances of an anesthetic complication are potentially higher. In addition, the patient is often put into the Trendelenberg position, which involves slanting downward toward the head, can cause the lungs to distend poorly. It can cause elevated CO2 levels in the bloodstream and respiratory difficulty.

If the anesthesia is not deep enough, there can be a vasovagal response with a resulting blood pressure and pulse drop, causing shock and circulatory collapse. There can also be allergic reactions to the anesthesia which can cause circulatory collapse.

During the use of a laparoscope in an abdominal exam, you need to introduce air into the abdomen in order to be able to see the structures. If you fail to introduce the Veress' needle, you can get an emphysema or air collection of the extra-peritoneal spaces. This can happen about 2 percent of the time. One can feel air bubbles underneath the skin; attempts to use a laparoscope when this happens can be a problem so the air should be expressed from the tissues. Air can accidentally get into the mediastinal space, the space around the heart, and it can cause the heart to pump poorly. In addition, the air can get between the lungs and the chest wall, leading to a condition called pneumothorax. Air can get into the omentum of the abdomen and cause a puncture of the omental blood vessels.

Penetration of the intestinal, stomach or esophageal cavities can lead to serious infection, sepsis and death. This happens when a needle or the cannula is inserted through the wall of an aspect of these viscera. Penetration of the bowel or other viscera needs antibiotics and complete repair so as to avoid leakage of the contents and peritonitis of the tissue around the hole. Failure to recognize a perforated intestine or other bowel part is a serious complication. Bladder injury can occur with an abdominal laparoscopy and can result in the necessity of repair of the bladder and antibiotics to prevent infection.

Blood vessel injury can occur if the Veress' needle penetrates the omentum or gets at the mesenteric vessels. This can be life threatening if the bleeding is not gotten under control. It can usually be repaired through the laparoscope unless the bleeding is severe, in which a laparotomy and repair is necessary (open surgery).

A gas embolism can occur, which involves gas entering a blood vessel through the laparoscope. This can easily be fatal. This happens when the Veress' needle punctures a vessel and this isn't repaired before air is insufflated into the abdomen. The repair involves a cardiac puncture to release air built up inside the heart. It is a life threatening injury.

The liver or spleen can be punctured in an abdominal laparoscopy. This is especially true if the spleen or liver is enlarged. If the spleen or liver becomes punctured by the Veress' needle, repair is necessary before proceeding with the surgery.

The CO2 used to distend the abdomen in a laparoscopy is absorbed quickly by the system so that even if it becomes an embolus, it dissolves before reaching a vital area. Too much CO2 absorbed, however, can lead to a heart arrhythmia. It also causes pain after surgery. Nitrous oxide has a lesser chance of problems and is used by some anesthetists and surgeons who are using in place of CO2.



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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