A nip too far - medical case study

...the surgeon mistakenly cut off too much skin around his eye. The patient needed grafts and suffered scarring...

PATIENT Mr C underwent a delicate operation on the skin around his eye under local anaesthetic. During the procedure, the surgeon mistakenly cuts off too much skin which required skin grafts to repair the damage. Mr C suffered scarring and had to make a number of repeat visits to the hospital for follow-up treatment on the grafts. Solicitors representing the patient made a claim against the surgeon for negligence, seeking damages for pain, suffering and scarring caused by the excessive skin removal. The claim also raises questions over the adequacy of the anaesthetic administered.

Outcome and analysis

The surgeon admitted to removing too much skin from the patient’s eye area but claimed the patient moved during the procedure. The surgeon also claimed he had advised sedation rather than a local anaesthetic before the procedure but did agree to carry out the surgery using a local anaesthetic. MDDUS concluded that the case was indefensible and agreed a small settlement in the case.

Key points

  • Ensure the patient gives fully informed consent for procedures with understanding of the main risks.
  • Ensure adequate anaesthesia is in place before proceeding with surgical procedures.