A cut too far

...During the procedure, the surgeon mistakenly cuts off too much skin which requires skin grafts...

BACKGROUND: Patient Mr C undergoes a delicate operation on the skin around his eye under local anaesthetic. During the procedure, the surgeon mistakenly cuts off too much skin which requires skin grafts to repair the damage. Mr C suffers scarring and has to make a number of repeat visits to the hospital for follow-up treatment on the grafts. Solicitors representing the patient make 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/ANALYSIS: The surgeon admits to removing too much skin from the patient’s eye area but claims the patient moved during the procedure. The surgeon also claims 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 concludes that the case is indefensible and agrees 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.