Every medical procedure has risks, whether it is an invasive or non-invasive treatment. This does not mean that people should be warned off undergoing surgery altogether – on the contrary, many operations are life-saving or have the potential to greatly improve lives. However, patients should be made fully aware of the risks prior to giving their consent to treatment.
Some operations can have miraculous results. For example, laser eye surgery has the potential to restore a person's sight so that they no longer need corrective lenses. However, this form of treatment requires a high level of specialist skill and if you are injured due to the negligent actions of the professional, you may have grounds for a clinical negligence claim.
Laser eye surgery and clinical negligence
If you have been suitably warned about the risks of having the procedure performed, and something has gone wrong, your surgeon has a stronger chance of avoiding liability than if he or she had failed to make you aware of the dangers.
However, if your clinician underplayed the risks of the operation – a Which? study conducted in 2009 found three well-known laser eye clinics had done this – then you could stand a higher chance of securing compensation.
"Patients need to understand what the risks are," says the Medical Defence Union.
The organisation added, "they need to think about whether or not the benefits they think they will get from the procedure actually outweigh the risks, in order to decide whether they want to go ahead with it."
Furthermore, if clinical negligence results in you suffering long-term problems, such as corneal ectasia, you may be entitled to claim compensation for these injuries.
Potential problems caused by incorrectly performed laser eye surgery include dry eyes, sometimes resulting in chronic eye inflammation, reduced night vision, the appearance of 'floaters' and blindness.