Real Life

Consumer: When operations go wrong

Discover what you can do when an operation hasn’t worked out satisfactorily.
Consumer: Operation-for-eyes

Your husband recently had an eye operation that hasn’t worked out satisfactorily. He now has much poorer sight. You’d been assured the operation was routine and there was little chance of things going wrong. Can you have the procedure peer reviewed to establish if there was fault on the part of the surgical team?

To have the operation peer reviewed, you would need evidence of malpractice. This is difficult to establish unless the malpractice is obvious. You might want to speak to another specialist, preferably in another location, to get an opinion on the likelihood of malpractice. If that specialist raises concerns, you could complain to the Medical Council or the Health and Disability Commissioner. You can take the case yourself – your husband doesn’t have to, if he’s incapacitated. But first make sure you have exhausted all discussion between you and the surgeon. Seeking the assistance of other specialists isn’t cheap so you’d need to be convinced. Usually when procedures go wrong, it is not the fault of any of the surgical team. The Medical Council would initially refer the matter to the Health and Disability Commissioner anyway.

Do you have a question for Kevin? Email [email protected] (Subject line: Consumer) or post to: NZWW, Bauer Media, Private Bag 92512, Auckland 1036.

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