Ear, nose and throat surgery covers a wide range of procedures by specialist surgeons including ENT and otolaryngologists. The overwhelming majority of these procedures are conducted correctly and without complication. Nevertheless, from time to time, medical mistakes and accidents do happen. When they do the consequences for the patient can be devastating.  If you are concerned that medical negligence may have take place during the course of your treatment or treatment received by a member of your family, you should take early legal advice from a specialist Solicitor. You may be entitled to claim compensation. Even if you don’t want to make such a claim you may want to demand an apology.

Richard Blair, a Partner in the PI and Clinical Negligence Department in Paignton, outlines the common problems which can arise through botched ear, nose and throat surgery and explains how you might go about claiming compensation if this happens to you.

There are a number of reasons why you might need treatment for ear, nose or throat problems. These include:

  • Persistent acial pain;
  • Tinnitus;
  • Snoring;
  • The removal of nasal obstructions;
  • Rhinoplasty (nasal surgery);
  • Pinnaplasty (ear surgery); and
  • Problems with the inner ear creating difficulty in maintaining your balance.

A number of problems can result from substandard clinical care in ENT surgery and treatment. These include: –

  • Facial palsy due to damage to a facial nerve;
  • Loss of sight as a result of damage to the optic nerve;
  • Loss or reduction of sense of smell or taste;
  • Damage to the vocal cords;
  • Loss of hearing or reduction of hearing capability;
  • Avoidably delayed diagnosis of tumours to affecting the nose, sinuses or throat;
  • The leaking of cerebral spinal fluid;
  • Damage to eye sockets and other facial structures;
  • Tinnitus or disturbance of physical balance as a result of incorrect treatment of the inner ear; and
  • Thyroid problems.

How a solicitor can help

If you have been a victim of medical negligence during treatment for ear, nose or throat problems, it is highly advisable for you to seek legal advice straight away. There are strict time limits for bringing a compensation claim. An expert clinical negligence lawyer will swiftly assess your case and advise you whether have a valid claim.

To claim successfully you have to prove that the treatment you received fell below the accepted standard of care expected of the doctor who treated you. You also have to prove that you suffered harm caused by negligent treatment.

Your solicitor will help you gather the evidence you need to prove these important issues. Medical records will be gathered and statements taken from witnesses. Medical experts will be instructed to advise whether the treatment you received fell below an acceptable standard and – if it did – what injuries you suffered. The expert will also help in measuring financial loss.

Your lawyer will be with you throughout the claims procedure, battling to an out of Court  settlement and guiding you through the Court process if your claim goes that far. The compensation you can claim will depend on the extent of your injuries and the effect they have had on your life, but could include compensation for:

  • pain and suffering;
  • loss of earnings and loss of pension entitlement;
  • additional medical treatment or rehabilitation;
  • out-of-pocket expenses; and
  • adaptations required to your home.


For further information, please contact Richard Blair, a Partner in the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Team, by telephone on 01803 546134 or email richardblair@wbw.co.uk. WBW Solicitors has offices in Newton Abbot, Exeter, Torquay, Paignton, Bovey Tracey, Launceston, Honiton, Exmouth and Sidmouth.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.