UK Surgical Negligence

Patient Compensated for Surgical Injury

Posted on: September 8th, 2016 by Medical Negligence

A woman, who sustained a severe jaw dislocation whilst undergoing surgery, has been awarded a six-figure settlement of compensation.

In December 2010, Amanda Walker (forty-eight from Knaresborough in North Yorkshire) tragically discovered that she had miscarried twins. As such, she needed to undergo an operation at the  Harrogate District Hospital to remove the miscarried foetuses. Upon awaking after the operation, Amanda discovered that she was experiencing extreme pain in her face and was unable to move her jaw.

The hospital attributed the pain to a condition with which Amanda had been diagnosed ten years earlier.  To investigate the pain, Amanda visited her dentist to investigate this diagnosis, who discovered that her jaw had been misaligned and that she had sustained severe tissue damage. A MRI scan showed that the extent of Amanda’s jaw injury was comparable with those seen in car crash victims. Amanda has been unable to return to her job in marketing because of the pain caused by the dislocation.

To correct that damage, a further four surgeries were required – including one that inserted an implant. The Harrogate District Hospital maintained that they were not at fault for the damage, though Amanda still chose to consult a solicitor. The solicitor, carried out an investigation which concluded that the way in which the surgical mask was applied to Amanda caused her injury, and not the pre-existing condition.

Amanda proceeded to make a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust. The trust contested the claim until very recently, but when they did admit that they were at fault, a six-figure settlement of compensation was awarded.

Dr David Scullion, the Medical Director of the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, commented that “The Trust is pleased an agreement has been reached. We have apologised to Ms Walker for the impact this injury has had on her. We conducted an investigation into Ms Walker’s care with us in 2010 and want to give assurance that we have learned all we can from this incident.”

Claim for an Emotional Trauma caused by a Consultant Surgeon´s Mistake Settled

Posted on: December 10th, 2015 by Medical Negligence

A woman´s claim for an emotional trauma caused by a consultant surgeon´s mistake has been settled for an undisclosed five-figure amount.

Sixty-six year old Sylvia Ramsay underwent a thyroid operation at the Spire Roding private hospital in Essex in 2010. Prior to the operation, Sylvia informed consultant surgeon Dr Akineye Ojo that she had a life-long phobia of medical instruments and a fear of medical equipment being left inside of her.

Having heard that the thyroidectomy could be conducted with dissolvable stitches, Sylvia requested that the stitches were used during the procedure rather than the metal clips which are more frequently used. As far as she was aware, Dr Ojo consented to her wishes.

When Sylvia regained consciousness after the thyroid operation, she was initially unaware that Dr Ojo had in fact used metal clips during the thyroidectomy. It was only one year later, when a specialist was investigating the cause of Sylvia´s breathing difficulties, that an x-ray exposed the presence of twenty-five metal clips in Sylvia´s throat.

The discovery of the medical equipment inside of her had a severe psychological effect on Sylvia. She described her emotional state being the same as the panic after experiencing a near miss in a car accident – only that her feeling of panic remained with her.

Sylvia sought medical help to help her cope with the emotional trauma, and was nearly sectioned under the Mental Health Act by her GP. It was only after a significant amount of therapy that Sylvia reached the stage where she could undergo another procedure to have the metal clips removed in 2013.

After seeking legal advice, Sylvia made a claim for an emotional trauma caused by a consultant surgeon´s mistake against Dr Ojo. The consultant surgeon denied medical negligence and said that he had not used the dissolvable stitches as Sylvia had requested due to a misunderstanding.

Sylvia´s solicitors pursued the claim for an emotional trauma caused by a consultant surgeon´s mistake and Dr Ojo eventually agreed to an out-of-court settlement without an admission of liability. How much compensation for her emotional trauma Sylvia received has not been disclosed, but is believed to be in five figures.

After her claim for an emotional trauma caused by a consultant surgeon´s mistake had been resolved, Sylvia told her local paper: “I know this is not a rational reaction but it is not something I can control. It´s like putting an arachnophobe into a room full of spiders and telling them not to be so silly.”

Patient´s Claim for Wrong Site Surgery on Back Settled Out of Court for £259,000

Posted on: July 3rd, 2015 by Medical Negligence

A patient, who lost the use of his arm due to surgical negligence, has settled his claim for wrong site surgery on his back for £259,000.

Michael Dunn (51) – a former officer with the Greater Manchester Police – underwent back surgery in 2011 at the Salford Royal Hospital in Manchester to repair two discs in his back that were causing him to suffer severe neck pain that was extending down his right arm and into his hand.

After waking from the operation, Michael from Droylsden in Greater Manchester complained to his consultant that he had no feeling in the arm at all. He was assured by the consultant that the lack of sensation was only temporary and that the use of his arm would return to normal in a few days.

However, Michael only regained minimal use of his right arm and, after being forced to give up his job as a traffic support officer, he sought legal advice from a solicitor. An investigation was launched into Michael´s treatment, from which it was discovered that surgeons had operated on the wrong discs.

In addition to operating on the wrong discs in his back, it was also found that Michael had sustained damage to a nerve root during the surgery. Because it is unlikely that he will ever regain full use of his arm, Michael made a compensation claim for wrong site surgery on his back against the hospital.

The Salford Royal Hospitals NHS Trust admitted liability for Michael´s injury, and an out-of-court settlement of the claim for wrong site surgery on his back was negotiated amounting to £259,000. Speaking after the settlement of his claim had been announced, Michael said:

“This has completely changed my life. I had planned to stay with Greater Manchester Police until I retire, but this has taken it away. I wish I had never had the surgery. I was led to believe it was a straightforward operation, so I wasn´t expecting any complications.”

Dr Peter Turkington –the Salford Royal Hospital´s Medical Director – commented: “Once again, we would like to offer our sincere apologies to Mr Dunn for the standard he received at Salford Royal. When an incident occurs, it is always Salford Royal´s practise to apologise, thoroughly investigate it and ensure that we openly share the findings of this investigation with the patient concerned.”

Compensation for Brain Damage during a Laparoscopy Procedure Approved by Court

Posted on: May 6th, 2015 by Medical Negligence

The High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for brain damage during a laparoscopy procedure estimated to be worth £8 million.

The woman on whose behalf the claim was made – and who has requested to remain anonymous – was admitted to the Hope Hospital in Manchester in March 2010 for a “routine” laparoscopy procedure. Aged twenty-two years at the time, the woman was in a serious relationship, enjoyed her job as a hairdresser and had an active social life.

During the start of the procedure to remove a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, an aorta was punctured when one of the incisions was made. The woman experienced a severe loss of blood resulted, due to which her circulation collapsed and her heart stopped beating. The woman suffered serious brain damage due to it being deprived of oxygen.

The woman is now confined to a wheelchair and needs care twenty-four hours a day. As she is also cognitively deficient, a claim for compensation for brain damage during a laparoscopy procedure was made on her behalf by her mother. The NHS Trust responsible for the Hope Hospital – the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust – admitted liability for her injuries in 2012.

A court hearing to determine how much compensation for brain damage during a laparoscopy procedure the woman was entitled to was scheduled; but, before it could be held, a settlement of her claim was negotiated. Under the settlement the woman will receive an immediate payment of £2 million and index-linked payments for the rest of her life.

As with all compensation claims made on behalf of a claimant who is unable to represent themselves, the negotiated settlement had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in the claimant´s best interests. Consequently details of the surgical accident and the claimant´s injury were related to Mrs Justice Swift at the High Court in London.

After an apology had been read to the woman and her family by a representative of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Mrs Justice Swift approved the settlement of compensation for brain damage during a laparoscopy procedure. Before closing the case, Judge Swift said: “I hope that this substantial settlement will at least ensure she has the best possible quality of life in the years to come and I wish her and the other members of her family the very best for the future”.

Liability Admitted in Perineal Tear Compensation Claim

Posted on: December 4th, 2014 by Medical Negligence

The Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has conceded liability in a perineal tear compensation claim and settled the claim for £390,000 after a two-year legal battle.

Dalia DuMaurier (30) from Rising Brook in Staffordshire gave birth to her daughter Isabeau via a vacuum procedure in February 2010 at the County Hospital in Stafford. Dalia´s pregnancy had been free of complications, but during the delivery of her daughter, she suffered a perineal tear.

Although noticed at the time and repaired, complications developed from the tear which resulted in Dalia suffering a series of medical problems. As well as a rectovaginal fistula and faecal incontinence, Dalia suffered a parastornal hernia and now has to wear a colostomy bag.

The complications were examined and discovered to be attributable to the perineal tear being inadequately repaired. Dalia had to give up her job as a student nurse and had to undergo treatment for the complications, as well as therapy to help her cope with the change in her lifestyle.

Dalia sought legal advice and made a perineal tear compensation claim against the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, claiming that she had been a victim of medical negligence and that her complications would not have occurred had the perineal tear been adequately treated at the time.

The NHS Trust initially denied liability for Dalia´s injuries and a two-year legal battle followed. The NHS Trust only admitted liability in March this year when an independent investigation found that the doctor who was responsible for treating the original tear may have caused the problem by applying a stitch to the wrong location or by failing to spot a natural tear in Dalia´s body tissue.

With liability conceded, negotiations began to settle Dalia´s perineal tear compensation claim for an appropriate figure. Eventually an amount of £390,000 was agreed in an out-of-court settlement, which will be held in a personal injury trust to cover the cost of Dalia´s ongoing physical treatment and therapy for her emotional trauma.