Medical Negligence News

Woman Awarded Compensation for Vocal Chord Injury

Posted on: March 9th, 2012 by Medical Negligence

A woman, who struggled for months to breathe after a doctor severed a nerve during an operation to remove a thyroid gland, has been awarded an undisclosed award of compensation for vocal chord injury.

Joanne Roche (42) from Bridlington in Yorkshire was admitted to Scarborough Royal Infirmary in February 2008 for what was supposed to be a routine surgical procedure to remove a thyroid gland. However, when she came round from the operation, she had difficulty speaking and was unable to breathe whenever she lay back.

A doctor who attended her said that it was a crushed nerve that would heal in time by itself but, four months later, Joanne had to undergo a tracheostomy operation to insert a tube into her throat to enable her to breathe more easily.

The tracheostomy has had a major impact on Joanne´s life, as she is unable to work full-time as a health-care assistant, enjoy family activities which present the risk of smoke or water entering her lungs through the tracheostomy device, or speak and use both her hands at the same time.

The medical options presented to Joanne were to keep the tracheostomy permanently or have a further operation to remove the part of her severed vocal chord which is blocking her airway. Although Joanne never wanted the tracheostomy, the alternative means that she may lose her voice forever.

After seeking advice from medical negligence solicitors, Joanne made a compensation claim for vocal chord injury and, during the course of compiling the vocal chord injury compensation claim, it was discovered that the surgeon who originally operated on Joanne – Dr Nayef El-Bhargouti – was not qualified in thyroid surgery and took only half the time he should have to complete the operation.

Joanne reported the findings to the General Medical Council who suspended the doctor for a year and, with evidence that doctor negligence had occurred in one of their operating theatres, the Scarborough and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust had no option but to negotiate a settlement of compensation for vocal chord injury with Joanne´s solicitors.