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The Clinical Negligence Team have recovered very substantial sums of compensation for clients in a number of medical negligence claims. Here are a selection of our most recent successful cases:
Kerstin Kubiak recovered £350,000 compensation for a patient who contracted a bacterial infection whilst an inpatient for neurological surgery. Our client was admitted for surgery to treat uncontrolled epilepsy, which involved a pre-operative assessment using telemetry wires embedded into the brain; following this procedure, our client contracted a gut flora bacterial infection in the brain. This infection became deep seated and required further extensive surgery to remove and treat the infection. It was alleged that the Trust failed to ensure adequate hand hygiene procedures of its medical staff and in addition failed to carry out a deep clean of the room where our client was, as the previous patient in the room had suffered from a peri-anal abscess. Our client suffered long term effects of her brain damage, including problems with her memory, speech difficulties, physical weakness and an inability to return to work.
Kerstin Kubiak, Partner, acted for Mary, who at 28 years of age was admitted to hospital as an emergency with appendicitis. She underwent surgery to remove her appendix but the surgeons failed to remove all of the appendix, leaving the infected tip in place. Following the surgery Mary became critically ill with an abdominal infection, requiring 2 further surgical procedures and an admission to the intensive care unit. She also required removal of part of her large bowel. Mary made a slow recovery and has been left with significant scarring, restrictions to her diet, bowel problems and possible future fertility problems. The Defendants made an early admission of liability in this case and the claim was brought to a quick settlement.
Rebecca Callard acted for a 38 year old man, who received £10,000 following an inappropriate procedure to remove a benign tumour from the soft palate of his mouth. Our client underwent a full neck dissection of the tumour, which was established to have been unnecessary as the tumour was already known to be benign and could have therefore been removed in a less invasive manner. This inappropriate procedure meant that skin grafts were taken from our client’s arm and abdomen unnecessarily. Our client was therefore left with scarring to his neck, arm and abdomen which he should have avoided. There was also a subsequent failure to repair an oral fistula which had formed since the original surgery, meaning our client had to undergo a further unnecessary operation.
Richard Coleman, Partner, recently acted for a client who received compensation of £236,000 for the injuries she suffered as a result of having unnecessary ankle fusion surgery. Our client attended hospital with symptoms in her foot and ankle and the Doctor failed to diagnose that she had a ruptured posterior tibialis tendon. Had this correct diagnosis been made she would have been treated conservatively with physiotherapy and orthotics. Instead the Doctor advised that she have surgery to fuse her ankle, which she agreed to, but was later found to have been unnecessary. As a result our client was left with permanent mobility problems, the need for specialist aids and equipment (including orthotics) and care needs. Her case was settled out of Court.
Rebecca Callard acted for EC in relation to her claim against the NHS Commissioning Board after a procedure planned to correct a posterior extension of the left labium minus, a skin tag on her vagina, resulted in the incorrect excision of tissue from another area of EC’s labia.
In 2006, EC had suffered a second degree perineal tear during the birth of her first child. The tear healed leaving a 1 inch skin tag. EC attended a consultation to discuss a procedure to remove the skin tag and it was clearly confirmed what tissue would be removed. However, following the procedure, EC discovered that the wrong tissue had been excised and the skin tag remained.
EC therefore required a further procedure to have the skin tag removed; the initial procedure was unnecessary and caused EC to have uneven labia. EC experienced pain and discomfort due to the incorrect excision as her left labia was too taut and she suffered a psychological injury due to the effect this had on her relationship with her husband.
EC received £15,000 in an out of court settlement for her pain and suffering and for her financial losses, including future private treatment costs.
A client, represented by Simon Elliman, Head of the Clinical Negligence Team, received agreed compensation of £200,000, in respect of negligently performed keyhole surgery to remove her gallbladder (also known as laparoscopic cholecystectomy). During the procedure the common bile duct was inadvertently clipped (rather than the cystic duct), resulting in bile leaking into our client’s abdomen. She had to spend a long period in hospital, undergoing several further operative procedures, and ultimately reconstructive surgery.
She continues to suffer abdominal pain, fatigue and constipation, and faces risks of developing cholangitis, and complications from adhesions. She was forced to give up her work as a Night Sister earlier than she would have done.
She received compensation of £200,000 for her pain and suffering, and financial losses, including loss of earnings.
Rebecca Callard acted for a 25 year old woman, who received £5,500 in damages for a negligent lumpectomy that carried out on her left breast, as a result of which healthy breast tissue was removed in error.
After a breast scan, two fibroadenomas were discovered in our client’s left breast and it was agreed with her clinician that the larger of the lumps should be removed and sent for histology to establish its malignancy. Our client’s procedure was carried out by a different clinician and she later discovered that the clinician did not remove either of the lumps during the procedure and had only removed healthy breast tissue. This unnecessary operation caused our client pain and discomfort and caused permanent scarring. Our client is now required to undergo a further lumpectomy to remove the larger fibroadenoma as originally planned.
An out of court settlement was achieved in the sum of £5,500 to compensate our client for her pain and suffering.
Joachim Stanley of the Clinical Negligence Team acted for a client pursuing a claim for negligent treatment of a fractured wrist leading to numerous operations and permanent disability. In June P was admitted to the Accident and Emergency Department of the Defendant Hospital, having fallen onto her left hand and injured her left (non-dominant) wrist. X-rays showed a severely displaced fracture of the distal radius. The fracture was then reduced under sedation, and a plaster cast was applied. When she was seen as a outpatient at the Fracture Clinic approximately 2 weeks later, further x-rays showed a significant loss of the reduction. P was eventually admitted to hospital on 4 July and underwent an manipulation under anaesthetic of the distal left radius. This procedure was not a success, and she was referred to another hospital. Thereafter, P underwent a further 8 surgical procedures over a period of years. Unsurprisingly, these became increasingly difficult, and she eventually underwent a partial fusion operation, which limited movement in the wrist but reduced her levels of pain. Our investigations revealed that there was a negligent failure in June 2006 to re-admit P for re-reduction of the fracture and fixation with a plate or pins. There was a further negligent failure on 4 July 2006 to perform open reduction and internal fixation of the fracture, probably with bone-grafting. Had these steps been taken then the disastrous serious of events which followed would have been avoided. The Defendant Hospital initially denied that its care had been negligent, but after persistence from the Clinical Negligence Team the Hospital admitted they had breached their duty of care to P. We were thereafter able to negotiate an out of Court settlement of £200,000 on P’s behalf, with which she was very happy.
A client, represented by Tracy Norris-Evans, Partner in the Clinical Negligence Team, received compensation of £250,000 after suffering a major bile duct injury due to negligence during gallbladder surgery. This is classified as a Strasberg E1 injury with a Bismuth type 1 stricture. As a result of the negligent gallbladder surgery our client has been left with a 15 cm long upper abdominal scar and requires lifelong monitoring for possible complications which could lead to her requiring further surgery. She suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. She now requires long-term surgical follow up with repeated blood testing and ultrasound scanning to monitor the development of the bile duct stricture. She has a long-term risk of developing a stricture of her main biliary tree which may require endoscopic dilation by ERCP or a percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC) and if these techniques fail, major biliary reconstruction.
She also has a lifetime risk of developing an incisional hernia in the order of approximately 5%. She is also at risk of developing complications from adhesions such as small bowel obstruction of approximately 5%, with a 2% risk that abdominal surgery will be needed for the adhesions. She received compensation of £250,000 for her pain and suffering and financial losses, including loss of earnings.
Tracy Norris-Evans, a Partner in the Clinical Negligence Team, recovered £641,000 for Mr S who suffered anoxic brain damage when he made an attempt at self strangulation whilst under the highest level of observations at a psychiatric hospital. Liability was hotly contested in this case.