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Compensation for client who suffered multiple organ failure following routine keyhole surgery

Six-figure compensation paid following after negligent treatment

Photo of surgical instruments: istock

18 July 2012

Clinical negligence solicitors, Sally-Jean Nicholes and Angharad Vaughan, have succeeded in claiming damages on behalf of their client, a woman, who suffered severe complications following a routine operation, which went unnoticed by hospital staff.

In February 2008, Ms J underwent routine keyhole surgery to remove an ovarian cyst. Ms J’s bladder was perforated during surgery but this was not detected, either during the procedure, or on transfer to the ward. Ms J spent two days on the ward, during which time her condition continued to deteriorate, without receiving the appropriate care: she was aware that her condition was deteriorating but because of the poor nursing care she received, this went unnoticed by medical staff.

By the time Ms J was eventually seen by a doctor, she was extremely unwell. She was diagnosed with septic shock and was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. She underwent two emergency operations which identified and repaired a bladder perforation. Ms J had suffered collapsed lungs, heart and liver damage. She spent two weeks in ICU and was eventually discharged after five weeks in hospital.

Ms J was left with a large surgical hernia and unsightly abdominal scarring, for which she underwent further surgical treatment. The psychological consequences of her experiences have been profound.

Following Leigh Day’s investigations King’s College Hospitals NHS Trust, apologised to Ms J and admitted liability for causing her injuries. Leigh Day successfully negotiated a six figure financial settlement to compensate Ms J for her traumatic experience.

Comment on case: Ms J underwent minimal access (‘keyhole’) surgery; this method is used because it has advantages including that the patient should recover more quickly than if they have undergone open abdominal surgery. This method is safe if carried out by an experienced surgeon but a known risk of the procedure is perforation because part of it is carried out ‘blind’. It may not be negligent to perforate but it is vital to monitor the patient carefully to see if there is a possibility of a perforation and to treat it promptly otherwise it could be fatal, as was nearly the case for Ms J.

For more information please contact Angharad Vaughan on 020 7650 1200.

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