UK Surgeon Medical Negligence

If you have suffered a loss or an injury due to a surgical error, it may be possible to make a claim for UK surgeon medical negligence and recover compensation for your loss or injury. UK surgeon medical negligence claims are among the most difficult to establish, as it has to be established that “at the time and in the circumstances” the surgeon took a course of action which demonstrated a poor professional performance.

It also has to be established that you suffered an adverse effect due to UK surgeon medical negligence which would would not have occurred if the surgery had been conducted by a “competent” surgeon. In many cases surgical errors are made which have no adverse effect, or the error is identified at an early stage and rectified.

Due to the complicated nature of making UK surgeon medical negligence claims for compensation, it is advisable to speak with a medical negligence solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity to establish whether you have a claim for surgeon medical negligence in the UK which is worth your while to pursue.

Claim for Negligent Heart Surgery Resolved after Surgeon Struck Off

A mother´s claim for negligent heart surgery has been resolved three years after her daughter died from brain damage sustained during the operation.

On September 24th 2003, Carrie Wright was just nine years of age when she underwent elective surgery at Leeds Royal Infirmary to repair a heart defect. During the operation Carrie was deliberately put into deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (DHCA) – a procedure that cools the body down so that work can be done on the heart without the patient suffering brain damage.

However, rather than limiting the period of DHCA to the maximum recommended forty-five minutes, Carrie´s surgeon – Dr Nihal Weerasena – kept her body in circulatory arrest for more than two hours, resulting in Carrie suffering severe brain damage. Due to her injury, Carrie was unable to walk or stand, had limited speech and was unable to live an independent life.

In 2014, concerns about Dr Weerasena was brought to the attention of the General Medical Council after Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust had reviewed its paediatric care services and suspected the surgeon of a number of failings related to the care of seven children and one adult. In January 2017, he was found guilty of misconduct and struck off. Tragically Carrie died in December 2013 aged twenty.

Prior to the review of the standard of care at Leeds Royal Infirmary, Carrie´s mother – Dawn Clayton – had made a claim for negligent heart surgery against the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS trust, alleging that her daughter´s brain damage could have been avoided at the time and in the circumstances, and was attributable to Dr Weerasena´s negligence.

In the claim for negligent heart surgery it was argued that there was no justifiable reason for Carrie being kept in circulatory arrest for so long, as the surgery was not an emergency operation and Dr Weerasena had other options available to him. However, until the surgeon was found guilty of misconduct by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, the NHS Litigation Authority refused to settle the case.

Now Carrie´s mother is to receive £430,000 compensation in settlement of her claim for negligent heart surgery. She has also received an apology from Dr Yvette Oade, the Chief Medical Officer for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. In her apology, Dr Oade said:  “On behalf of the hospital I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family of Carrie, and deeply regret that we failed to provide the standard of care that she and her family were entitled to expect”.

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Hospital Admits Mistakes Were Made in Claim for Negligent Prolapse Treatment

A hospital has admitted mistakes were made and made an interim compensation payment in partial settlement of a claim for negligent prolapse treatment.

In November 2012, Diana Birch (69) – a former paediatrician and charity director – attended the Royal Free Hospital in London to undergo a rectoplasty procedure to treat a prolapsed bowel. Unfortunately the procedure was not entirely successful and, in December 2013, Diana was readmitted to the hospital for a key-hole rectoplexy.

On recovering from the second procedure, Diana found she had lost feeling in her lower back and left leg, and was unable to stand. An MRI scan revealed that her left femoral nerve had been damaged during the rectoplexy procedure, but the hospital failed to respond to the injury – resulting in Diana suffering further damage to her ureter and having to have one of her kidneys removed.

After seeking legal advice, Diana made a claim for negligent prolapse treatment against the Royal Free London NHA Foundation Trust, alleging that her injury was caused by surgical negligence and exacerbated by the hospital´s failure to act once the injury was discovered. Diana claimed that with earlier intervention, she may have recovered from the paralysis, but due to a second instance of medical negligence that opportunity has now passed.

The Royal Free Hospital investigated Diana´s claim for negligent prolapse treatment and has now admitted mistakes were made and liability for her injury. An interim payment of compensation has been made in partial settlement of her claim for negligent prolapse treatment while reports are being compiled into her future needs. The final settlement should allow Diana to complete rehabilitation therapy and provide her with the equipment she needs to live as independently as possible.

Diana told newspaper reporters: “This has changed my life completely and three years on I am still trying to come to terms with what has happened to me and what could have been done to prevent it or correct it before it was too late. My greatest wish now is that lessons can be learned from what has happened to me so that no one else has their life turned upside-down as I have.”

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Claim for a Vasectomy on the Wrong Patient Likely after Errors Admitted

A claim for a vasectomy on the wrong patient is likely to be made against the Broadgreen Hospital in Liverpool following the admission of procedural errors.

In February 2014, the man – identified only as Patient A – was due to undergo surgery to have scar tissue removed, when he was brought into the operating theatre out of sequence and underwent a vasectomy procedure instead.

The error occurred initially due to changes being made to the operating theatre running order. The nurse responsible for the changes – Rosemary Tollitt – failed to advise colleagues of the changes or check Patient A´s identity as he was being taken into theatre.

However, the doctor in charge of the surgery – Dr Nanikram Vaswani – has admitted misconduct charges for failing to confirm the patient´s identity, not reviewing the patient´s medical notes and not following surgical checklists before commencing surgery.

Dr Vaswani has also admitted failing to inform the hospital authorities immediately after realising his error, and failing to keep notes of his conversation with Patient A after the operation – a conversation that led to an unsuccessful vasectomy reversal operation being attempted later in the day.

In addition to the procedural errors likely to be included in a claim for a vasectomy on the wrong patient, it is also the opinion of the General Medical Council that Patient A would not have been in an appropriate emotional state to give his informed consent for the vasectomy reversal procedure.

It is understood that Patient A has sought legal advice about making a claim for a vasectomy on the wrong patient against the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust. A spokesman from the General Medical Council said that the man had been “physically and emotionally traumatised” by the experience.

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Claim for the Failure to Treat Post-Surgery Complications Resolved Out of Court

A family is to receive a six-figure settlement of compensation in resolution of its claim for the failure to treat post-surgery complications.

On 28th April 2009, Tracy Hall (38) from Castleford in West Yorkshire underwent elective surgery for the reversal of a stoma at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield. The surgery lasted nine hours, after which Tracy – who was diagnosed with Crohn´s disease in 1996 – suffered complications including internal bleeding and an infection.

Tracy´s wound opened several times and had to be washed out to prevent further infections, but her condition continued to deteriorate. On 4th May doctors noticed a significant amount of blood in her stoma bag. She was returned to theatre, where it was discovered that an artery had been cut and her abdominal wall had burst.

Following further surgery, Tracy – who had suffered with abdominal pain and lost nearly three stone in weight in the months prior to the surgery – was transferred to the hospital´s High Dependency Unit, where she was sedated and put on a life support machine. Tragically she died eight days later from multiple organ failure caused by sepsis.

Tracy´s husband instructed medical negligence solicitors to investigate the level of care his wife had received, and subsequently made a claim for the failure to treat post-surgery complications against the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust when it was discovered that there had be a delay in identifying and treating the complications.

It was also admitted by the NHS Trust that the surgery should have been delayed because Tracy´s Crohn´s disease was particularly active at the time. Tracy´s husband and the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust agreed on a six-figure settlement of the claim for the failure to treat post-surgery complications, after which Tracy´s mother, Carol, said:

“We have been completely heartbroken since losing Tracy – it was incredibly difficult for the whole family to see her suffer like she did and deteriorate so quickly in front of our eyes. We never imagined that just two weeks after surgery she would no longer be with us. I just hope that this doesn’t happen to any other families and that the NHS Trust learns from its mistakes.”

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Woman Settles Claim for the Failure to Acknowledge Medical Instrument Phobia

A woman, who had metal clips inserted during a thyroidectomy against her wishes, has settled her claim for the failure to acknowledge medical instrument phobia.

In 2010, Sylvia Ramsay (66) underwent an operation on her thyroid at the Spire Roding private hospital in Essex. Prior to the surgery, Sylvia had told consultant surgeon Akinyede Ojo that she had a phobia about medical instruments and surgical items being left inside her body.

Sylvia told Dr Ojo that she had heard from an another consultant that it was possible to conduct a thyroidectomy without the use of metal clips, and requested that he avoided the use of clips and used dissolvable stitches instead.

Sylvia came around from the surgery believing that the consultant surgeon had carried out the procedure in line with her wishes. However, a year later she saw a specialist after complaining of breathing difficulties. The specialist took an X-ray of Sylvia´s throat that revealed the presence of twenty-five metal clips.

“I can only explain the feeling as similar to when you have a near miss in a car accident, that jolt of panic, followed by feeling out of control” Sylvia told her local paper. The clips were eventually removed by a private clinic in 2013, but only after her GP had refused to help and Sylvia had undergone a significant amount of therapy in an attempt to come to terms with her phobia.

After seeking legal advice, Sylvia made a claim for the failure to acknowledge medical instrument phobia against Dr Ojo and the Spire Roding hospital. Dr Ojo denied negligence and said that the situation had occurred due to a misunderstanding. However, following a lengthy period of negotiation, a settlement of Sylvia´s claim was agreed without an admission of liability.

“I know this is not a rational reaction but it is not something I can control,” Sylvia said after her claim for the failure to acknowledge medical instrument phobia had been settled. “It’s like putting an arachnophobe into a room full of spiders and telling them not to be so silly.”

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Settlement of Compensation for Locked-In Syndrome to be Decided by Judge

A judge will decide how much compensation for locked-in syndrome should be awarded to a man from Cork after an agreement could not be reached during a court hearing.

In November 2001, Eoin O´Mahony was admitted to the Cork University Hospital for brain surgery following complaints of headaches. An initial procedure on 23rd November to reduce pressure on his brain failed to resolve the problem, and Eoin underwent a second operation on 30th November to partially remove a tumour that had been discovered.

Unfortunately, Eoin lapsed into a coma on 1st December due to brain damaged caused by the negligence of his surgeon. When Eoin recovered, he was diagnosed with locked-in syndrome – a condition in which a patient is aware, but cannot move or communicate verbally due to complete paralysis of nearly all voluntary muscles in the body.

The Cork University Hospital conceded liability for Eoin´s brain injuries in 2009, and interim payments of compensation for locked-in syndrome amounting to €4.1 million have been paid to his parents in lieu of a structured periodic payment system being introduced. As legislation has not been passed for periodic payments, Eoin´s parents had asked for a lump sum payment to finish the thirteen years of litigation they have endured on their son´s behalf.

At the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Michael Moriarty conceded to their request, but after nineteen days of hearings – during which Eoin´s future needs were discussed – no agreement could be reached between Eoin´s legal team and the State Claims Agency. Mr Justice Michael Moriarty briefly adjourned the hearing after instructing the parties that the final settlement of compensation for locked-in would be between €10 million and €10.1 million and asked them to reach agreement.

When the hearing reconvened, Judge Moriarty was told that Eoin´s family was willing to split the difference, but the State Claims Agency would not agree to the arrangement. The judge said that he would make the final decision in October, and instructed the State Claims Agency to make a further payment of €800,000 to Eoin´s family to cover their medical and care expenses in the intervening period.

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Man Settles Medical Negligence Claim for Wrong Site Back Surgery

A former police officer has settled his claim for wrong site back surgery after the Salford Royal Hospitals NHS Trust admitted that a mistake had been made.

In 2011, Michael Dunn (51) from Droylsden in Greater Manchester was advised to undergo back surgery to repair two discs that were causing him to experience pain from his neck, along his right arm and down into his right hand.

The traffic support officer for the Greater Manchester Police attended the Salford Royal Hospital and underwent the surgery but, soon after waking up from the operation, he became aware that he had lost all feeling in his right arm.

Despite raising his concerns with a consultant, Michael was discharged from hospital after being told that the lack of feeling was a temporary reaction to the surgery. However, Michael never regained the full use of his arm and decided to take legal advice.

Michael´s solicitor instigated an investigation at the hospital, due to which it was discovered that surgeons had operated on the wrong discs in Michael´s spine and also damaged a nerve root. Consequently, Michael will never regain the full use of his arm.

Unable to return to work, Michael made a medical negligence claim for wrong site back surgery against the Salford Royal Hospital´s NHS Trust. Liability was admitted and a settlement of his claim was negotiated amounting to £259,000.

Speaking after the settlement of his medical negligence claim for wrong site back surgery was announced, Michael said: “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 Medical Director at the Salford Royal Hospital – 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.”

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Family to Pursue Claim for Wrongful Death due to Negligent Post-Operative Care

A family have instructed a solicitor to pursue a claim for a wrongful death due to negligent post-operative care at the private Yorkshire Clinic in Bingley.

On 25th September 2014, James Hartley (79) from Addingham was admitted as an NHS patient to the private Yorkshire Clinic in Bingley for a routine hernia repair operation. The hernia repair operation went as planned, but twenty-four hours afterwards James suffered a series of seizures.

James was transferred to the intensive care department at Bradford Royal Infirmary, where tests revealed evidence of low sodium levels and a swelling of the brain. James died six days later from water intoxication, multiple organ failure due to sepsis and pneumonia.

An inquest into his death found that James – described as “fit and healthy” prior to his hernia operation – had not been fitted with a catheter until fourteen hours after his operation, during which time he had been encouraged to drink plenty of water.

The catheter had been removed straight after 650ml of fluid had been removed, and James fluid levels had not been checked since – causing a fatal amount of water to build up in his system which led to the swelling of his brain and the development of sepsis.

Assistant coroner Oliver Langstaff recorded a verdict of death by misadventure at the inquest, but he noted: “There is no doubt in my mind that the major contributing force in Mr Hartley’s death was water intoxication brought on by an overload of fluids that went unmonitored and unnoticed”.

Mr Langstaff added: “I have some misgivings of the overall thoroughness to the investigation into nurses responsible for Mr Hartley’s care on September 25 and they are conspicuous by their absence from this inquiry.”

Members of the family attending the inquest said that they were pleased that the assistant coroner had highlighted the lack of care received by James, and revealed that they had instructed a solicitor to pursue a claim for wrongful death due to negligence post-operative care.

Mr Hartley’s son Richard, added: “[the death of James] raises another issue of private companies coming in and taking over NHS operations and it asks questions about the standard of care provided in supposedly easy contracts.”

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Pensioner Awarded Compensation for Negligent Surgery at Basildon Hospital

A seventy year old woman has been awarded £35,000 compensation for negligence surgery at Basildon Hospital by a judge at the High Court.

Catherine King from Buckhurst Hill in London attended the Basildon Hospital in October 2009 to have plaque removed from an artery. During the operation, a nerve was damaged that left Catherine with a “weak, husky and painful” voice – described by her husband as “ a very quiet, very hoarse whisper”.

The injury to her voice made it difficult for Catherine to continue her job as a warden in a sheltered accommodation facility. In addition to being unable to help the elderly residents who were hard of hearing, Catherine was unable to use the telephone or sing in her local church choir.

After seeking legal advice, Catherine claimed compensation for negligent surgery at Basildon Hospital. However, her claim was contested by the Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who argued that the injury was most likely the result of a subsequent blood clot rather than negligent surgery.

Catherine took her claim for compensation for negligent surgery at Basildon Hospital to the High Court in London; where she told Mr Justice Robert Jay that she was aware her voice was weak after the surgery, but “did not want to make a fuss about it and took it to be a normal reaction”. The judge also heard that Catherine felt socially handicapped due to not being able to use the telephone.

The judge dismissed the NHS Trust´s defence that her injury was more likely due to a blood clot that had formed after the procedure and was “part and parcel of a recognised complication” and said that, on the balance of probabilities, Catherine´s injury was more likely caused by a surgical error. Having found in her favour, Mr Justice Robert Jay awarded Catherine £35,000 compensation for negligent surgery at Basildon Hospital.

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Compensation for Paralysis due to Medical Negligence Approved in Court

An interim settlement of compensation for paralysis due to medical negligence has been approved at the Dublin High Court in favour of an eighteen year old woman.

In December 2009, Emily Casey (then 13 years of age) underwent a procedure at Our Lady´s Hospital for Sick Children intended to reverse her scoliosis – a curvature of the spine attributable to Emily having suffered from meningitis when she was just four years old.

During the procedure, a special screw – known as a pedicle – was inserted into Emily´s spine which was supposed to reverse the curvature. However, the screw was incorrectly inserted into her spinal cord, and Emily was left paralysed from the chest down. Because of the medical negligence, Emily is unable to live an independent life and confined to a wheelchair.

On her daughter´s behalf, Stephanie Casey from Dalkey in Dublin claimed compensation for paralysis due to medical negligence against Our Lady´s Hospital for Sick Children and the consultant orthopaedic surgeon who conducted the procedure – Dr David Moore.

Both the hospital and the consultant orthopaedic surgeon contested their liability until court proceedings were issued. The joint defendants subsequently admitted that errors had been made in Emily´s treatment and an interim €1.668 million settlement of compensation for paralysis due to medical negligence was agreed.

As the claim for compensation had been made on behalf of a legal minor, the case was presented to Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court in Dublin for approval of the settlement. Judge Cross heard about Emily´s medical background and that after the negligent scoliosis procedure she had remained in the hospital until April 2010 before being transferred to the National Rehabilitation Centre for further treatment.

Judge Cross said that he had no hesitation in approving the interim settlement of compensation for paralysis due to medical negligence, and he then adjourned the case until later in the month for issues to be resolved that prevented the settlement from being a full one. After the hearing, Emily’s mother said the family, and especially Emily, were relieved that liability had been admitted, but was angry that “Nobody would admit that a mistake had been made until last week.”

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