UK Unnecessary Surgery

In order to make claims for unnecessary surgery, it has to be shown that a patient underwent a procedure without good cause, or was denied the information that would have allowed him or her to make an informed decision on the course of treatment they should have received.

The issue with unnecessary surgery compensation claims is that is has to be determined why the decision was made to operate on a patient. This could be due to a consultant error, a communication error or an administrative error; but, until it is discovered where the error occurred, it will not be possible to claim compensation for unnecessary surgery.

It is also possible that the unnecessary surgery was scheduled because the patient was not made aware of all the facts or the risks involved in a certain course of action. The failure to advise patients of all the accepted alternative courses of action and the risks associated with them (in non-emergency medical procedures) is considered to be medical negligence as surgeon or other medical professional has not obtained the patient´s informed consent.

The viability of compensation claims for unnecessary surgery also depends on what level of adverse event resulted from medical negligence. If the unnecessary surgery resulted in little or no injury, then it may not be worth your while to make a claim for compensation. Consequently, it is in your best interests to discuss the circumstances of the unnecessary surgery and any injury you sustained with a medical negligence solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity.

Woman to Claim for Medical Negligence Resulting in a Preventable Amputation

A woman is making a claim for medical negligence resulting in a preventable amputation after doctors allegedly misinterpreted the results of a CT scan.

The unnamed woman was admitted to hospital in January last year after fracturing her left femur. As she had a clinical history of underlying malignancy, she underwent a CT scan, X-rays and a blood test to determine whether her injury was due to a disease – such as osteoporosis – that led to a weakness of the bone structure.

The test results were interpreted as showing no signs of a disease. The woman subsequently underwent femoral nailing surgery – a procedure in which a metal rod is inserted into the cavity of the bone to strengthen it – and she was discharged soon after. However, a bone sample taken during the surgery revealed the presence of a cancerous tumour.

The woman was readmitted to hospital the following month to be treated for deep vein thrombosis – a common complication of femoral nailing surgery – and, on her discharge, found that her discharge notification included the results of the bone sample test. She complained that nobody had told her about the presence of a cancerous tumour, and the hospital conducted an investigation.

The diagnosis of cancer was not confirmed until one week later and, due to the treatment options being compromised by the femoral nailing surgery, she had to undergo an above the knee amputation to prevent the disease from spreading. The hospital explained the reason for the cancer not being identified on the CT scan as the scan not including the site in the thigh where the tumour was located.

After seeking legal advice, the woman has instructed solicitors to investigate the level of care she received in order to see if she can justifiably make a claim for medical negligence resulting in a preventable amputation against the Central Manchester University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Her solicitor believes her claim for medical negligence resulting in a preventable amputation believes she may have a strong case. He said:

“The swift, and more importantly, accurate diagnosis of cancer is absolutely crucial as early treatment can often provide the best possible chances of recovery and to prevent long-term health complications. Sadly, in this case, the NHS’ own investigation suggests that the staff who treated the woman at the NHS Trust in question failed to carry out the correct tests, meaning her cancer was not diagnosed as early as it could have been.”

Read More

Woman Settles Claim for the Misdiagnosis of Breast Cancer while Another One Begins

A woman, who underwent an unnecessary double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery, has settled her claim for the misdiagnosis of breast cancer.

The unnamed woman was incorrectly diagnosed with breast cancer after her treating consultant reviewed the mammogram scans from another patient by mistake. The treating consultant told the woman that her non-invasive breast cancer was serious and that she needed urgent surgery.

The consequences of being diagnosed with breast cancer understandably caused terrible personal problems for the woman. The relationship with her husband suffered to the point where their marriage broke up and her previously successful business collapsed.

A mix-up in the order that patients were called into the treating room was later identified as being responsible for the error, but it was only after the woman had undergone an unnecessary double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery that she was informed of the mistake.

After seeking legal advice, the woman made a claim for the misdiagnosis if breast cancer against the Norfolk and Norwich NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust´s investigation confirmed where the mistake had occurred and a settlement of £150,000 was negotiated.

The woman´s claim for the misdiagnosis of breast cancer due to the mix-up of patient notes is the second such event to have happened in as many months. In April, Elizabeth Dawes (39) from Stafford also discovered she had undergone unnecessary surgery for breast cancer that had been misdiagnosed due to a mix-up of patient notes.

Elizabeth unnecessarily underwent a lumpectomy and bilateral breast lift at the New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton after being incorrectly diagnosed with a grade 3 invasive tumour in her breast, and was so traumatised by the event that she has had to give up her job.

In Elizabeth´s case, the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has already apologised “unreservedly” for the mistake and has conducted an investigation to ensure that no other patients were affected by the error. The settlement of Elizabeth´s claim for the misdiagnosis of breast cancer is still under discussion.

Read More

Woman to Receive Compensation for Surgical Procedure Error

A Nottingham woman, who was left with cerebral palsy after being starved of oxygen during a routine operation when she was a baby, has been awarded a six-figure settlement of compensation for surgical procedure error at London´s High Court.

Stacey Jayne Smith (24) was admitted to Nottingham City Hospital in 1988 with a high temperature and doctors, suspecting gall stones, scheduled an operation to removed Stacey Jayne´s gall bladder. However, as Mr Justice Tugendhat at the High Court heard, during the operation Stacey Jayne´s bowel was punctured and she went into cardiac arrest.

Although she was resuscitated, Stacy Jayne´s heart had stopped beating and she suffered catastrophic brain injuries as a result. Stacey Jayne now has cerebral palsy, had to cope throughout her childhood with severe learning difficulties and experiences problems with walking long distances.

Stacey Jayne´s parents made a hospital negligence claim against the East Midlands Strategic Health Authority (EMSHA) who, after an investigation, acknowledged their error and agreed an undisclosed settlement of compensation for surgical procedure error which is believe to be in six figures.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Tugendhat said “I do express my sympathy to Stacey’s family and wish them all the best for the future. Stacey has been very fortunate in the support her family has given her, so lovingly, for so long.”

Read More

Toxicity Fears Could Cause Increase in MoM Hip Implant Compensation Claims

A rise in the number of patients registering a high level of chromium and cobalt in their blood, due to microscopic particles being dispersed by metal on metal (MoM) hip implants, has lead experts to believe that there could be a sharp increase in the number of MoM hip implant compensation claims.

Advisors to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have recommended that new guidance be issued to all recipients of MoM hip implants, due to fears that many people who had the recalled DePuy metal on metal hip replacement systems implanted have not yet followed the advice issued in April 2010 to have an annual x-ray and blood test.

There are over 40,000 people in the UK who have had some form of metal on metal hip replacement system implanted in the past twenty years – 10,000 of whom received the recalled DePuy ASR hip replacement systems. Prior to the worldwide recall of the faulty hip systems in August 2010, the MHRA was already advocating that all recipients of metal on metal have annual checks for chromium and cobalt for a period of five years – more if required.

However the President of the British Orthopaedic Association – Professor Joe Dias – has claimed that only 41 per cent of patients known to have received a faulty DePuy MoM hip replacement system have had the results of their check-ups entered on the central register. Although he acknowledges that many may have undergone the annual checks without their results being communicated, he has concerns that many more may not have been contacted due to their original orthopaedic surgeons retiring and no follow-ups ever being made.

According to Stephen Cannon, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, not only can the microscopic particles be responsible for organ failures and neurological illnesses, but they cause tissue necrosis – making revision surgery that much more complicated and reducing the chances of success. Consequently, not only is the number of MoM hip implant compensation claims anticipated to increase, but also their value, due to reconstructive work having to be carried out before hip surgery can commence and the longer recovery periods that will be experienced by patients.

Also though not strictly attributable to medical negligence, claims for MoM hip replacement compensation should be directed towards specialist UK medical negligence solicitors who understand the emotional worries associated with this type of medical procedure.

Read More

Compensation for Operation on Wrong Side of Heart

A man, who was woken during surgery to tell him that his heart operation had gone wrong, has received a six-figure sum in compensation after making a medical negligence claim.

Steve Edwards (51) from Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset, was having a minor heart procedure at the Bristol Royal Infirmary in 2008 when the error occurred. During the surgery, an item of equipment slipped, causing a radio pulse to be applied to the wrong side of his heart.

The error meant that Mr Edwards would require a pacemaker to be fitted, and the heavily anaesthetised was brought around to advise him of the treatment he required. Mr Edwards claimed in his action against the Bristol Royal Infirmary that he did not appreciate the severity of the issue at the time, and it was only in an outpatient´s appointment ten weeks later that the full extent of the error became known.

Despite three subsequent attempts at corrective surgery, Mr Edwards will now have to wear the pacemaker for the rest of his life – meaning that he will have to undergo surgery once every seven years to replace the battery. The Bristol Royal Infirmary admitted negligence and agreed a six-figure sum in compensation with Mr Edwards´ legal representatives in an out-of-court settlement.

In a statement, the Bristol Royal Infirmary stated “Technical errors during Mr Edwards’ cardiac ablation procedure resulted in the catheter moving and radio frequency energy being delivered to the wrong side of his heart. Further checks have been introduced to ensure that the catheter is perfectly placed before radio frequency energy is delivered.”

Read More

Mesothelioma Compensation Award of 258,520 Pounds for Widow

The widow of a man who suffered from mesothelioma cancer after exposure to asbestos in his workplace has been awarded 258,520 in industrial injury compensation against her husband´s former employers.

William Wolff died from mesothelioma cancer in March 2007 aged 66 – just eighteen months after retiring from Weir Construction Ltd. During his employment at the construction company and previously at John Moulds (Kilmarnock) Limited, it was claimed by his widow – Elizabeth Wolff – that he had been exposed to asbestos fibres which were responsible for the injury.

Both Weir Construction Ltd and John Moulds Limited accepted that the condition was caused by negligent exposure to asbestos while William was alive, and the case was before Judge Lord Doherty at the Court of Session in Edinburgh for the assessment of damages.

Judge Lord Doherty heard that William’s death was particularly painful for him, and that Elizabeth had given up her job as a social worker in order to provide full-time care for her terminally ill husband.

Once he heard expert medical evidence that William would have been expected to live on the balance of all probability for a further 17 years had he not contracted mesothelioma cancer, the judge granted Elizabeth a total award of 258,520 pounds, and in additional made further awards totalling 52,317 pounds to William´s three daughters and one of 7,084 pounds to his granddaughter.

Read More