Court Approves Settlement of Claim for a Brain Injury due to a Surgical Error

The High Court has approved the settlement of a claim for a brain injury due to surgical negligence in favour of a woman who attended hospital for a laparoscopy.

The woman on whose behalf the claim was made – and who has requested anonymity – attended Manchester´s Hope Hospital in March 2010 for a “routine” laparoscopy procedure. At the time, the woman was twenty-two years of age, was in a serious relationship, had an active social life and enjoyed her job as a hairdresser.

However, when one of the incisions was made at the start of the laparoscopy to remove a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, an aorta was punctured. As a result, the woman experienced significant blood loss, her circulation collapsed and her heart stopped beating. Her brain was starved of oxygen and she suffered serious brain damage.

Due to the surgical error, the woman is now confined to a wheelchair and needs full-time care. As she is also cognitively deficient, a claim for a brain injury due to a surgical error was made on her behalf by her mother. The NHS Trust in charge of the Hope Hospital – the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust – held an enquiry and acknowledged liability for her injuries in 2012.

A hearing to establish how much compensation for a brain injury due to a surgical error the woman was entitled to was scheduled; but, prior to the court date, a settlement of the claim was negotiated. Under the terms of the settlement, the woman will receive an immediate lump sum payment of £2 million and thereafter annual index-linked payments of compensation for the rest of her life.

As with all compensation claims made on behalf of claimants who are unable to represent themselves, the structured settlement had to be approved by the courts to make sure it was in the claimant´s best interests. Consequently Mrs Justice Swift was told the circumstances of the woman´s accident and injury at the High Court in London.

Mrs Justice Swift approved the settlement of the claim for a brain injury due to a surgical error and, after an apology had been read to the woman by a representative of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Judge Swift commented: “I hope that this substantial settlement will at least ensure she has the best possible quality of life in the years to come and I wish her and the other members of her family the very best for the future”.