Barrister Awarded Compensation for a Negligently Performed Appendectomy

A barrister has been awarded £2 million compensation for a negligently performed appendectomy after a hearing into the value of his claim at the High Court.

In May 2010, Gerwyn Samuel (51) – a barrister who specialises in medical negligence claims – underwent an appendectomy at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, North-West London. On waking from the surgery, Gerwyn found he was paralysed and called out to staff for fifteen minutes “in extreme distress and fear” before medical staff heard his cries for help.

Gerwyn´s movement returned to him later in the day, but then his surgical wound burst open and he had to undergo further surgery to remove a blood clot. He continued to experience pain after his discharge and developed an abdominal bulge – subsequently being admitted to a private hospital for a high dose of antibiotics.

Gerwyn claimed compensation for a negligently performed appendectomy against the Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust, alleging that he had suffered unnecessary pain due to the failings of the hospital´s surgical team and – because of continuing issues with his abdomen – he will have to retire up to ten years earlier than planned, thus suffering a loss of income.

The Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust acknowledged that errors had been made during Gerwyn´s appendectomy, but disputed the £2 million compensation for a negligently performed appendectomy that was being claimed. The claim went to the High Court in London for the assessment of damages, where it was heard before Mr Justice John Mitting.

At the hearing, Judge Mitting heard that Gerwyn was a “workaholic” who would have reasonably been expected to continue developing his practise had it not been for his injuries. After hearing expert witnesses confirm that the barrister will now have to retire at 55 years of age, Judge Mitting agreed that a £2 million settlement was an appropriate amount of compensation for a negligently performed appendectomy in his case.