Victim of gall bladder surgery error receives damages

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Victim of gall bladder surgery error receives damages

8th April 2010

A woman whose routine operation left her requiring life-threatening surgery to repair internal damage has received £40,000 in an out of court settlement.

Mark Hatzer, a clinical negligence specialist with Fentons Solicitors LLP, represented the middle-aged woman, known as Mrs T. She attended hospital to have painful gall stones removed in 2008, but following the supposedly routine surgery it soon became clear that something was very wrong.

"Mrs T was still bleeding for days after the operation," said Mark, a partner with the firm. "The hospital had to insert a drain into her stomach to get rid of the excess blood, and there was also a discharge which was going into a colostomy bag attached to her. When she asked the hospital what this was for they told her not to worry about it," he said.

Following another operation she was transferred to a different hospital by ambulance. "The doctors said the new hospital had superior equipment and they would be able to put a camera down her throat to find out what the problem was," said Mark.

These investigations were carried out the very next day, and Mrs T was then transferred to a third hospital for further treatment. "By this point she was understandably becoming more and more concerned as to what was happening," said Mark. "Her consultant at this new, third hospital was concerned that her skin had turned a yellow colour around her scarring. He arranged for a scan, but when that didn't show anything he performed further, investigative surgery on my client."

After the surgery, which lasted several hours, Mrs T was shocked by what her doctor told her. "He said that he had never seen such a 'botch-up' before," said Mark.

"The surgeon noted that the ducts where the gall bladder had been removed in the first operation had simply been cut away. To correct this, he had to remove veins from Mrs T's lower bowel and graft these in their place," he said.

"Mrs T also had to have a significant number of stitches, including some in a delicate area around the large artery under her liver. Essentially, the corrective surgery had to redirect much of her plumbing. The new vein means the flow of blood has been restricted and she will need regular scans to ensure she does not suffer from a bleed."

Mark was particularly disappointed that the claim had been contested for more than a year by the NHS Trust before a settlement was agreed. "Mrs T, her husband and family have been through hell this past year," he said. "The fact they were made to fight so hard for so long after such an obvious failing in care was disgraceful."

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims relating to clinical and medical negligence.

If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.