Claim for Negligent Gastric Surgery Settled Out of Court

A woman, who developed a hernia in her bowel after doctors botched a gastric band operation, has settled her claim for negligent gastric surgery against the Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust.

Rachel Benefer (28) from Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire underwent the procedure in 2007 after she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome and her weight had increased to over 19 stone (120Kg).

Doctors at the Classic Hospital in Hull initially believed that the operation had been successful, but the failure to properly close an incision in her stomach led to a hernia developing which blocked Rachel´s small bowel.

Rachel developed an inflammation of the abdominal wall and acute peritonitis as a consequence of the hernia and lapsed into a coma. She spent five weeks in hospital, including 11 days on a ventilator, and had to undergo a tracheotomy.

After recovering from her ordeal, Rachel sought legal advice and made a claim for negligent gastric surgery against the Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust – claiming compensation for the further surgery she had to undergo to repair the hernia, the unsightly scars she now has on her abdomen and the depression she experienced as a direct result of her trauma.

Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust held an investigation into Rachel´s botched gastric band operation and, before her claim for negligent gastric surgery was scheduled in court, settled the case with a compensation payment of £35,000.

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Hospital Misdiagnosis Compensation for Cauda Equina Syndrome Error

A Leicester hospital has admitted that the misdiagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome by a junior doctor resulted in a patient suffering a life-long disability which could have been prevented.

The patient, 45 year old Michelle Chapman from Melton in Leicestershire, visited her GP in May 2007 suffering from numbness and incontinence, and was alerted to the possibility that she was suffering from Cauda Equina Syndrome – a condition caused by the nerves being trapped between collapsed vertebrae. Michelle´s GP advised her to look out for symptoms of the condition getting worse and to summon an ambulance if necessary.

Some days later, Michelle attended the Leicester Royal Infirmary where she was advised by a junior doctor that there were no signs of the condition and was sent home. It was only when Michelle´s GP telephoned her to follow-up the initial appointment that he heard of the deterioration in her condition and immediately booked an MRI scan at the hospital. The scan revealed that serious nerve damage had already occurred and that Michelle required an operation to prevent further injury.

Michelle underwent surgery to extract part of the discs which were pressing on her nerve, but the operation was too late to prevent Michelle suffering permanent nerve damage which has left her with numbness in her legs, incontinence and requiring the lifelong use of crutches to assist her with walking.

After seeking legal guidance, Michelle made a compensation claim for the misdiagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome against the University of Leicester NHS Trust – the authority responsible for treatment at the Leicester Royal Infirmary – and an undisclosed out-of-court settlement was agreed between Michelle´s legal advisors and the Trust which will see Michelle able to move into a specially adapted home and receive specialist medical care to help her adjust to living with Cauda Equina Syndrome.

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Compensation Claim for Unnecessary Surgery Resolved for Undisclosed Amount

A man who underwent an operation on his brain, which would not have been performed if the results of a blood test had been checked properly, has resolved his compensation claim for unnecessary surgery.

Sixty-three year old John Tunney – from Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands – underwent an operation on his brain at the Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry in April 2008, after doctors found an abnormal growth around his pituitary gland on an MRI scan.

However, instead of taking a biopsy of the abnormal growth, the surgeon conducting the brain operation removed healthy brain tissue which resulted in John suffering a brain haemorrhage. Due to the haemorrhage, John is partly blind and needs support 24 hours a day.

After being discharged from hospital, John learned that the operation on his brain had not even been necessary. It became apparent that doctors had failed to properly check the results of a blood test that showed the abnormal growth was a prolactinoma – a common and benign pituitary tumour that can be treated with medication.

After seeking legal advice, John made a compensation claim for unnecessary surgery due to hospital negligence against the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust. After an investigation into the circumstances surrounding John´s unnecessary surgery, the NHS Trust admitted liability and issued John with an apology.

After an evaluation into the care and support that John will need for the remainder of his life, a seven-figure settlement of John´s compensation claim for unnecessary surgery was agreed. John has also requested that the General Medical Council investigate the surgeon who performed the operation.

Speaking after the announcement of the undisclosed settlement, John´s wife – Pamela – told the press: “John’s brain injury has had devastating effects on him. Prior to the surgery, he was a very easygoing person who was always active and on the go. To see the change in him and to know that it was all entirely avoidable is extremely upsetting”.

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Compensation Claims for MoM Hip Implants May Increase Due to Toxicity Fears

An increase 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 deduce 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 advised that new guidance be issued to all recipients of MoM hip implants, due to worries 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 more than 40,000 people in the UK who have had some type 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. Before the global 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 alleged 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 recorded on the central register. Despite the fact that he admits 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 liable for organ failures and neurological illnesses, but they result in 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 expected to rise, 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 down to to medical negligence, compensation 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.

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Latest on Depuy Hip Replacement Recall Legal Action

The latest news on the DePuy hip replacement recall made by DePuy in August 2010 surrounds events currently taking place in the United States.

In September, Judge David A. Katz, the judge assigned to hear the multidistrict litigation case in Toledo, Ohio, issued Case Management Orders for all claimants in the class action law suits filed to date in the States, to provide  Fact Sheets and Medical Records Authorisation Forms if they have already undergone revision surgery.

The Fact Sheets and Medical Records Authorisation Forms contain basic information concerning the injuries sustained by the claimants and will substitute for individual disclosure to the defendants in the case – DePuy Orthopaedics Inc and their insurers Broadspire Services Inc. DePuy Orthopaedics have 120 days from the receipt of these documents to present the court with detailed information about each replacement hip system which was initially implanted, and facts relating to any communication between the company, their agents and the claimant.

Inasmuch as these submissions provide basic information about each claimant, solicitors representing those making a DePuy hip replacement compensation claim will still have to compile a case for each, as damages will be awarded on an individual basis (should DePuy Orthopaedics be found liable for personal injury compensation) depending on their unique circumstances. Those still to undergo revision surgery will still be able to claim for advanced pain and suffering, but awards of personal injury compensation will be distributed on the merit of each separate case.

Further to Judge Katz´s Case management Order, the latest news on the hip replacement recall law suits is that a conference between representatives of the legal firms which have filed class action lawsuits to date has been scheduled in Toledo for Tuesday November 22nd. The judge himself will be in attendance to assess the progress of the Case Management Orders and decide whether pre-trial hearings are the next appropriate action.

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Compensation for the Failure to Recognise a Premature Birth Approved in Court

A £2 million settlement of compensation for the failure to recognise a premature birth has been approved in the High Court.

Thomas and Rachel Hartley from Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire were born at the Hemel Hempstead Hospital in October 1999 with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy having been starved of oxygen in their mother´s womb.

Their mother – Joanna – had attended the hospital several days prior to their birth complaining of pregnancy complications; but she was prescribed with drugs to strengthen the babies´ lings and sent home – when in fact she was just about to deliver her children prematurely.

Due to the alleged misdiagnosis of Joanna´s condition, Thomas and Rachel are dependent on their parents for support and for communicating and will be confined to wheelchairs for the remainder of their lives.

On her children´s behalf, Joanna claimed compensation for the failure to recognise a premature birth against the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, claiming that if her condition had been correctly diagnosed, Thomas and Rachel would not have been starved of oxygen in the womb and sustained spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

The NHS Trust denied its liability for the children´s birth injuries, but made a £2 million offer of settlement in respect of Thomas´ injuries without an admission of liability (Rachel´s future needs are still being assessed). The offer was accepted, but first had to be approved by a judge before the claim in respect of Thomas could be resolved.

Consequently, in the High Court in London, Judge Peter Ralls QC heard the details of the claim for compensation for the failure to recognise a premature birth, and the offer of settlement that had been made by West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust. The judge approved the settlement, expressing his sympathy to Joanna and her husband, and saying “I wish you well for the future, and for your delightful children”.

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Compensation Claim for a Stillborn Birth due to Hospital Negligence Resolved Out of Court

A compensation claim for a stillborn birth due to hospital negligence has been resolved out-of-court for an undisclosed five-figure amount.

In October 2009, Katie Page from Droitwich in Worcestershire was a week overdue for the birth of her first child. Katie´s pregnancy had progressed normally, despite being identified as “high risk” due to a family medical history of thrombosis. Indeed, Katie herself suffered from Factor V Leiden thrombophilia, and an inducement of her baby had been arranged for a few days later.

During the night of October 5th/6th, Katie experienced mild contractions and a subsequent reduction in her baby´s movements. The following morning Katie telephoned the Day Assessment Unit (DAU) and was told to drink plenty of cold water and contact the hospital later if she was still concerned.

That afternoon, Katie again experienced mild contractions but still no movement from her baby. She telephoned the hospital once again and was told to call back later with an update. Shortly after midnight, Katie´s husband – Robert – telephoned the hospital to say that his wife was experiencing constant pain and he was told to bring Katie to the hospital.

However, rather than being seen by an obstetrician, Katie was attended by a midwife; who performed a vaginal inspection rather than conduct a CT scan and sent Katie home again – even though her inducement was booked for a few hours later. At 9.00am in the morning, Katie called the hospital once again to enquire about the inducement, and was told that no beds were available.

Several more attempts throughout the day proved no more successful and at 7.00pm that evening Katie went to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital requesting that she be admitted. At 9.45pm Katie was eventually admitted onto a labour ward, but an assessment of her condition did not take place until 11.15pm – when a midwife could not find the foetal heart beat and summoned the obstetric registrar.

Ultrasound scans confirmed Katie´s worst fears – that her child had died in the womb – but she still had to endure a prolonged induce labour the following morning to deliver her stillborn son – which Katie and Robert named Harry.

After seeking legal advice, Katie and Robert made a compensation claim for a stillborn birth due to hospital negligence – claiming that had Katie been admitted when she had first contacted the hospital, Harry might have been delivered safely and survived. Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust admitted liability for Harry´s avoidable death, and the undisclosed settlement of the couple´s compensation claim for a stillborn birth due to hospital negligence was negotiated.

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Patient Settles Claim for Latex Left inside Body during Surgery for £350,000

A patient who underwent a heart operation has successfully resolved his claim for latex left inside his body during surgery.

Thirty-six year old Wayne Williams from Tooting in London underwent heart surgery at St Georges Hospital in south-west London in June 2006. During the procedure, a tracheotomy was performed to help him breathe; but the surgeon performing the tracheotomy tore his latex glove on the equipment – leaving a fragment behind in Wayne´s throat.

Wayne recovered well from the heart surgery except for difficulties with his breathing. He was referred back to St Georges Hospital and underwent exploratory throat surgery to establish why he was experiencing difficulties. It was then that the small piece of glove was discovered – which was not only responsible for Wayne´s breathlessness, but which had also scarred his vocal chords.

After seeking legal advice, Wayne made a claim for latex left inside his body during surgery and, after an investigation into his claim, St George NHS Healthcare Trust admitted liability for his injury. A £350,000 settlement of George´s claim for latex left inside his body during surgery was negotiated without the need for court action.

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Minister to Receive Compensation for the Failure to Treat a Brain Tumour

A West Midlands man is due to receive a substantial settlement of compensation for the failure to treat a brain tumour after it was left untreated for three years.  

Adrian Underwood – a former Church of England assistant minister – was studying a theology course at Nottingham University when – in 2201 – he attended the Nottingham University Hospital complaining of severe headaches.

A brain scan revealed an abnormal growth within his skull, but no further action was taken in respect of the growth and Adrian was discharged from the hospital after being told that he was suffering from migraine. Adrian (42) continued to experience severe headaches, and he returned to his home city of Birmingham to take a position of a curate due to being unable to complete his studies.

In 2004, Adrian´s health deteriorated further and he began to lose his sight. He underwent another brain scan at the Birmingham Eye Hospital, where a brain tumour the size of a lemon was identified. Adrian had an emergency operation to remove the tumour, but still suffers from epilepsy and fatigue as a result of the original oversight by doctors at the Nottingham University Hospital.

After recovering from his operation, Adrian sought legal advice and made a claim for compensation for the failure to treat a brain tumour against the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. After an investigation into Adrian´s claim, the NHS trust admitted liability for his avoidable condition and an undisclosed settlement of compensation was negotiated.

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