Widower Awarded Compensation for Fatal Surgical Negligence

A man, whose wife died after a supposedly routine operation, has been awarded £150,000 compensation for fatal surgical negligence.

In March 2010, Helen Blyth was admitted into Northampton General Hospital for an operation to repair a large hiatus hernia located behind her heart. The “routine” operation appeared to be successful; but at 8:00pm that evening, Helen´s blood pressure started to fall and, at 1:00am the following morning she was unresponsive.

Helen was rushed back into the operating theatre, but was pronounced dead at 1:55am. The inquest into her death concluded that a rare complication had caused the fall in blood pressure and subsequent cardiac arrest; but Helen´s widower – Sydney Blyth – was not convinced and asked solicitors to look more closely into his wife´s death.

Medical experts working on behalf of the solicitor discovered that the surgeon who had conducted the surgery – Mr David Cubbon-Hunter – had used Pro Tack staples during the operation, despite a warning from the manufacturer that Pro Tack staples should not be used in situations where the hiatus hernia was located in the diaphragm.

Using this information, Sydney claimed compensation for fatal surgical negligence against Mr Cubbon-Hunter and the Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust – alleging that Mr Cubbon-Hunter was negligent for using Pro Tack staples when he should have been aware of the warning issued by the manufacturer.

After investigating the claim for compensation for fatal surgical negligence, the Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust admitted liability for the error responsible for Helen´s death. A settlement amounting to £150,000 was negotiated to compensate Sydney and his family for the tragic loss of his wife and his children´s mother.

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