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Compensation secured in surgery injury claim

Matthew underwent mesh repair surgery to treat an abdominal hernia.

Following the surgery, Matthew developed an infection and following further multiple surgeries over a period of years the wound remained infected and unhealed, meaning he was unable to work and was practically housebound.

Matthew instructed Fosters Solicitors’ Medical Negligence team on a no win no fee basis, who supported him through his surgery injury claim and successfully achieved a settlement of £239,500.

Matthew’s case

In March 2016, Matthew underwent mesh repair surgery to treat an abdominal hernia.

Within three weeks he was readmitted to hospital with a wound infection. The infection was at the level of the mesh, resulting in a discharging and non-healing wound.

Rather than remove the mesh, Matthew’s surgeon opted to leave the mesh in place and instead treat him with antibiotics and surgical debridement of the wound.

The wound continued to discharge large volumes of foul-smelling discharge and sinus tracts developed, leaving Matthew feeling increasingly unwell. He thereafter underwent multiple surgeries over the following months to remove small sections of the mesh, as well as portions of necrotic tissue from around the wound.

Despite multiple surgeries, Matthew’s wound continued to discharge foul smelling fluid, and he suffered recurrent infections and remained unhealed.

By the time Fosters Solicitors were instructed in early 2020, Matthew’s wound was still not completely healed, and a small section remained open, continuing to discharge foul smelling fluid. This was some four years since the surgery. For that period Matthew had been unable to work and had been practically house bound.

How we helped Matthew

Having acquired all relevant medical records, our Head of Medical Negligence & Inquests, David Gabell obtained the opinion of an independent medical expert to establish whether the wound infection had been appropriately managed following the initial hernia surgery.

The medical evidence established that the hernia mesh ought to have been removed completely as soon as the initial wound infection was identified, i.e., three weeks after the initial surgery. At this point the mesh would have come away easily, as scar tissue would not have adhered to it to any great extent and the wound could have been treated and closed, with the hernia to be treated again later. In the event, the mesh was left in situ and partially removed in a piecemeal fashion over a prolonged period. This was, in our expert’s view, doomed to failure.

A formal Letter of Claim was sent to the defendant hospital trust in December 2020, setting out the relevant allegations. In response, the defendant denied liability in full.

Consequently, counsel was instructed and proceedings were issued. There followed a protracted exchange between Fosters Solicitors and the defendant, with expert evidence obtained on both sides. Those experts seemingly diametrically opposed on their opinions on the case.

The claim was listed for trial. Shortly thereafter, in late 2022, the defendant made an offer for £85,000. This offer was rejected as it did not reflect the level of harm and losses suffered by Matthew. He had suffered, and continued to suffer, with a non-healing discharging abdominal wound and significant scarring, and had been largely housebound, suffered depression and had been unable to work. He had also needed a good deal of care and support.

Having obtained the necessary evidence of failure to appropriately manage the infected wound, David was able to negotiate a final settlement figure of £239,500 in compensation.

Matthew’s life had been significantly impacted by the management of his wound post-surgery. We are so pleased to have been able to support him in his claim and secure compensation to help him move forward with his recovery.

David Gabell, Fosters Solicitors’ surgical negligence specialist

Surgical injury claim experts

Whilst every operation poses a varying degree of risk, surgical negligence should not be a risk that you have to account for.

Our specialist team have a wide range of experience in handling surgical negligence claims and can help you gain the compensation you deserve.

We want to work with you to achieve the best possible outcome for your claim.

We understand you will want to know how we can assist, so we offer a free of charge no obligation first meeting or chat, which we follow up with a full letter of advice. If you are in any doubt as to whether you have a claim, please do contact us, again completely without obligation.

We are also able to discuss how you can cover the cost of a claim, including through a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement.

This article was produced on the 17th July 2023 by our Medical Negligence & Inquests team for information purposes only and should not be construed or relied upon as specific legal advice.