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Settlement of £377,500 for surgery injury client

Sarah had been undertaking regular dialysis following kidney failure due to pre-existing medical conditions. She was awaiting kidney transplant surgery.

Her need for dialysis required her to go to hospital three times a week, with dialysis being provided by way of a vascath catheter in her neck. Sarah, keen on the option of having dialysis at home, underwent radiological vein mapping to see if she was able to have a graft and fistula created in her arm.

The vein mapping process involved radiological imaging and scans of Sarah’s arms. These noted that her veins were in poor condition, but she was advised that a graft was still possible.

Sarah agreed to the surgery, but during the procedure it was determined that the condition of the brachial artery was insufficient to take the intended graft. Instead of abandoning the surgery to consult further with Sarah about her options and obtain appropriate consent, the surgeon made the decision to continue and perform an alternative ‘work around’ procedure (axillary loop graft).

This was unfortunately doomed to failure, and shortly after surgery the graft unfortunately caused a lack of blood supply to Sarah’s hand, requiring the graft to be urgently removed in yet another surgical procedure.

This further procedure resulted in a surgical wound infection, progressing to sepsis, and Sarah was treated with Gentamicin – an antibiotic.

Unfortunately, Sarah suffered a condition called Gentamicin toxicity, which causes vestibular damage. Consequently, Sarah was left with permanent and chronic symptoms of dizziness and loss of balance. She now requires lifelong additional care and support, and accommodation adaptation.

How we helped Sarah

Sarah instructed Fosters Solicitors’ Medical Negligence team on a no win no fee basis.

Having acquired all relevant medical records and sought the opinion of independent medical expert specialists in vascular surgery, vascular science, nephrology and ENT (ear nose and throat), a formal Letter of Claim was sent to the defendant hospital Trust. The key allegations were:

  • Sarah’s pre-operative radiological imaging (vein mapping) was substandard and inadequately reported, and
  • Sarah’s consent was not obtained prior to attempting a risky and ultimately flawed vascular ‘work around’ procedure.

The case was made that, but for the above failings, Sarah would have been identified as being unsuitable for the intended vascular procedure. Alternatives would have been discussed, but given her attitude to risk, Sarah would not have opted to proceed with a more risky procedure, and instead would have remained on hospital dialysis until such time that she was able to undergo transplant surgery.

The allegations of negligence were initially denied by the hospital trust, and so the claim was issued in the court. There followed a long and protracted negotiation process whereby, eventually, the defendant agreed to come to a settlement meeting.

Our Head of Medical Negligence, David Gabell, who supported Sarah throughout her case, with the support of counsel, negotiated a final settlement with the defendant for £377,500.

This was a challenging case due to the exceptionally complex medical issues involved, as well as the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and Sarah’s continued health challenges. Sarah has been left with life-changing complications due to negligent treatment and has shown such bravery in fighting her claim. We are so pleased to have been able to support Sarah in winning her compensation and wish her every success as she looks to move forward from her ordeal.
David Gabell, Fosters Solicitors

Surgery 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 23rd May 2024 by our Medical Negligence & Inquests team for information purposes only and should not be construed or relied upon as specific legal advice.