Written by

Sophie McGarry - Solicitor

The Incident

Our client, a 51-year-old Safeguarding Officer had lapsed into end stage renal failure as a result of polycystic kidney disease. She was due to have surgery for a peritoneal dialysis catheter to be inserted and an umbilical hernia repair on 20th December 2019.

In December 2019, the client attended hospital for the operation. It was reported that the surgeon was on call the night before and was delayed due to a handover. The surgeon didn’t examine/see the client before surgery but was aware of her condition.

During the surgery, the operating surgeon inserted a blunt trocar which came across resistance – he thought that the abdomen was tight. He eventually inserted the trocar into the abdomen. The client became haemodynamically unstable, meaning there was insufficient blood flow in the body. The surgeon converted from laparoscopic to laparotomy, a more invasive procedure – and documented a 3cm laceration over the front of the liver.

The client was admitted to ICU for 3 days and was discharged on 8th January 2020. On 15th August 2020, the client attended hospital as an emergency with abdominal pain and vomiting secondary to an incarcerated incisional hernia. She required a laparotomy to release the small bowel obstruction with repair of the incarcerated incisional hernia and repair of a recurrent para umbilical hernia.

Due to the failures in her care, our client suffered the following: injury to her liver, intra-operative bleed, blood transfusion, the need to convert to major open surgery, the prolonged procedure, ICU stay and prolonged ward stay, and the need for haemodialysis (requiring a dialysis machine) rather than peritoneal dialysis.

Had it not been for the failures, the client would also have avoided the need for an emergency admission and a laparotomy for bowel obstruction secondary to an incisional hernia in August 2020. By avoiding the injury and the bleed, on the balance of probabilities, the client would have had an uncomplicated recovery from a laparoscopic insertion with a likely 48-hour stay and a start on peritoneal dialysis in around a further 4 to 6 weeks.

The Case

Following the incident, we were approached to represent the client, with Chartered Legal Executive, Sophie McGarry taking on the case.

It was alleged that on 20th December 2019, the defendant:

a. failed to specify the detail of the anticipated procedure and the consenting process was substandard;
b. failed to discuss the series of questions recommended by NICE Guidance;
c. failed to review C pre-operatively and failed to review the relevant imaging pre-operatively, either adequately or at all;
d. failed to appreciate / understand / highlight the underlying pathology and potential difficulties of a port insertion in a patient with a large polycystic liver;
e. used an unreasonable measure of force in an attempt to overcome the resistance to the insertion of the first port.

The Case Outcome

Thanks to Sophie’s expert legal representation, we were able to settle the case quickly for our client, who received £42,500 in compensation.

In conclusion to the medical negligence case, Sophie commented:

“I hope that the compensation my client has received provides some form of recognition of the failure in this case and will assist her in moving on from this ordeal. It has been a pleasure dealing with this case. I am delighted that we achieved an appropriate damages settlement and I am very pleased that we could promptly settle this matter. I wish my client and her family all the best for the future.”

The client added:

“Great service from all involved!”

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