LW attended hospital suffering from abdominal pain, vomiting and a lump in her lower abdomen. She had a CT scan that showed an incarcerated hernia around her belly button area which contained a loop of small bowel. It looked like the small intestine was about to become strangulated – this can cut off the blood supply to the small intestine and be life threating. The client had surgery for a hernia repair with on lay mesh. No prophylaxis antibiotic was prescribed prior to the surgery to reduce the risk of infection.
Four days after the operation, LW was discharged home, despite a blood test that indicated that she might have an infection. Her condition deteriorated, she suffered increasing abdominal pain, wound tenderness and was generally unwell. LW had to be readmitted to hospital. A further blood test indicated she had an infection. The wound broke down and necrotising fasciitis (a serious bacterial infection) was suspected. LW was taken to theatre for wound debridement (dead tissue removed). It was necessary for her to have a further 10 operations for exploration and debridement of the wound for a deep surgical site infection due to necrotising fasciitis. She had to be cared for on the critical care unit where she was sedated and ventilated, following which she was then transferred to the high dependency unit. Three months later, LW was eventually discharged from hospital to a rehabilitation unit for a few weeks before being allowed home. She continued to have the wound dressed by the district nurses at home.
The infection, surgery and treatment she has undergone has led her to suffer from a large hernia and a 10% risk of acute bowel obstruction, as well as having an unsightly wound scar due to the various surgical procedures.
LW contacted Graysons to see if she could claim redress against the hospital as she felt that she had received substandard treatment and care. Carol contacted the hospital trust, alleging that LW’s care had been substandard and that she should have had received antibiotic treatment during theatre. The trust admitted breach of duty in that the antibiotics should have been given, but it denied that this breach had caused a foreseeable injury to LW.
Carol issued court proceedings and commenced negotiation with the hospital trust. It made an offer of £75,000 to settle the case, but using tenacity and her strong negotiating ability, Carol continued to pursue the trust for £100,000. The trust made two further offers of less than that. The time in which the offers could be accepted was running out and, tactically, Carol encouraged the trust to accept her offer of £100,000 or she would continue with the court proceedings, which would inevitably lead to an increase in costs for the trust. Despite this request the trust was reluctant to do so. However, on the final day the client’s offer was open for acceptance, the trust accepted and so Carol secured £100,000 in compensation for her client.
LW was delighted with the service she received from Carol, saying: “Brilliant solicitors. Kept me up to date throughout. Job well done.” She also sent a personal note to Carol, thanking her for her help and saying that she was so grateful. She said that it was good to know that she could call Carol when she had any questions, knowing that Carol would help.
If you have suffered as a result of negligent treatment from a hospital or any medical practitioner, contact our experts now. We will assess your case and advise on the possibility of making a claim for medical negligence compensation.
Author: Carol Simpson, partner and head of Graysons’ medical negligence team.