15cm long surgical forceps left inside patient after routine operation leads to successful medical negligence claim | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

15cm long surgical forceps left inside patient after routine operation leads to successful medical negligence claim

Mark Bowman acted for Davina in a claim for medical negligence against Newham University Hospital NHS Trust. Mark recovered compensation on behalf of his client after a surgeon left a pair of forceps inside her abdomen after a routine operation.

On 04 March 2009 Davina attended Newham General Hospital for repair of a vaginal fistula. Post operatively, she suffered from extreme and debilitating abdominal pain, increased heart rate and increased temperature. She was assured that she was suffering from regular post operative symptoms and was discharged home.

Davina's symptoms continued until 10 March 2009 when an abdominal x-ray was performed which revealed that a set of 15cm long surgical forceps had been left inside her abdomen following surgery some 6 days earlier. Open surgery was therefore required, during which it was noted that Davina's sigmoid had been perforated and that there was damage to her small bowel.

Davina remained an inpatient for a further 10 days, before eventually being discharged from hospital on 20 March 2009. Davina required regular out-patient follow ups and continued to suffer from ongoing physical symptoms as well as emotional symptoms as a result of the trauma that she went through.

Davina instructed Mark Bowman, specialist medical negligence lawyer at Fieldfisher to pursue a claim. Proceedings were issued against Newham University Hospital NHS Trust and liability was admitted. Following receipt of a report from a general surgical expert, the claim settled and Davina received substantial compensation for her pain and suffering as well as the expenses she incurred as a result of her treatment.

Further to a news item posted on our website last week, this is a prime example of a 'never event'. An occurrence that the NHS have rightly deemed 'should never have occurred'.

At the conclusion of the case Mark Bowman commented: "It is astonishing that even in the 21st Century, a surgical instrument can be left inside a patient following surgery. Such instances should, quite simply, never occur. Sadly, there were 161 other incidents where foreign objects were left inside a patient after an operation over the last two years. There really is no excuse for this level of medical negligence."

Davina commented: "This traumatic episode has left me still in urgent need of counselling but, through my misfortune, Newham Hospital have gone to great pains to put new checking procedures in place to try to eliminate such a distressing experience on future patients. Mark Bowman at Field Fisher Waterhouse has been thorough and attentive throughout my case."

Contact us

For further information about gynaecology surgery negligence claims and medical negligence claims, please call Mark Bowman on 03304606794 or email mark.bowman@fieldfisher.com.


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