Mr Burns decided to consider gastric surgery following a suggestion from his GP. He attended an appointment at York Hospital who advised that he could have a gastric band, a gastric sleeve or a gastric bypass performed. The gastric bypass involved stapling the stomach so that only an egg-cup sized “pouch” was left. Mr Burns decided to undergo a gastric bypass.
Mr Burns underwent the operation. During the procedure the surgeon damaged the blood vessels which supply blood to the stomach. It was later discovered that he had inserted staples into the wrong part of the stomach and that the “pouch” he had created had no blood supply.
Following the operation, Mr Burns was unwell. He suffered from severe diarrhoea and developed various leaks from the “pouch” that had been created during the operation. Throughout the following three weeks, he required six further operations to try to fix the various leaks and insert a PEG tube. Mr Burns was eventually discharged from hospital almost two months after the initial operation. He was not allowed to eat or drink anything for weeks after his discharge and continued to suffer from significant abdominal pain. He returned to work on a part-time basis but, following a mesh repair of hernias which formed as a result of the various operations, he had to retire due to ill-health the following year. Mr Burns instructed Jonathan Zimmern to investigate the care that he received at the hospital. Jonathan instructed a Surgeon to comment on the care provided to Mr Burns. The expert was very critical of the surgeon’s approach and technique during the operation, and his failure to recognise that he had not created a viable gastric pouch.
Surprisingly, the Trust failed to admit liability. Whilst fighting the allegations, the Trust put forward several different and contradictory accounts of what had happened during the operation. Each of these accounts were disproved by the expert surgeon instructed by Jonathan. Eventually, and only after lengthy discussions with the Trust, Jonathan was able to negotiate a settlement of £345,000 for Mr Burns.
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