Melissa had fibroids in her uterus that were causing pain in the left side of her abdomen. Her consultant advised a total abdominal hysterectomy, but it was decided that they wouldn't remove her ovaries as she was only 38 at the time.
Melissa was admitted to Guy's Hospital for the operation.
Before the operation a junior doctor indicated to Melissa that it was the consultant’s policy to remove the ovaries in order to protect against ovarian cancer.
At that time Melissa's father was suffering from cancer so she signed the consent form. There was no further information given to her about the consequences of having her ovaries removed.
Melissa underwent the operation and both her ovaries were removed as part of the surgery.
It was subsequently established that the ovaries were completely normal.
Melissa suffered psychological and physical effects from the removal of her ovaries and in particular she required long term hormone replacement therapy (HRT). She also has an increased risk of breast cancer and thrombo-embolic disease.
Shortly before the expiry of the limitation period Melissa instructed Paul McNeil on a claim for medical negligence arising out of the removal of her ovaries during a hysterectomy procedure at Guy’s Hospital.
The Health Authority denied liability on the grounds that informed consent had been given and that, in any event, the histology following the surgery noted that both ovaries were enlarged and had several cystic follicles.
At the trial, our expert evidence indicated that no responsible surgeon would have removed ovaries in a woman aged 38 in the absence of ovarian disease or ovarian cancer.
Following the evidence given by the witnesses it became clear that removal of the ovaries had been negligent and was against the hospital’s own protocol.
Surprisingly, there are few cases reported in relation to this type of claim.
Negotiations took place between the parties and the case was settled in the sum of £35,000. A significant proportion of the settlement was for general damages.
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