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Case Study

Success against St Andrew’s Hospital for complex regional pain syndrome

Beverley underwent a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy as there was a history of breast cancer in her family. The surgery was carried out at the St Andrew’s centre in October 2007. The operation went very well and Beverley was very happy with the mastectomies; however following the surgery Beverley felt excruciating pain in her lower right leg and foot.

The operation was complicated and required Beverley to be in theatre for almost 11 hours. Unfortunately, a subsequent investigation by the surgeon revealed that Beverley was incorrectly positioned on the operating theatre table. As a result she suffered a severe compression injury to her right lower limb.

Her contemporaneous diary records after the surgery highlighted that she had severe unbearable pain in her right leg/foot. A Registrar explained that Beverley came out from anaesthesia screaming with leg pain whereby they had to physically restrain her.

This caused complex regional pain syndrome with associated dystonia; Beverley also experienced sensory changes and loss of feeling. There has been clawing of the toes of her foot, considerable disability and reduction in mobility. In an attempt to repair the nerve damage and reduce the pain levels Beverley was referred to a world class neuro-surgeon at the Charing Cross Hospital. She underwent a decompression of the deep posterior compartment in her right lower leg; further surgery was carried out after this, but sadly Beverley has been left severely debilitated by continuing (sometimes excruciating) pain. She has been unable to return to full time work and her career plans have been severely curtailed.

Beverley instructed expert solicitor, Paul McNeil to handle her surgery negligence claim. Paul argued on her behalf that the surgical team were negligent in failing to take any adequate precautions to ensure that her right lower limb did not sustain such an injury during the course of the operation. The hospital indicated that Beverley's positioning during the operation was routine, and nothing untoward was noted, however this was contrary to the operating surgeon's view. A series of questions were put to the surgeon and liability was admitted. Paul settled the case in the sum of £650,000. The compensation will help Beverley with medical expenses, the costs of future care and her inability to undertake DIY tasks.

After the case Beverley said:

"Paul McNeil and his team were nothing more than ‘Stonkingly Fabulous’! I needed a professional, kind, knowledgeable advocate to fight my corner and Paul stepped into the breach. He guided me through the process and provided a personal faultless and seamless service. Words can never thank him enough for his humanity, compassion, understanding, professionalism, empathy and overall care. The compensation that Paul secured for me has enabled me to build a future for my family."