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Case Study

Compensation in surgical negligence claim at Croydon University Hospital

Croydon Health Services NHS Trust has paid damages to our client in relation to the delayed diagnosis of her bowel injury.

Emma Kendall was instructed by Jasmine* to investigate the care she received in connection with surgical management of her miscarriage.

Jasmine sadly lost her baby at around nine weeks gestation. She opted to undergo an evacuation of retained products of conception (ERPC) to remove pregnancy tissue from her womb. During the procedure, the tissue was found to be very adherent and difficult to remove.

Jasmine was discharged a few hours after the procedure, despite being in a lot of pain. She returned to A&E the same evening. We alleged that following Jasmine's re-admission to hospital, bowel injury was in fact (and ought to have been) suspected, but not properly investigated or ruled out and then not actually diagnosed until around four days later.

We alleged that as a result of the hospital's failings, Jasmine suffered a worse outcome. With appropriate care, she would have required a defunctioning ileostomy, which would have been closed within six months, avoiding the need for a further laparotomy. Instead, she underwent a Hartmann's procedure with colostomy that was not closed for around 15 months, during which time she suffered pain, a reduction in her daily activities, psychiatric injury, and a delay in her attempts to conceive. She then suffered further scarring and pain due to the avoidable second laparotomy.

The Trust accepted that when the surgeon (an ST5) encountered difficulties during the ERPC, they should have escalated Jasmine's care to a senior colleague and sought assistance in completing the procedure. While this may not have avoided Jasmine's bowel injury, it would have raised the index of suspicion in relation to her post-operative care and led to an earlier diagnosis of injury.

As part of her investigations, Emma obtained supportive evidence from experts in obstetrics and gynaecology, colorectal surgery, radiology and psychiatry. Evidence in relation to Jasmine's condition and prognosis was disclosed on a without prejudice basis. Negotiations took place and Emma was able to settle the claim without the need to issue formal court proceedings.

Following settlement, Jasmine said:

I am very grateful to Emma for her support and expertise during a very difficult time. Emma was professional, compassionate and always kept me updated throughout the process. I would highly recommend Emma and her team for their services.

Emma was assisted by Counsel Jo Moore of One Crown Office Row Chambers.

*Name changed to protect anonymity.

Contact us

For further information about delayed diagnosis claims or surgery negligence claims, please call Emma Kendall on 0330 460 6755 or email emma.kendall@fieldfisher.com.
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