Bernadette had been concerned about the appearance of her thighs, stomach and hips and saw Dr Brown with a view to having treatment.
Dr Brown explained that liposuction would be a simple procedure and that Bernadette would benefit from such a procedure and get a good result. Bernadette agreed to have the treatment, which took place on 14 April 2005.
Dr Brown used a "super wet" technique to infiltrate Bernadette's abdomen with fluid before the liposuction removal of the fat. During the infiltration process Dr Brown perforated Bernadette' bowel. This was not appreciated at the time.
Bernadette's initially felt fine after surgery but a few days later started to complain of severe stomach pains. She was taken back to hospital, where it was eventually appreciated that her bowel had been perforated during the liposuction procedure.
Bernadette required an emergency laparotomy and post-operatively she was diagnosed as suffering from pleurisy of her right lung, pneumonia and embolisms in her left lung. She subsequently developed a left hernia as well. Bernadette was prescribed Warfarin which she had to take for a total of 6 months and was left with an unsightly 8 inch long scar across her abdomen.
Mark Bowman instructed a Consultant Plastic Surgeon to provide advice in the case. It was alleged on behalf of Bernadette that Dr Brown did not have sufficient control of the infiltration cannula during the performance of the surgical procedure and that it was negligent for him to have perforated the bowel. This was denied by the Defendants throughout the case and the case was listed for trial in the Summer of 2009.
In spite of the denial of negligence, following exchange of witness evidence and just prior to exchange of expert evidence, the Defendants offered to settle Bernadette's claim in the sum of £35,000, which represented a settlement on a full liability basis. The offer was accepted by Bernadette who received this sum in full.
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