Jennifer was referred to the Newham Hospital in January 1998 because of a history of irregular periods and fibroids. After investigation and examination she was given a number of options: to take the contraceptive pill, tranexamic acid, have the mirena coil inserted or a transcervical resection of the endometrium (TCRE). Jennifer opted for the TCRE surgery and was admitted on 15 January 1999 for the procedure.
Jennifer was told that the operation would be straightforward and would be carried out as a day surgery. She was reassured that she would be back at work as a primary school teacher within a few days.
Jennifer was not given any warnings about the nature of the surgery. Jennifer said if she thought there was any dangers associated with the surgery she would have opted for a mirena coil to shrink the fibroids instead.
The operation did not go according to plan. The TCRE was not completed correctly and Jennifer suffered complications including excessive absorption of glycine, perforation of the uterus and a diathermy burn.
She required a laparotomy to repair the perforation and had to stay in hospital for 2 weeks. She was not able to return to work for many months and still remains on restricted duties two years after the operation.
Jennifer instructed Paul McNeil to pursue an obstetrics negligence claim against the hospital.
Paul obtained expert evidence and alleged that the hospital:
- Failed to advise Jennifer of the potential complications of the TCRE procedure in particular the risks of perforation, excessive absorption of glycine and an incomplete procedure.
- Failed to monitor Jennifer in the post operative period including obtaining a urine specimen, monitoring fluid balance and therefore failing to prescribe diuretics.
- Failed to diagnose a perforated uterus until 19 January even though Jennifer consistently complained of abdominal pain and diffuse tenderness.
Jennifer eventually accepted damages of £10,000 for her injuries.
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