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Case Study

Negligent delay causes sepsis and permanent bowel injuries after surgery at Liverpool Royal University Hospital

Deborah Nadel has secured a substantial settlement for a university lecturer who lost large amounts of her bowel following surgery meant to improve a rectal prolapse.

After laparascopic ventral mesh rectopexy surgery, Mary* suffered severe abdominal pain, vomiting and recurrent retching. Her post-operative symptoms were not investigated and she was sent home seven days following surgery, with Tramadol to cope with the pain. Her surgeon told her she was well enough to be discharged.

Two days later, she was readmitted into A&E with life-threatening sepsis and underwent an emergency laparotomy, at which a caecal volvulus (twisted bowel) was identified involving the transverse colon and distal small bowel. There was ischaemic bowel from caecum to distal transverse colon, necessitating resection of 190cm of small bowel, the right colon and two thirds of the transverse colon. A stoma had to be created.

Mary required in-patient care for several weeks initially in the Intensive Care Unit. She had to endure a stoma for almost six months before undergoing further surgery to have it reversed. She continues to suffer distressing difficulties which will be lifelong with faecal incontinence, offensive and uncontrollable wind, abdominal pain, digestive problems and fatigue. She has suffered PTSD and remains with anxiety and psychological distress.

These problems have severely impacted her ability to work and all aspects of her personal, social and professional life. Her symptoms are likely to deteriorate in later life and her ability to have children may have been affected.

Liverpool Hospital initially denied liability for Mary's claim and court proceedings had to be pursued against them, initially by Helen Thompson and then by Deborah Nadel. Subsequently, the Trust accepted that there had been a failure to perform a CT scan before discharge and, if this had been performed, the diagnosis would have been made leading to no permanent injury to Mary. Judgment was entered for Mary for compensation to be assessed.

The Trust continued to dispute the full impact of the injury upon Mary and expert evidence from a colorectal surgeon, gastroenterologist, gynaecologist/obstetrician and psychiatric expert had to be obtained. The value of the claim involved complicated calculations involving different career paths and the Teacher's Pension Scheme for which financial experts were instructed by both parties.

Just before the case went to trial, a seven-figure settlement for Mary was agreed. Mary's legal team was greatly assisted by Julian Matthews, Counsel of 7 Bedford Row.

Mary was extremely relieved that settlement was reached, providing her with financial security for the future should she not be able to work and require further medical treatment.

Following settlement, she said:

"I would like to thank Fieldfisher, and in particular, Deborah, Helen and Gabby for the huge amount of time and effort they have invested into my case over the last few years. I cannot recommend the team highly enough.

Throughout my time as a Fieldfisher client, they helped to make a personally stressful time much easier to manage through their professional and caring approach to my case. They took their time to explain each step of the process and to answer any questions that I had. They showed both me and my family huge empathy and compassion from start to finish. What they have done for me is life-changing. I know that they will continue to help many, many more people in the future."

* name change

Contact us

For further information about sepsis claims and delayed diagnosis claims, please call Deborah Nadel on tel:020 7861 4747 or email deborah.nadel@fieldfisher.com.

Alternatively

All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win no fee. Find out more about no win no fee claims.

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