Negligent treatment following kidney transplant at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

Negligent treatment following kidney transplant at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Lindsay Holt was instructed by AM in respect of a claim against University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust arising out of medical treatment following a kidney transplant in 2016. 

AM underwent a cadaveric kidney donor transplant at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital and post-operatively, developed massive abdominal swelling and pain. He was unable to eat or open his bowels and had terrible stomach pain. Despite his and his family's complaints to staff about a grossly distended abdomen, pain and abnormal ultrasound scan findings, it was not until eight days after surgery that his abdomen was rescanned, and he was found to have peritonitis due to caecal perforation. 

He underwent an emergency laparotomy and a pseudo-obstruction was diagnosed, which had caused an ischaemic bowel. AM required an ileostomy and colostomy and was transferred to a ventilator in intensive care, developing post-operative infections and a ureteric stricture. 

Because of the failure to diagnose the pseudo-obstruction and the need for emergency surgery, AM's immuno-suppressants, which were prescribed to prevent rejection of the donor kidney, were stopped. This contributed to development of renal artery stenosis (narrowing of the renal artery) and, despite multiple scans, this was also missed over several weeks. The transplanted kidney failed. 

On AM's behalf, it was argued that but for the Defendant's negligent failure to diagnose pseudo-obstruction, the transplanted kidney would have remained viable and lasted 10-12 years. AM would then have been returned to dialysis until a new donor kidney was found and transplanted and he would have had a reasonable life expectancy.

An additional feature of the case was that because AM was only able to pass faeces via a stoma following surgery, symptoms of low rectal carcinoma were missed. But for the Defendant's negligence, this would have been diagnosed by December 2018 and successfully treated. Instead, it was diagnosed 18 months later, by which time, the cancer had spread and his life expectancy was seriously impaired. His options for treatment were affected because of his ill health and frailty due to the consequences of the pseudo-obstruction and renal failure. 

The Defendant was slow to disclose documentation and, despite offering photographic evidence of AM's gross abdominal distension, the Trust denied liability. As the Trust failed to agree to mediation or accept the settlement proposals put forward on behalf of her client, Lindsay issued Court proceedings. She successfully applied for an Order for the case to be expedited because of AM's poor health.

Documentary, witness evidence and expert evidence were exchanged and the experts attempted to narrow the issues between them.

The case settled at mediation for a six-figure award.

AM passed away shortly after his claim was resolved, but his family said that he found peace knowing that the Defendants had settled his claim. 

Following settlement, AM's family said:

'Lindsay's approach was perfect for our family as she lead us through the process. This took the burden off us, allowing us to feel comfortable that things were being taken care of. Lindsay's compassion, empathy and approach in finding the best outcome for her client were invaluable.'

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For further information about surgery negligence claims and medical negligence claims, please call Lindsay Holt on 03304606789 or email


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Related expertise

Surgery Negligence Claims