Mrs A had a significant medical history including osteoarthritis, obesity, ischaemic heart disease, asthma and type II diabetes. In early 2011 she was diagnosed with a large umbilical hernia; an elective repair was planned but did not take place.
In August 2012 Mrs A was admitted to Northwick Park Hospital suffering with an incarcerated hernia. During surgery there was a failure to adequately repair the hernia. As a result Mrs A suffered infarction of the bowel, intra-abdominal collections, small bowel interloop abscesses, adhesions and an anastomotic leak. She required several further laparotomies in 2012 and another major operation in September 2013 to repair a large incisional hernia and perform abdominoplasty.
Mrs A was never able to recover to her pre-morbid level of function. She continued to suffer with chronic abdominal pain, bowel problems and faecal incontinence, physical weakness and severely impaired mobility. She required a significant amount of care and assistance from her family.
The Trust admitted a failure to repair the hernia at the first and second operations in August 2012 and admitted that but for the negligence Mrs A would have spent 10-14 days in hospital and made a full recovery without any need for further surgery. Judgment was entered on this basis.
However, the Trust then strongly argued that Mrs A's poor condition and function was due to progression of her pre-existing health conditions and not due to the negligence, further major abdominal operations and complications. The Defendant's case was strongly contested by experts instructed by Helen.
A settlement meeting was unsuccessful. Eventually, and only once the claim reached ten days before Trial, Helen was able to negotiate a settlement of £450,000 for Mrs A.
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