£125,000 Compensation for Gastric Surgery Errors

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A Medical Negligence Claim Case Study - Client Situation

Our client was seeking to lose weight after being diagnosed with an underactive thyroid, diabetes and high blood pressure, but none of the weight loss treatments she had tried were successful.

She was therefore referred for surgery and underwent a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy as a first-stage procedure. But despite being told the surgery had gone well, she didn’t lose any weight and in fact started to put more weight on.

So our client went back to her GP and was referred to Aintree Hospital, where she was advised to undergo the second stage of the operation called a laparoscopic bypass.

Our client was very apprehensive about undergoing further surgery following her bad experience last time around, but decided to have the operation on the basis that she was only going to have a bypass and possibly a hernia repair.

However, she later found out that additional surgery was carried out that she hadn’t consented to, nor had she had the risks involved explained to her.

After returning home, our client suffered a persistent high temperature and her husband rang for an ambulance. She subsequently began slipping in and out of consciousness and spent 8 weeks being treated in Royal Liverpool Hospital’s Intensive Care and High Dependency units.

Upon being discharged from hospital, our client was unable to do anything for herself, and her husband had to wash, clothe, feed and cook meals for her for the next year. Although she was gradually able to do more for herself, she still needed her husband’s help with many daily tasks for a further 12 months.

It later emerged that she had fallen ill due to a leak from the staple of the gastric line pouch and suffered peritonitis due to the contents of her stomach leaking into her abdomen and triggering septic shock. This leak had been caused as a result of the additional surgery she underwent and that she had not consented to.

She was subsequently fitted with a PEG tube and was unable to eat for 8 months, instead only being allowed to sip milk and water. She has also had to undergo further hospital treatment because of recurrences of the leak and must take antibiotics every day.

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How We Helped

The client contacted our team of Medical Negligence Solicitors to claim compensation from the Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which was responsible for her care. We approached the NHS Trust on her behalf, and as part of our case, we argued that our client hadn’t been told that anything else might be done during the operation, beyond what she already knew about.

If she had been told that anything more than a gastric bypass and possibly a hernia repair might be done, then she wouldn’t have gone ahead with the operation. Our Medical Negligence Solicitors arranged for our client to see an independent medical expert, who prepared a report outlining her condition and the long-term impact of the medical negligence on her health.

This helped our Solicitors calculate an appropriate compensation settlement, reflecting factors such as the severity of her condition, the financial losses she and her husband had experienced as a result, and the emotional turmoil they had gone through.

One particularly distressing part of the whole ordeal came after she was first taken to hospital by ambulance, as she woke up and saw her family gathered round her hospital bed. She later found out they had been told she didn’t have very long to live and were saying goodbye to her.

The Outcome

Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust offered to pay £125,000 in compensation, which was accepted by our client.