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23 February 2017 | Comment | Article by Ruth Powell

Claimant awarded £195,000.00 due to negligent surgeon

Negligent Surgeon chooses wrong procedure resulting in a negligent diagnosis of incurable cancer

Summary of Events

B v Princess Alexandra Hospitals NHS Trust was a clinical negligence case concerning the claimant’s surgery on 28th August 2009 to fix a leak in her colon arising after an operation called a “laparoscopic sigmoid colectomy”.

The case was very complex with 10 expert witnesses and 11 factual witnesses including 5 treating medical witnesses and it was listed for a 10 day Trial.

It was alleged by the claimant that during the laparotomy (open surgery) to fix the leak, the surgeon negligently chose a “loop ileostomy” as opposed to a conventional procedure called a “Hartmann’s procedure”. This decision left the leak in place which then led to sepsis. In a conventional Hartmann’s procedure the leak would have been sealed and the patient would have been left with a colostomy which could have then been reversed after the bowel had healed.

The claimant alleged that had a Hartmann’s procedure been performed she would have had an uncomplicated recovery and avoided, amongst other things, sepsis, a stroke, a hernia.

There had also been a misdiagnosis of incurable cancer leading to unnecessary chemotherapy with associated side effects. This was because the sepsis had been interpreted as metastatic disease and it was not until our experts reviewed the case that the claimant found out she never had cancer.

The defendant maintained a denial of liability and causation throughout the case.

The defendant stated that the choice of procedure was for the surgeon alone and that a responsible body of surgeons would have chosen, as the defendant surgeon did, to perform a loop ileostomy as opposed to a Hartmann’s procedure.

The defendant stated that the sepsis the claimant suffered was not due to continued leakage following the loop ileostomy, but, rather the result of an initial septic insult from the original surgery.

The claimant’s experts agree that the claimant had made a fantastic recovery from her stroke.

The Settlement

On 7 April 2015 a joint settlement meeting was held and the claim was settled in the total sum of £195,000.

The compensation comprised of

  • damages for the claimant’s pain, suffering and loss of amenity
  • past and future loss of earnings up to retirement
  • past and future care and assistance
  • past travel

Date of Judgment/Settlement: 07.04.15

Court: Out of court settlement

Claimant Age at date of accident/negligence: 56

Age at date of trial/settlement: 62

Author bio

Ruth Powell


Ruth is a Partner and Head of our Clinical Negligence Department. She has exclusively practised in clinical negligence since qualifying in 1995 and has a wealth of experience in complex and high value clinical negligence claims.

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