Claimant awarded £35,000 due to a negligent failure to identify bowel obstruction prior to perforation, followed by a delay in undertaking surgery which in turn led to widespread contamination of the peritoneal cavity

1 Apr 2017 | Case Studies


R v Medway NHS Foundation Trust was a medical negligence case concerning the delay and failure to diagnose a bowel obstruction and failure take appropriate steps to remedy this prior to perforation. It also concerned allegations that A&E should have admitted the claimant’s husband on two earlier occasions and that radiology results were misreported.

In April 2011 the claimant’s husband was suffering from diarrhoea and abdominal pain and contacted his GP. Following several further appointments in April, May and June a referral had been made to Medway Hospital but no appointment was given.

On 3 June 2011 the claimant’s husband attended the A&E unit at Medway Hospital complaining of a six week history of diarrhoea, abdominal pain and passing blood in his stools. Blood tests were taken and he was discharged home with antibiotics. He re-attended A&E that same day, was re-examined and an abdominal x-ray was taken. He was again discharged.

The claimant’s husband was again seen by his GP on 8 June 2011, on the second visit of the day he was transferred to Medway Hospital. Two further x-rays were taken in the following days, the results of the latter prompted a CT scan. After reviewing the results of the CT scan, doctors referred the claimant’s husband for surgery.

The claimant’s husband underwent surgery for a bowel perforation on 11 June 2011, and required admission to intensive care following the surgery. A further surgical procedure into the abdomen was performed on 18 June 2011.

On 10 August 2011 during a dressing change in theatre the claimant’s husband began to deteriorate rapidly. He passed away the following day.

It was alleged that there was a negligent failure to identify the bowel obstruction prior to perforation. Once the bowel had perforated there was a delay in undertaking the surgery leading to widespread faecal contamination inside the abdomen. This resulted in the need for a prolonged period in intensive care, numerous dressing changes and the eventual lung infection which caused the death of the claimant’s husband.

The Settlement

A settlement was reached in the total sum of £35,000.

Date of Judgment/Settlement:  06.16
Court: Out of court settlement
Claimant Solicitor: Helen Neville

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