Complex Surgical Negligence Claim: Vaginal Hysterectomy

Surgical Negligence
BSC, LLB (Hons) & LPC Sophia Azam
Case by: BSC, LLB (Hons) & LPC Sophia Azam Updated:

Our client’s experience during a routine vaginal hysterectomy serves as a poignant case study regarding surgical negligence. Our client experiences post-operative complications followed by challenges in securing legal representation. The following case study highlights the complexities that can be faced by victims of medical negligence.

Surgical Negligence Case Background

During August 2019, our client attended Hospital for a vaginal hysterectomy. Bleeding was listed on the consent form as one of the risks of surgery. However, following surgery, the client reported feeling unwell and was noted by the nursing staff to have a rising heart rate and lowering blood pressure. Furthermore, a transabdominal scan showed free fluid around the liver.

Decision Made to Re-Operate

A decision was therefore made to re-operate due to possible post-operative bleeding. A significant hemoperitoneum was confirmed. After the washout of the abdomen, the doctor identified a bleeding vessel around the left uterine vessels. As a result, the blood vessel was cauterised and following the surgery, out client required blood transfusion.

Further Complications Post Surgery

The client was reviewed by the gynaecology clinic on follow-up, where she complained of persistent pain in the left upper quadrant of her abdomen and tenderness in the left renal angle. After examination, their bimanual examination was deemed normal, and a CT scan of the renal tract was requested.

Medical Evidence Indicates Surgical Negligence

Medical evidence was obtained from a surgical gynaecologist who opined that given the need for re-operation, the uterine pedicle was not sutured properly which caused the post-operative bleeding. This was a breach of duty. The post-operative bleeding was caused by a failure by the surgeon to tie the suture adequately during the first surgery. Furthermore, the bruising was due to the post-operative haemorrhage. As a result of the surgeon’s negligence, the client had to undergo a re-operation. Additionally, she had to remain in Hospital longer than she would have done. She also required transfusion of blood products, developed large bruising, and took longer than expected to recover.

Difficulty in Securing a Barrister for Our Client’s Surgical Negligence Claim

A letter of claim was sent to the Hospital trust who denied breach of duty and negligence on the basis that the risk had been consented to when the client signed the consent form. They were unwilling to settle the case outside of court. As a result, a barrister was instructed. Details of the case were sent to a barrister who held a meeting with the medical expert and decided that the case did not have greater than 50% chance of succeeding at court. Therefore, the barrister declined to act on the case.

A second barrister held the same opinion and again did not want to accept the case.

A third barrister was approached who considered the papers and agreed to act on behalf of the client. The necessary paperwork was drafted by the barrister and court proceedings were initiated.

Surgical Negligence Settlement Reached

Soon after, an offer of settlement was received from the NHS trust’s solicitors. After some negotiation, settlement was reached. The client expressed her profound gratitude to AWH’s expert medical negligence solicitor Sophia Azam for her dedication.

Hear more about the member(s) of our team featured above: