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  • Overview

    James Cahan, specialist clinical negligence lawyer based at Thomson Snell & Passmore’s Tunbridge Wells and Dartford (Thames Gateway) offices, has secured £130,000 for patient who developed a perineal fistula and subsequent urinary incontinence after his urethra was damaged during bowel cancer surgery.

    The claimant in this medical negligence claim was a 60 year old man who was diagnosed with rectal carcinoma (cancer). He underwent a short course of chemotherapy before undergoing a laparoscopic abdominoperineal resection surgery, whereby the colon, rectum and anal sphincter are completely removed and replaced by a permanent colostomy. The surgery took place at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.

    The surgery entailed opening both the abdomen and the perineum (the space between the scrotum and the anus). The dissection was noted to be difficult and during the surgery a small nick was made in the urethra, which had to be closed up.

    After the surgery the perineum did not heal properly and the claimant was constantly leaking from the wound.

    He underwent a urethrogram which showed he had a large collection of fluid in the presacral (space behind the rectum).

    A flexible cystoscopy was performed but this did not reveal anything unusual. The claimant was supposed to start his next round of chemotherapy at this point but this could not be started until the urethral injury had been repaired.

    Eventually the patient was referred to the University College Hospital in London. They confirmed the claimant had in fact developed a perineal fistula (an abnormal tract with an opening at the perineal) and that the large presacral collection was filling from the defect in the urethra.

    The claimant had to wait for seven months to undergo a urethral reconstruction surgery. During that time he continued to suffer constant leakage from the perianal fistula and was completely housebound. He required a carer and a district nurse who would pack the perineal fistula. He was still unable to undergo his chemotherapy.

    Unfortunately after the reconstruction surgery the claimant developed urinary incontinence.

    Sadly the claimant’s cancer later spread to his liver. It was argued that had the claimant been able to undergo chemotherapy during the seven months delay, his life expectancy would have been slightly extended. It was also argued that the claimant’s bowel surgery had been substandard and that there had been an overly long delay in referring him to a urology specialist after his complications arose.

    James Cahan, acting for the claimant, was able to negotiate an out-of-court settlement of £130,000 to compensate the claimant for his pain and suffering.

    James specialises in urology negligence cases. If you would like to ask James a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any clinical negligence, contact James at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701289 in confidence.

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