This case study demonstrates the expertise of our Clinical Negligence team who recently acted for a claimant who went to Eastbourne Hospital in East Sussex for a routine removal of a lesion on his palate. Unfortunately, the SHO removed the wrong area during a very painful and traumatic procedure.
The claimant noticed what appeared to be an ulcer on the roof of his mouth. He consulted with his GP who referred him to the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Eastbourne General Hospital.
The surgeon advised that the claimant had a 3mm diameter papillomatous lesion on the left side of his palate. A follow up appointment was planned for the lesion to be biopsied under local anaesthetic.
The claimant attended the appointment for the biopsy, which was performed by an SHO. The SHO administered a very painful palatal local anaesthetic injection without prior infiltration of the mucosa to reduce the pain.
The procedure took a very long time and there was such profuse bleeding that it took eight attempts to control the bleeding by diathermy.
In the medical notes, the SHO refers to the lesion as a 1cm in length "white lesion on the palate".
The claimant drove back to work following the procedure but felt unwell and tired during the drive. For the next few days, he felt very light headed. Once the anaesthetic had worn off, he felt a large hole on the right side of his palate.
The claimant made an appointment to see the surgeon who apologised and advised that his colleague had operated in the wrong place. The surgeon then performed the biopsy of the papilloma, which was uneventful and painless under local anaesthetic.
The claimant came to Thomson Snell & Passmore for specialist advice. We gathered his medical records and asked an expert Maxillofacial surgeon to report.
The expert advised that indeed the wrong area had been removed and that the SHO had damaged the palatine artery leading to profuse bleeding. The claimant had a 1cm scar on the roof of his mouth and had undergone an unnecessary very painful procedure.
A letter of claim was sent to East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust setting out the allegations of negligence. The Trust admitted liability. After some negotiation, a settlement achieved and the claimant received compensation in the sum of £3,500.
Jennifer Waight specialises in clinical negligence cases. If you would like to ask Jennifer a question about a potential case involving a surgical error or you have a general query about medical negligence, contact her on 01892 701374 in confidence.
We have one of the largest and most experienced specialist medical negligence teams in Southern England including London. Our team of highly experienced lawyers has the depth and range of expertise essential in this sensitive and often complex area of law. Our clinical negligence team is very proud to be ranked Number 1 in both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners UK.