Clinical Negligence

Compensation for failure to treat breast haematoma following removal of implants

Jenny Waight, specialist clinical negligence lawyer acting for the claimant successfully obtained a settlement of £85,000 to compensate the claimant for their pain and suffering.

The claimant had undergone bilateral breast augmentation.  Some 20 years later, ultrasound scan revealed that the left implant had ruptured.  The claimant opted to have the implants removed on the NHS and to seek further surgery in the private sector for further breast augmentation.

The claimant had surgery to remove the implants carried out by a locum breast surgeon at Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton.

The claimant was reviewed at follow up two weeks later.  She complained that the left breast was tender and swollen.  Despite this, she was discharged.

One month later, following a phone call to the hospital, the claimant was reviewed in clinic again.  She was concerned that the swelling remained and that the breast was tender.  The surgeon documented that there was oedema and a collection of fluid in the cavity of the breast.  He aspirated it and recorded that a thick bloody fluid was present.  The claimant found this extremely painful and only a small amount of fluid was aspirated.

Later that day, the claimant attended A&E as her breast was hot, swollen and discoloured.  She was given another appointment in the breast clinic.

The aspirate had been sent for cytology and was reported as being blood only and consistent with a haematoma.  The claimant was seen in the breast clinic twice more before being discharged.  However, her breast remained swollen, painful and hard.

As the claimant had been reassured and discharged, she tried to cope as well as she could.  However, the left breast remained larger that the right and she had increased pain after prolonged driving or carrying heavy objects.

She returned to her GP nine months later and was referred back to the breast clinic.  A decision was made by a different consultant that surgical intervention was required.  The claimant finally underwent evacuation of the haematoma and a capsulectomy.  It was a very large haematoma and 350cc of blood was drained.

The claimant suffered avoidable pain, swelling and discomfort in her right breast for 13 months and an exacerbation of pre-existing depression.

The claimant instructed Jenny Waight at Thomson Snell & Passmore who obtained independent evidence from a breast surgeon that the haematoma was large and should have been evacuated 13 months earlier than it was.

The defendant denied liability on the basis that the breast surgeon had documented that the left breast swelling had decreased and so it was reasonable to treat it conservatively.  However, the claimant had taken photographs at the time of treatment which the expert advised were not consistent with a decrease in size.

Despite the denial of liability, the defendant paid compensation and the claim settled for £85,000.

Jenny Waight specialises in breast surgery cases.  If you would like to ask a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any clinical negligence or personal injury, contact Jenny Waight at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701374 in confidence.

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