Clinical Negligence

Failed hernia repair and removal of lax skin surgery

Mrs I was 36 when she saw a consultant general breast and endocrine surgeon at the Southampton NHS Treatment Centre.  She had developed an epigastric hernia following the birth of her twins which was causing her indigestion and a visible lump to appear when she lay flat.  She also had some excess skin and the surgeon confirmed that he would be able to perform a repair of her hernia and at the same time remove the excess skin.

On the day of surgery the consultant could not remember who Mrs I was straight away, calling her a different name and advising that he had been given the wrong appointment list.  He examined her stomach and initially advised he would not be able to carry out the surgery that he had initially discussed with her as she was much smaller than he remembered.  He advised he would be able to remove some of the skin around the umbilical area.  He proceeded to make up the loose skin around the umbilical area but did not mark the epigastric hernia itself.

The original consent form was destroyed and Mrs I was asked to sign another without time to fully consider it.  The consent form stated she was undergoing a “umbilical hernia repair and revision of skin laxity.”

The surgery went ahead, however the surgeon failed to undertake a repair to Mrs I’s epigastric hernia and instead performed an umbilical hernia repair.  He also did not perform any excision of the excess skin.

Post-operatively Mrs I was in a lot of pain.  It was not until a week later that she contacted the 24 hour helpline as she was concerned that her epigastric hernia was still protruding.  She also pointed out that the hernia was epigastric but that the discharge letter stated supra-umbilical hernia.

She was reviewed for a second opinion after being told she would need to undergo a further repair.  She was seen at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital where the consultant noted she still had an easily reducible epigastric hernia and that her supra-umbilical incision was massive with a poor aesthetic result.

She was seen by a private consultant at the Spire Portsmouth Hospital after this and underwent an abdominoplasty and repair of the epigastric hernia.

Mrs I was left with a permanent scar in the epigastrium rather than a more cosmetic transverse supra-pubic scar that would have resulted if she had undergone an abdominoplasty from the beginning.  The revision abdominoplasty she did eventually undergo had to be performed by a midline approach due to the first surgery she had undergone.  As a result she has been left with permanent abdominal scarring and  psychiatric injury with mild depression.

Jennifer Waight was instructed by Mrs I to bring a claim for damages for her pain and suffering.  After obtaining expert evidence and considerable negotiation Jennifer was able to successfully obtain an out-of-court settlement of £22,500 to compensate the claimant for their pain and suffering.

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

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