Clinical Negligence

Permanent stoma required following bowel surgery leaks

Our client, Mr F, was compensated £140,000 after he suffered from a prolonged, undiagnosed abdominal abscess which developed after he had leaks into his abdomen following an ileal pouch surgery. He suffered from chronic abdominal sepsis over 2 ½ years, as well as requiring a permanent stoma.

This clinical negligence claim involved Mr F who was 23 years old when he was diagnosed with severe inflammatory bowel disease.  He underwent a colectomy (removal of part of the colon) and ileostomy (where the end of the small intestine is bought up through the surface of the abdomen to create a stoma – diverting the faeces into an external bag) at St Georges’ Hospital, London.

Mr F was then followed up at his local hospital, James Cooks University Hospital in Middlesborough.  Mr F was booked for an ileal pouch surgery (where the colon and rectum are fully removed).

After this surgery Mr F was in enormous pain and was nauseous.  His heart rate was raised; he had a fever and raised pulse.  A CT scan 6 days after the surgery showed he had a leak from the pouch.

He was taken back to theatre where he underwent a laparotomy.  A small leak was found and was sutured.  A diverting stoma was created above the pouch.

After the laparotomy Mr F again felt nauseous, in pain and continued to have a fever.  A CT scan was not performed for another 15 days.  This showed a collection of fluid behind the pouch caused by ongoing leaks from the pouch.

The next day Mr F underwent a further scan of his pouch which showed that there were at least two leaks.  He was discharged from the hospital four days later having been told that the “small leak” would heal over time by itself.

The following month Mr F was readmitted with constant nausea, vomiting, abdominal tenderness and watery stools.  A CT scan showed he had air within his pelvis.  The radiologist stated he felt this may have been from a previous abscess.

Mr F underwent an examination under anaesthetic and a sigmoidoscopy was performed.  He was told the pouch was healthy with no inflammation.

Mr F continued to experience severe pain and so his GP referred him for a 2nd opinion at St Mark’s Hospital.  St Mark’s suspected that Mr F had pelvis sepsis and an MRI scan was performed.  This showed that Mr F had a massive abscess behind the pouch.  Mr F was told there was no way to salvage the pouch and he underwent major surgery to remove the pouch.  There was considerable contamination found during the surgery.

Mr F was left with a permanent stoma and a 20% risk that he may need surgery in the future.  He also suffered with psychological injuries and has been frequently severely depressed and close to despair.  Mr F had planned to start a music degree and had been planning a career in the music industry, as a tutor and performer, at the time of his surgery.  He had to delay these plans and his ability to make a career in this area was highly likely to be hampered by the permanent stoma.

James Cahan, specialist clinical negligence lawyer, acted on behalf of Mr F.  Whilst the defendants admitted that they had breach their duty of care to Mr F, they refused to admit that these breaches had caused Mr F’s injuries in their entirety.

After obtaining medical evidence from experts, James was able to negotiate an out-of-court settlement of this claim for over £140,000 to compensate Mr F for his pain and suffering, and to cover any future treatment he may require.

James Cahan specialises in colorectal 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 LLP solicitors on 01892 701289 in confidence.

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