£20,000 compensation for surgical error in medical negligence claim

Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors acted for Mrs Allan after surgeons and medical staff failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent infection during and after heart surgery.

Surgeons conducting a procedureMrs Allan underwent coronary artery bypass surgery. Following the surgery, Mrs Allan developed an infection, suffered from sternal pain and discharging wounds and had to undergo multiple revision operations.

Mrs Allan approached Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors for advice as to whether she may be able entitled to medical negligence compensation as part of a surgical error claim. Mrs Allan was provided with initial advice by specialist medical negligence lawyer, Jason Brady. Having spoken with Mrs Allan, Blackwater Law agreed to represent Mrs Allan on a no-win, no-fee basis.

Clinical negligence claim allegations

Blackwater Law argued the hospital failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent Mrs Allan from developing an infection, failed to identify the infection expeditiously and failed to treat the infection effectively. Blackwater Law argued the patient suffered significantly due to the infections, repeat surgical procedures and having a large part of her sternum and other parts of her chest area removed due to the extensive infection. The client also suffered from psychological symptoms and was diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder. Liability was denied by the defendant.

Investigation and evidence gathered by Blackwater Law

Blackwater Law has a nationwide panel of specialist medical experts that it utilises to provide supporting evidence for clients’ medical negligence claims. From this panel, Mrs Allan’s medical negligence lawyer, Jason Brady, selected a leading cardiothoracic surgeon to provide a medical opinion on Mrs Allan’s case. The expert concluded:

  • Sterna edges need to be closed fully with no movement. Separation happens if insufficient wires are used (room for movement). Eight wires should have been used. This suggests there were surgical errors.
  • The lower 3rd of the sternum had dehiscence. There was infected dehiscence. Hospital medical staff failed to take steps to prevent deep sternal wound infection (DSWI).
  • Infection would not have happened if the peroneal fluid had not leaked. This leak was due to dehiscence.
  • DSWI occurs in less than 2% of patients.
  • Failed to identify infection and treat the deep infection, if treated properly would have recovered in 6 months. No damage to the costal cartilages if treated properly.
  • Quality of life for Mrs Allan was drastically reduced to about 40% compared with 100% prior to surgery.

Defence of the medical negligence claim

The Defendant instructed their own (orthopaedic) medical expert who argued:

  • The operation was performed appropriately as described and the sternum was closed with six stainless steel wires.
  • A raised White Cell Count (WCC) is only evidence of sepsis in general and is not indicative of infection in any one area. The Claimant had post-operative pneumonia at this time and was given antibiotics.
  • A raised WCC is only indicative of sepsis generally. Pseudomonas is evidence of superficial, not deep infection.

Medical negligence claim settlement offer

A Costs and Case Management Conference was held and during this, the judge commented that there was reservation over the suitability of the Defendant’s medical expert. After the conference, both expert evidence and witness evidence was exchanged and the Defendant made an initial offer of £14,000. This was rejected by Jason Brady. Negotiations continued and the defendant accepted Mr Brady’s offer to settle at £20,000.

Blackwater Law and Mrs Allan were pleased with the settlement achieved as the final settlement of £20,000 medical negligence compensation was above the £15,000-£17,000 which had been estimated by a barrister.

Get expert legal advice

Call today and speak to Jason Brady, specialist medical negligence solicitor. Find out if you can claim compensation.

CALL 0800 083 5500