Posted by Kerstin Scheel, Partner
£165,000 for negligent appendectomy performed at St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust
A 30-year-old woman was represented by Kerstin Scheel; she received £165,000 in compensation for the injuries sustained when an appendicectomy was negligently performed.
Our client underwent a laparoscopic appendicectomy at St George’s hospital in London having been admitted on the previous day with abdominal pain. Surgery found an inflamed retrocaecal appendix stuck to the caecum, together with blood stained fluid in the pelvis. The appendix was dissected and removed.
After surgery the woman became very ill with tachycardia, a temperature, difficulties breathing and chest pain. After treatment with antibiotics she developed nausea and vomiting with absent bowel sounds. An ileus was diagnosed and an NG tube placed. These symptoms persisted, but she was never reviewed by a consultant. An x-ray taken showed dilated loops of the small bowel. A CT scan showed an obstructed small bowel, transection in the right iliac fossa, appearances of an incompletely resected appendix and inflammation. However nothing was done.
She therefore went onto develop sepsis and a laparoscopic wash out was undertaken and multiple abscesses found, causing obstruction. During the procedure two enterotomies were caused and sutured. The woman was transferred to ITU after surgery with two wound drains in place.
Following discharge C’s condition deteriorated and her GP referred her to a private hospital. She required further surgery and a complete small bowel obstruction was found, a hugely distended and dusky small bowel, extensive adhesions, a caecal perforation and the tip of the appendix in the paracolic gutter. A right hemicolectomy and debridement of the wound was undertaken. The claimant made a slow recovery and was diagnosed with a faecal fistula and wound dehiscence.
As a result of the negligence the claimant underwent two unnecessary surgical procedures, a traumatic attempt of a gastrografin procedure, a faecal fistula, a prolonged hospital stay, significant sepsis and was generally very ill. She was left with significant and extensive scarring, especially a large vertical scar. She lost her terminal ileum, which is responsible for the absorption of bile salts, and suffered from ongoing diarrhoea, needing to avoid certain foods. She required nutritional supplements as a result. She also suffered hair loss, skin sensitivity and disruption to her menstrual cycle. Her fertility was affected, on the balance of probabilities, as a result of the pelvic sepsis. Any future abdominal surgery would be complicated as a result of the abdominal sepsis. There was a risk that she would develop chronic pelvic pain.
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