Posted by Kerstin Scheel, Partner
Claim settled for partial tongue removal against Bristol hospital Trust
Kerstin Scheel relays the details of a claim involving a client whose tongue had to be removed following a delay in treatment of macroglossia (a swelling or enlargement of the tongue).
The Claimant was born with a congenital neurological condition called Basilar Clivus Invagination. He had previously undergone a neurosurgical procedure to relieve pressure on the brain stem. Following the procedure he suffered a swelling of his throat impacting his ability to breathe.
In 2007, the claimant underwent further neurosurgery at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol (services transferred to Southmead Hospital in 2014) where the surgeons initially attempted access through the roof of the mouth and the back of the throat. However, the surgeons changed this approach at a late stage to access through the nose. The Claimant subsequently suffered a massive macroglossia (swelling or enlargement of the tongue), treatment of which ended in a partial glossectomy (removal of the tongue).
The planning and performance of the surgery was argued as being substandard, however the most important focus of the Claimant’s case was the care he received post surgery and the complacent approach to the presentation of his swelling tongue. No steps were taken to try and contain the tongue or protect it for many days. It was only when it had swollen to such an extent that the Claimant’s teeth had almost severed it, and the damage to the tongue had become infected, that urgency was shown. At this point the Claimant was transferred from Frenchay Hospital to Southmead Hospital, both under the North Bristol NHS Trust.
The Claimant sued the Trust for compensation for his physical injuries and disadvantages on the labour market; the claim was settled for £140,000.
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