August 6, 2019

Compensation secured for client who regained consciousness during appendectomy

Our client, Mr Fenn Settle, had been suffering from pain in his lower abdomen. The pain came on very suddenly and so he attended his local A&E unit. At the hospital, he was diagnosed as suffering from acute appendicitis. He was transferred to Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust by ambulance and had to undergo a laparoscopic (or ‘keyhole’) appendectomy.

To have the operation, Mr Settle needed to be put under a general anaesthetic. When Mr Settle was injected with the anaesthetic he lost consciousness, however, he later awoke during the procedure.

Mr Settle was unable to open his eyes, but was aware of voices and felt suffocated by the intubation tube that was in his throat helping him breathe. He also felt the surgeons pulling at his stomach.

Mr Settle tried to alert the staff by moving his fingers and toes but was unable to do so. Mr Settle was able to alert them to the fact he was awake by urinating. Mr Settle then heard staff say, “He’s urinating”. He then felt a sensation in his arm before falling unconscious again.

Watch Mr Settle describe his experience of anaesthetic awareness on This Morning:

Was the hospital or doctors negligent?

Mr Settle was able to argue that the hospital had been negligent in the way they had administered his anaesthetic. This was because they had not properly recorded his weight on the anaesthetic chart prior to the operation and thereafter failed to give him the correct level of medication (for his weight) to ensure he was adequately anaesthetised.

How did this affect Mr Settle?

Mr Settle was seriously affected by this incident and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. This had long-lasting effects on him including anxiety, weight gain and increased alcohol usage. He required anti-depressants and psychological therapy in order to get his life back on track.

How did Royds Withy King help?

Royds Withy King, and Joachim Stanley who ran Mr Settle’s case, were able to bring a claim for him. We were able to show that the hospital had not provided the correct standard of treatment and, because of this, he had woken during surgery.

The Trust then admitted that their care of Mr Settle had been negligent and that this had caused him to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Joachim was able to obtain £11,000 in compensation for Mr Settle which would help him pay for the psychological therapies he required to put him on the path to recovery.

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