Case Studies

Admission of liability for failure to remove entire appendix during surgery


We are advising a woman who experienced delays in the diagnosis and treatment of her appendicitis in April 2016.

Our client initially presented to A&E with severe pain in the right iliac fossa and vomiting. An abdominal ultrasound scan was performed and there were concerns that her symptoms were consistent with gastroenteritis or cholecystitis (infected gallbladder). She was discharged home and advised to take regular pain killers. Her symptoms became worse during the night so she returned to hospital the following morning and was admitted. Unfortunately, our client’s appendicitis progressed and her appendix ruptured. She had to undergo open surgery and required treatment in intensive care post operatively.

Following our instruction, supportive expert evidence was obtained which was critical of the delay in diagnosis. We initially planned to present a claim to the trust on this basis but some 12 months following surgery, our client started to develop further right sided abdominal pain. Investigations confirmed that she had a retained appendix which required additional laparoscopic surgery and prolonged recovery. Our expert, who had underlined the impact of the delay in diagnosis of appendicitis, was also critical of the failure to remove the entire appendix stump. A claim was submitted on the basis of both a delay in diagnosis and failure to remove the appendix completely.

NHS Resolution, which is investigating matters on behalf of the trust, has now made some partial admissions of liability, acknowledging that the appendicectomy in April 2016 was negligently performed leading to a retained appendix stump and need for further surgery. 


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