We have settled a claim for a 27 year old female client whose appendix was not completely removed during surgery for appendicitis.
She presented to A&E at the start of 2016 due to vomiting and severe abdominal pain in the right side of her abdomen. Appendicitis was suspected and she subsequently underwent surgery to remove her appendix.
She was informed by the surgeons that her appendix was very small but had been successfully removed. She was discharged home and told she should make a full recovery. Unfortunately, her abdominal symptoms continued and this affected her ability to work and socialise with her friends and family. Our client continued to report her symptoms to various medical professionals but as her medical records showed her appendix had been removed, the possibility of ongoing appendicitis was excluded. She therefore had to undergo various investigations, including an additional surgical procedure, to try and identify the cause of her ongoing pain.
After several months it was finally noted that the appendix removed in early 2016 was very small and therefore her symptoms could have been caused by a retained appendix stump. The client had to have another surgical procedure and, during this third operation, it was discovered that three centimeters of her appendix was still present. The appendix stump was removed and it was hoped that our client’s abdominal symptoms would finally resolve.
Unfortunately, due to the numerous investigations and surgical procedures she had undergone and the extent of the infection which had been allowed to develop within her abdomen, she continued to suffer from ongoing pain.
In light of these circumstances, we obtained expert evidence from a general surgeon who confirmed that when the client’s appendix was initially removed and noted to be abnormally small, the surgeons should have taken steps to ensure all of her appendix had been removed and that the failure of the surgeons to do so was negligent. The expert surgeon stated that had the appropriate steps been taken, the entirety of the client’s appendix would have been removed and she would have made a full recovery with no ongoing symptoms.
The surgical expert raised concerns about the impact the negligence could have had on our client’s fertility. We therefore instructed an expert gynaecologist who confirmed that the negligence had caused a significant infection in the client’s pouch of Douglas (the area between the rectum and the uterus) and on the balance of probabilities, which is the legal test, the client’s fertility had been adversely affected and she would require IVF in order to conceive in the future.
Due to the client’s ongoing abdominal pain, a pain expert was also instructed and he confirmed that whilst her pain would be permanent, pain management treatment would help her manage it going forward.
Following a pre-action letter of claim setting out our allegations of negligence, the defendant trust admitted that the surgery performed in early 2016 was negligent. The claim was valued and following settlement negotiations with the defendant trust, the claim was settled for £82,500.
Court proceedings were not required and whilst the compensation will never reverse the pain caused to our client, she now has the funds available to pay for IVF and the treatment she needs to help manage her permanent abdominal pain.
We prepared a previous report about this case while it was ongoing (linked here).