Case studies

Failure to identify and correct error in bowel surgery


Our client had a temporary colostomy whilst she was treated with radiotherapy for anal cancer. After the successful cancer treatment, the temporary colostomy was reversed, but she suffered on-going problems and eventually decided to have a permanent colostomy.

The surgeon who operated divided our client's bowel, but proceeded negligently to connect the wrong part of the bowel to the stoma where the colostomy bag was sited and to staple closed the working part of her bowel. The error was not identified until a week later, during which she suffered considerable pain and discomfort and then had to undergo further surgery, complicated by an infection. She was admitted to intensive care and for a period she and her husband feared she might not survive. She complained to the NHS, which initially denied negligence, arguing that adhesions in her abdomen made it difficult for the surgeon properly to identify her anatomy.

We were then involved and contacted the NHS Litigation Authority, who quickly produced an offer to settle the claim, which was increased after negotiation.


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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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