Case studies

Injury to bowel as a result of negligent use of laparoscopic ports

Our client underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of his gall-bladder) due to multiple gallstones. He was appropriately advised before the operation that it might be necessary to convert to an open procedure, a laparotomy, due to the possibility of internal abdominal adhesions as a result of previous abdominal surgery for bowel cancer.

In the event, a laparotomy was required but it materialised that during the initial insertion of the laparoscopic ports, the implements used to access the abdomen, an injury was caused negligently to our client's bowel which resulted in serious post-operative consequences including a need for further surgery. Our client was eventually discharged from hospital over two and a half months later but continued to experience difficulties as a result of the bowel injury and its consequences, including problems with continence, a large abdominal hernia restricting his daily activities, a fistula which continued to discharge over a year post-operatively and an increased risk of small bowel obstruction in the future. There was a significant impact on his daily life and he developed depression as a result.

Ultimately court proceedings were issued but no defence was filed and a settlement of £130,000 plus costs was agreed.

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