Settlement for failure to consent for sub-total hysterectomy

The claimant in this case received £60,000 for the failure of a private surgeon to amend the consent form and discuss with her the change in surgical procedure to be performed.

Our client suffered with painful, heavy periods. She attended a private gynaecologist who recommended that she undergo a total hysterectomy. The claimant had completed her family and as such agreed to undergo the total hysterectomy. A consent form was signed by both the surgeon and the claimant for the procedure. The surgeon advised our client that the procedure would stop her bleeding, as her cervix would be removed as well as her uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.

She arrived at the private hospital for her operation and was advised that the surgeon who was due to perform the surgery had been changed due to annual leave. The second surgeon (the defendant) re-signed the consent form and proceeded to perform the surgery. The second surgeon did not document any discussion with our client in the medical records.

The claimant later found out that the defendant had performed a subtotal hysterectomy rather than a total hysterectomy, leaving in place her cervix, and so she continued to have her monthly bleed.

As a result of the incorrect procedure being performed our client suffered psychological distress as well as the physical symptoms of ongoing heavy, painful bleeding. She was unable to undergo further surgery due to a blood clot following the initial procedure and the amount of scar tissue present, which would have made further surgery technically difficult.

There was a factual dispute between the claimant and the defendant as to whether the defendant had in fact discussed the risks and benefits of a sub-total rather than a total hysterectomy with the claimant, despite this not being noted in the records and the consent form not being amended to reflect this. Our client was adamant that no such discussion took place and the defendant argued that he had indeed had a discussion with her.

Court proceedings were issued and served on the defendant. Whilst the defendant denied liability in full, an early mediation was arranged to deal with the factual dispute and to attempt settlement, which was successful.

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