Settlement for failure to seek consent for subtotal hysterectomy

Case Studies

Settlement for failure to seek consent for subtotal hysterectomy

The claimant in this case received £60,000 for a private gynaecologist’s failure to amend her 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. Our client had completed her family and as such agreed to the proposed operation. A consent form was signed by both the surgeon and our client for this procedure. The surgeon advised her that a total hysterectomy would stop her bleeding, as her cervix would be removed in addition to her uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Our client arrived at the private hospital for her surgery and was informed that the surgeon 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.

She 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 experience 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 operation and the amount of scar tissue present, which would have made further surgery technically difficult.

There was a factual dispute between our client and the defendant as to whether the defendant had in fact discussed the risks and benefits of a subtotal rather than a total hysterectomy with our client, despite not noting this in the records or amending the consent form. 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, we arranged an early mediation to deal with the factual dispute and to attempt settlement, which was successful.

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