We have successfully settled a claim for injuries resulting from negligently performed surgery to correct the chest deformity ‘pectus excavatum’ which is colloquially known as ‘funnel chest’. It can cause both cosmetic deformity and physical symptoms such as chest and back pain and restriction in lung capacity.
Having suffered with the condition throughout his teenage years, our client sought advice from a cardio-thoracic surgeon and decided to undergo a NUSS procedure to improve the appearance of his chest. The procedure involves inserting curved horizontal bars behind the ribs and then turning those bars to push the depressed sternum outwards. The bars are usually removed after a few years, once the position of the sternum has been corrected.
Unfortunately for our client, a single retrosternal bar was inserted diagonally which resulted in significant pain and further asymmetry of his chest. His pain was so severe that the bar had to be removed prematurely and he was left with scarring and worsened cosmetic appearance. We obtained expert reports from a consultant cardio-thoracic surgeon and a consultant plastic surgeon who confirmed that the surgery had been negligently performed. We also obtained evidence from a consultant psychiatrist on the basis that our client had suffered a psychological injury as a result of the extensive pain experienced following this invasive surgery and the subsequent poor cosmetic outcome.
The defendant denied negligence and court proceedings were issued and served. During the course of our investigations, our client developed pneumonia and was admitted to intensive care. After waiting for him to recover, we investigated this deterioration by obtaining updated medical notes and records and further expert evidence. It was concluded that while his pneumonia was not caused by the negligently performed NUSS procedure, the defendant’s negligence had contributed to his restricted chest wall mechanics and this had directly influenced the severity of the condition and the extent of treatment required. Pleadings were amended to reflect the updated claim and the case was valued on that basis. Despite the defendant continuing to deny negligence, we negotiated a settlement and before expert evidence was exchanged, were able to settle the case for a five figure sum.