A substantial settlement has been awarded to our client, who suffered an irreparable bladder injury following a simple transvaginal tension free vaginal tape-obturator (TVTO) procedure.
The claimant initially presented with mild stress urinary incontinence symptoms and was offered a TVTO to manage her condition. The procedure was successfully performed; however, in the post-operative period she was unable to pass urine, a known side-effect of anaesthesia and post-operative medications. The post-operative instructions were to monitor her urine output and check any residual volume in her bladder with an ultrasound scan. It was advised that if she had an excessive residual bladder volume, a catheter should be inserted to empty her bladder.
Post-operatively, our client reported the urge to urinate, but being unable to do so save for very small amounts to nursing staff. Her urine output and residual bladder volume were recorded, and demonstrated that she was in urinary retention. Despite recording excessive bladder volumes, she was not catheterised to empty her bladder for approximately eight hours, at which point over 1000ml of urine was drained from the claimant’s bladder.
She was discharged the following morning, and subsequently suffered a complete loss of bladder control. Further investigations ultimately revealed that our client had suffered a bladder overdistention injury because of the delayed catheterisation, permanently damaging the nerves controlling her bladder. She suffered irreparable loss of function, and was advised that the only way to manage her symptoms was to perform intermittent self-catheterisation at least twice a day.
The realisation of the permanence of her condition caused the claimant to experience severe depression. As a result, she was unable to contemplate performing self-catheterisation, and instead adopted a reclusive lifestyle and a strict fluid intake regime.
Penningtons Manches Cooper was instructed to act on behalf of the claimant and secured an early admission of liability following service of a pre-action protocol letter of claim. However, the nature and extent of the claimant’s injuries, in particular her psychiatric injury and the impact this had on her ability to perform intermittent self-catheterisation, were disputed by the defendant. Court proceedings were issued for the purpose of assessing quantum while ongoing settlement negotiations took place. The claim ultimately reached a seven figure settlement, following extensive expert evidence that was served on the defendant in support of the claimant’s position, which will enable our client to seek nursing care to support her in performing daily catheterisation.
Lyndsey Banthorpe acted on behalf of the claimant and commented: “This case highlights that it is so important to consider the holistic impact of injuries; not just the physical injury but the psychiatric injury as well. The emotional impact of coming to terms with a permanent disability and its life-long consequences should not be underestimated.”