Friday, March 01, 2013
Catalogue of clinical errors forced patient to undergo amputation
Mr D had surgery to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm (when the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs balloons in size) and was discharged home after a week.
The next day, Mr D began to experience increased pain in his abdomen and vomiting. He was taken by ambulance to Queen Margaret Hospital. On admission, Mr D was dehydrated, acidotic (too much acid in the blood) and had reduced blood pressure. He was cared for overnight by the on call surgical team which comprised nurses and junior medical staff. No referral was made for a senior opinion. A catheter was inserted to drain urine, however nothing was produced. No action was taken to investigate this. He was prescribed an anticoagulant to try and prevent blood clotting, however this was not administered. TED stockings were put on the pursuer’s legs by nursing staff without checking for signs of ischaemia. The pursuer’s condition and vital signs were not adequately observed or monitored during the night.
By the time Mr D was seen by his consultant the following morning, he was in a critical condition. He had developed a severe lack of blood in the left lower limb. He had to be rehydrated prior to surgery and required a graft from his right to his left femoral artery in order to restore blood flow. Unfortunately by this stage, the muscles in his left leg were irreversibly damaged and an above knee amputation was needed in order to save Mr D’s life.
Mr D had been fit and active prior to the loss of his leg and his lifestyle was hugely affected. He suffered discomfort from his prosthesis and frustration at the restrictions his loss of limb placed on him at home and elsewhere. Digby Brown were able to assist Mr D by providing funding for his claim and pursuing his clinical negligence action in court. Mr D was successful in settling his case for a substantial six figure sum in settlement.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Pressure sore nightmare in hospital
As any wheelchair user knows, skin integrity is of the utmost importance in order to avoid the perils of pressure sores. Mr C is tetraplaegic following a road accident. He manages his own meticulous skin care regime. He required hospitalisation for an operation. He was assessed as very high risk for developing a pressure sore as a result of his limited mobility.
Appropriate steps were taken to assess him, however there was a failure to put a skin inspection regime in place and, in particular, a failure to follow a turning and positioning regime during the night. Mr C developed a pressure sore after a prolonged period without turning. His discharge from hospital was delayed by around 4 months.
He needed surgical debridement of his sore and became understandably anxious and depressed. There was a denial of liability on the part of the Health Board and it was necessary for Digby Brown to raise court proceeding.. Ultimately Mr C’s case settled shortly before the court hearing on a full liability basis.
Incompetent surgery left woman with major disfigurement
Ms Y suffered excessive labial skin which caused functional problems. The first gynaecologist to whom she was referred declined to operate because of the complexity of the procedure. He recommended surgery be carried out by a plastic surgeon. Unfortunately, there was a mix up with the referral and Ms Y saw another gynaecologist. In a 5 minute consultation he agreed to operate. Ms Y never saw the consultant again before or after her operation. Following the operation she was in agony.
She was referred to a plastic surgeon who described the surgery as among the worst he had ever seen. He described it as a female circumcision. The plastic surgeon carried out four further operations but Ms Y has been left with long term damage and discomfort.
Notwithstanding the absence of any defence to the action the Health Board declined to accept liability or to make any offer. After Digby Brown raised court proceedings on her behalf, Ms Y received £50,000.