Mary was admitted to hospital for an operation to remove one of her ovaries. After the keyhole surgery she was in severe pain and asked nurses for pain relief. However the nursing staff advised that it was trapped wind and she would need to eat and drink. She was given a drink containing bicarbonate soda but it just made her sick.
Due to an increase of pain the next day she asked again for pain relief. The surgeon paid her a visit that evening but didn’t carry out a formal examination. The surgeon left and brought in a colleague to have a look. He attempted to examine Mary’s stomach but she was in severe pain and could not continue. He was of the opinion that her bowel may have been torn and she would need to go back into surgery. A large incision was made and a tear was located and rectified. She had to spend an additional three weeks in hospital and required further surgery for scarring.
Mary transferred her file to Paschal O’Hare Personal Injury Solicitors
Mary instructed another law firm to pursue medical negligence compensation. However she became dissatisfied with the progress of the case and transferred her file to us. Due to her level of income, Mary was not entitled to legal aid. We therefore obtained after the event legal expenses insurance to cover her costs.
We had Mary examined by a consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician. A medical report was provided that was of the view that her injury was both serious and avoidable. As a result of the report we served High Court proceedings on the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. The Trust denied liability and engaged its own legal expert to provide an opinion. After an investigation, it was the Trust’s view that bowel injuries are recognised complications of the type of surgery Mary had. They stated she acknowledged the risk in a pre-operative consent form. They further stated that the surgeon took all reasonable precautions to identify any bowel damage before concluding the surgery.
The case was subsequently listed for trial. As part of this process, a joint meeting of both side’s experts took place after which they prepared an agreed joint statement. This statement highlighted the areas in which the doctors were in agreement and those areas in which they disagreed. There remained a difference of opinion on whether the injury should have been detected during the surgery. Our expert was firm in his position because the tear was so large.
We settled Mary’s case
Prior to the trial, we entered a joint consultation with the Trust to explore the possibility of settlement. These negotiations were successful and we settled Mary’s case for £30,000 without admission of liability on the part of the Trust.