Elizabeth, a 76 year old grandmother, suffered months of pain after surgeons punctured her bile duct during a routine operation.
In November 2014, Elizabeth attended St James’ Hospital to have a routine cholecystectomy procedure; she was discharged approximately 2 days after the procedure. A short time after being discharged, Elizabeth started to feel pain in her chest and stomach, and recalled telling her daughter she didn’t feel well before starting to produce black-coloured vomit. An ambulance was called and Elizabeth was taken back to hospital.
Upon arrival at hospital, doctors identified that Elizabeth’s bile duct had been punctured during her operation in November. She later underwent urgent surgery for a new bile duct to be constructed.
Approximately a week after being in hospital, Elizabeth was discharged, however continued to experience pain, a high temperature and was often shaking. Over the next month, Elizabeth returned to hospital on several occasions, being admitted for a few days each time.
She was discharged after a short stay just before Christmas and received a 6-week course of antibiotics; however, when the course was completed in early February, Elizabeth was still experiencing discomfort and was admitted back to hospital in March.
Elizabeth continued to return to hospital on a significant number of occasions, due to suffering from abdominal pain, shivering and shaking. She would often start vomiting too. It got to the point where Elizabeth was in and out of hospital so frequently she would have an overnight bag prepared in expectation.
Upon arrival at hospital, Elizabeth would be taken for assessment to receive intravenous antibiotics for approximately three days, and was considered to be suffering from recurrent cholangitis. On several occasions, Elizabeth ended up staying in hospital for a week. In February 2016, Elizabeth was put on permanent antibiotics.
Following the surgery, Elizabeth was left with a hard lump on her stomach, which caused pain when she bent down. She asked her doctors about the lump, but they were unsure and advised her it was to do with her reconstruction operation.
Before her operation, Elizabeth lived by herself and had been very independent; however, following the operations she was left needing a lot of care and assistance from family and friends. Her daughters stepped in to help, taking it in turns to move in and help look after Elizabeth. She always received support from her neighbour who would visit her several times a day to look after her cat.
Elizabeth made adaptations to her lifestyle and her daughters would help with tasks around the house, cooking, cleaning, and food shopping etc. and she hired a gardener as the painful lump in her stomach made it too difficult for her to tend to the garden.
We acted on behalf of Elizabeth to bring a claim against the NHS Trust and successfully achieved a settlement of £73,186 together with provisional damages. The Trust admitted that Elizabeth’s operation was not performed to a reasonable standard and her recovery would have been uneventful had there not been damage to her hepatic duct and hepatic artery.
Sadly Elizabeth unexpectedly passed away shortly after receiving her settlement. Fletchers are saddened to hear of her passing, but are proud to have been able to help Elizabeth seek the justice she deserved after a traumatic experience that had blighted the latter stages of her life. We wish Elizabeth’s family all the best for the future.
Hannah Ashcroft, a Solicitor within our Medical Negligence team, represented Elizabeth and spoke about the importance of Elizabeth’s case,
Elizabeth suffered terribly as a result of the mistakes made during routine surgery in November 2014 and the injuries she suffered limited her quality and enjoyment of life. It was an honour to represent Elizabeth and secure the settlement on her behalf and I am saddened that she was unable to enjoy the compensation she obtained to improve her quality of life before she passed away. She was a very special lady.