Lora, 36 at the time, attended Basildon Hospital in April 2017 following complaints of significant pain. An ultrasound scan revealed an ovarian cyst and she was booked in to undergo surgery a few weeks later, having been advised the cause of her pain was the ovarian cyst, which would only abate with surgery.
But a further ultrasound scan performed on 27 April, just a week before surgery confirmed that the cyst had spontaneously resolved, meaning the indication for surgery was no longer there. Following surgery, Lora was not told that the cyst had not been located, and she believed she had undergone successful surgery.
A further ultrasound performed on 2 June again revealed a large ovarian cyst. She was advised that this must have been the same cyst as seen in April and that the surgeon must have missed it when operating and she therefore required urgent surgery to remove it. In fact, this was a new cyst and the Claimant should have been told that since the previous cyst had collapsed by itself, this second cyst was likely to do the same.
Based on the information she was given, namely that the original cyst was still present and causing her pain, Lora agreed to a second operation in June 2017.
During this surgery, Lora suffered catastrophic, albeit non-negligent complications, causing her to suffer a functional neurological disorder. She required emergency surgery and remained in hospital for a further month before being discharged to the local intensive rehabilitation service.
Lora was unable to return home until September 2017 and at that time was completely wheelchair reliant as she had lost all useful function in her right leg. Lora required carers to come and assist her with most activities of daily living, and it was only with their care and the love and support of her partner that she was able to get through a day at a time.
Over the following six years, Lora started to make slow but steady progress but still suffers both physically and emotionally every day. Settlement of her claim was vital to provide her with funds to access private treatment and support which were not available while aspects of her claim were denied.
Lora instructed Mark and Rebecca in November 2017. At that time it was thought that the case would centre on alleged negligence of the surgeon who performed the first procedure for failing to remove a cyst which meant that a second procedure was required, and which led to Lora suffering catastrophic injury.
It was only once experts were instructed in radiology and gynaecology that it became clear that the surgeon had not missed the cyst but that it had spontaneously ruptured prior to surgery and that Lora was never told.
Following service of proceedings in 2021, the Defendant admitted that the way that Lora had been consented for both surgeries was negligent in that she should have been told that the first cyst had disappeared and that the second cyst might therefore do so. The Defendant admitted therefore that the major indication for surgery would no longer have been there but still argued that despite this, Lora might have undergone surgery and therefore suffered the same complications and injuries.
While we always considered such arguments weak and likely to fail, another issue arose, especially following the Supreme Court judgment in Khan v Meadows in which the court held that a doctor was only liable for losses falling within the scope of their duty of care to advise a Claimant of.
In other words, the Defendant argued that as there was no need to warn Lora of the risk of functional neurological disorder prior to undergoing surgery since the risk was so remote, they were not liable for the damage she sustained in suffering such a condition.
With a trial listed for October 2023, the parties attended a settlement meeting in which Lora accepted £850,000 compensation. This will enable her to attend a private inpatient rehabilitation service, purchase suitable aids and equipment and ensure her needs are catered for over the rest of her life.
At the end of the claim Lora commented "From day one, even after settlement I have felt like Mark and the team have shown me nothing but respect, compassion and professionalism. Their support, guidance and reassurance throughout the last 6 years has been consistent and reassuring. I've always been made to feel like a client and not just a case. Thank you for everything, you have no in small way changed my life"
For further information about surgery negligence claims or medical negligence claims, please call Mark Bowman on 0330 460 6794 or email email@example.com or call Rebecca Drew on 0330 460 6806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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