Six figure sum for septic shock after abdominal surgery

Posted by Patricia Wakeford on

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Mr R had a history of ulcerative colitis. He had various surgeries over the years relating to this condition. Despite this, he had a full-time job and led a full and active life. In late 2012 he was referred to the Southampton Treatment Centre due to the onset of abdominal pain.

He was diagnosed with gallstones and had surgery a few months later. Mr R was due to go home the same day as he had his surgery. However, he began to develop symptoms which were concerning enough for the doctor to suggest he stayed in overnight. Mr R developed abdominal pain and his pulse was noted to be raised. Over the course of the next 18 hours his condition deteriorated until he was transferred to Southampton General Hospital the day after his surgery. By that point he was in profound septic shock.

Mr R required emergency surgery which involved the removal of three feet of his bowel. He deteriorated further a few days after his surgery and had to be transferred back to intensive care. A deep vein thrombosis then developed, as well as organ failure, necrotic feet and a left foot drop. The claimant required further surgeries which resulted in him needing a permanent ileostomy. He also needed subsequent surgery to remove two of his toes due to the aftermath of the septic shock and deep vein thrombosis.

It was Mr R's case that he would have avoided liver failure, necrotic toes, deep vein thrombosis, hospital acquired infection and the lengthy stay in hospital which resulted in a tracheostomy, if he had been diagnosed earlier and transferred to the Southampton General Hospital much sooner than he was. It was felt that there was a failure by a senior clinician to review Mr R despite symptoms which were suggestive of the development of post-operative sepsis.

The Southampton Treatment Centre admitted that Mr R would have avoided those complications detailed above as well as a laparotomy in January 2013. However, it was their case that Mr R would have developed the septic shock in any event and some of the problems that he developed would have occurred even if earlier treatment had been provided.

Mr R instructed Patricia Wakeford from BL Claims Solicitors to manage a clinical negligence claim. Mr R appreciated the injuries he had sustained as a result of the alleged negligence were going to have a lifelong effect on him. His inability to work full-time hours meant that he would have great difficulty doing the things that he had previously enjoyed. The aim of the claim was to obtain compensation to put him back in the position he would have been in if the negligence had not taken place.

Mr R's case was booked for a trial in London in April 2017. However, negotiations took place and the case settled shortly before trial for a six figure sum. Mr R is very pleased with the outcome as he is only able to work half-time hours as a result of the admitted negligence. This will now enable him to have a better quality of life going forward and will provide him with the additional assistance he needs especially as he gets older.

Please contact Patricia Wakeford on 02380 857310 if you would like further information.

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About the Author

Patricia is a Senior Associate, in our Clinical Negligence team, and is also a qualified midwife with many years of experience working in the NHS.

Patricia Wakeford
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023 8085 7310

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