16th February 2022 – Our client, a 56-year-old man from Kent, has been left with a permanent stoma as a result of post-operative complications following an operation to remove his rectal cancer which took place at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford on 21.08.2017.Following the necessary surgery, our client suffered a leak from the anastomosis surgical connection of the bowel post operatively. This occurred non – negligently but required further surgery to remove additional bowel and the adoption of a stoma.
The criticism raised in the case was that our client’s rectal cancer was situated too low down and close to the anal margin to safely perform an anastomosis. Doing so unreasonably increased the risk of an anastomotic leak occurring with all the attendant consequences. Instead, our client should have been given a temporary ileostomy during the surgery to remove the tumour.
Further, our client should have been given the option of a temporary ileostomy during the consenting process which he would have requested if he had known that it was an option.
Had a temporary ileostomy been provided, the consequences of a post- operative anastomotic leak would have been much reduced (because there would not have been any faeces passing through the anastomosis). The resulting peritoneal collection would have been much smaller and could have been drained without the need for further bowel resection surgery. The temporary ileostomy could then have been reversed after a few months, and our client would have avoided the permanent stoma.
The Defendant Trust denied our allegations. They argued that our client was at low risk of post-operative complications, that it was not negligent to proceed with an anastomosis in his specific case and that the decision to perform a temporary ileostomy was one for the surgeon during the course of the operation (not a treatment a patient can request pre-operatively).
We made an offer to settle in the sum of £150,000 before Court proceedings were issued, but this was rejected and the Defendant made no offers at that stage, instead inviting our client to withdraw his claim.
Once we had issued Court proceedings the Defendant made an offer of £50,000, which was rejected. They subsequently made an offer of £100,000, and following negotiation the claim settled for £115,000.
Alex Tengroth, senior solicitor at Fairweathers LLP, who had conduct of this case said “I am very pleased that this case has settled, and has provided my client with the financial stability he needed to be able to look to the future.”
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