£125,000 recovered in botched cholecystectomy case

During 2003, our client, Mr G, from Canterbury, was admitted to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital at Canterbury and diagnosed with pancreatitis.  Conservative management was advised.

Late in 2008, he presented with abdominal pain and jaundice.  He was seen at the QEQM Hospital in Margate where, early in 2009, endoscopic ultrasound scanning showed gallstones.

Mr G underwent cholecystectomy (removal of the gall bladder) at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury on 09.10.09.

He was discharged home that day but re-admitted on 12.10.09 when CT scanning showed free fluid in the gall bladder bed and subhepatic space.

Notwithstanding this, and a CRP of 504, Mr G was discharged home again on 14.10.09.

He was re-admitted to the QEQM Hospital, Margate, via his GP, on 17.10.09, by which time he had developed peritonitis.  He underwent laparotomy (open surgery) when a litre of frank bile was found and lavaged.  The source of this leak was found to be damage to the common bile duct caused during the original surgery.

Mr G subsequently had to be admitted to ICU and underwent all manner of admissions and treatment before the common bile duct defect was eventually treated by PCT on 27.11.09.

Thereafter, further complications were suffered including MRSA, biliary sepsis and a massive incisional hernia at the laparotomy scar which had to be repaired on 02.11.10.

Further, during the course of his treatment, he suffered a mini stroke.

A case was taken forward on Mr G’s behalf alleging medical negligence, on the part of the East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and the QEQM Hospital, Margate, alleging that, firstly, Mr G should have undergone surgery back in 2002, secondly that it was negligent to damage the common bile duct during the cholecystectomy and thirdly, that he was prematurely discharged from hospital.

On account of this negligence, he suffered, trauma, the mini stroke, the hernia and PTSD.

The stroke left Mr G with right sided disability.

Although close to normal retirement age, he had planned to work beyond this (as a teacher) but this was not possible on account of the negligence and his injuries.

Mr G is also a skilled artist specialising in fine art which he has not been able to continue with.

Ultimately, the case was settled in the sum of £125,000 pursuant to the Pre Action Protocol for Clinical Negligence Disputes and negotiations conducted with the National Health Service Litigation Authority.

Nick Fairweather, who had conduct of the matter throughout, commented:-

“There appears to be a real problem with cholecystectomies not being performed properly in regional hospitals.  This is one of a number of cases of this kind I have dealt with.  The problems in this case were compounded by delay in recognising what had happened and treating Mr G.  He went through profound trauma and is still left with significant residual problems on account of the negligence. I wish him well for the future and hope that steps are taken to ensure that this fairly routine procedure is conducted, in the future, by competent surgeons and that follow-up after care is attentive.”