31st March 2021 – Our client Mrs P from Ashford, Kent underwent a laparoscopic bilateral ureterolysis and excision of endometriosis at the Spencer Wing at William Harvey Hospital on 23.01.2019.The procedure was performed under general anaesthetic. Unfortunately there was a failure by the anaesthetist to continuously monitor her anaesthetic gases and as a result Mrs P suffered a period of anaesthetic awareness. She could hear the voices of the medical team and feel the operation being performed but was unable to alert anyone to the fact that she was conscious. She couldn’t open her eyes or move and was in that position for 15 – 20 minutes before the operating surgeon noted that her stomach muscles were contracting and asked the anaesthetist to administer further anaesthesia.
Once Mrs P awoke in recovery she alerted nurses to the fact that she had woken up during the procedure and was able to give details of the procedure that she would not otherwise have known. Although the issue was raised with hospital staff, including the anaesthetist, during her admission, no investigation was initiated until Mrs P’s partner made further enquiries after her discharge. An investigation was finally undertaken which determined that there was 5 – 25 minute failure to monitor Mrs P’s anaesthetic gases leading to her experiencing the period of intra operative awareness.
Mrs P suffered with nightmares and loss of sleep and was referred for counselling to help her process the event and it’s affect upon her.
A Consultant Psychiatry expert was instructed and provided a diagnosis for Mrs P’s symptoms following which, given the straightforward nature of the case, an early Letter of Claim was submitted to the anaesthetist Defendant in a bid to avoid costly litigation. An offer of settlement was submitted shortly after following which settlement negotiations ensued and a settlement of £21,000 was agreed.
Francesca Beach, Solicitor with conduct of this case commented as follows: “This was an ordeal my client never expected to encounter and the psychological issues it caused had a huge impact upon her. It is pleasing that the Defendant was sensible and entered into early settlement negotiations allowing my client to put this period of her life behind her and move on as best she can. I thoroughly enjoyed working with her and wish her all the very best for the future”.
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