£65,000 in Damages for Bowel Injury during Laparoscopic Appendectomy

24th February 2020 – Our client, a 29-year-old man from Sevenoaks, went to the Maidstone Hospital on 04.05.18 having suffered a sudden onset of right iliac fossa pain the previous day.

He was assessed but no diagnosis was reached and was transferred to the Tunbridge Wells Hospital for further assessment.

Upon assessment there, an assumed diagnosis of appendicitis was made, and the decision taken to operate.

 
The appendectomy surgery took place the same day, under the care of Mr Eddama. The operation note confirmed that the surgeon failed to use the ‘open Hasson technique’ to enter the abdominal cavity (which is the accepted best practice entry technique as it is associated with the lowest risk of bowel injury).
 
Post-operatively, our client was found to have a rising CRP (indicative of infection) and had a spiking temperature, and by the second day he was
feeling unwell, had abdominal pain, and developed a distended abdomen. He underwent an exploratory laparotomy, but no problems were identified.
 
By the fourth post-operative day, our client had worsening abdominal pain which was radiating to his back, and he was rushed back to theatre for a further exploratory laparotomy. At this time, a perforation to the sigmoid colon was identified. This required resection of the damaged area and a temporary stoma.
 
The temporary stoma was reversed 6 months later, with no significant impact upon ongoing bowel function. However, our client did develop a hernia at the site of the stoma, and suffered with significant abdominal scarring, bulging, and asymmetry, which will require further surgery in the future.
 
Upon our investigation of the claim, in addition to the failure to use the correct entry technique (which, if used, would have avoided the bowel injury), our expert evidence also identified that the surgeon had in any event applied too much force when inserting the trocar / failed to apply sufficient braking pressure when inserting the trocar, such that the trocar was not sufficiently controlled upon entry to the abdominal cavity and was allowed to injure the bowel.
 
The Defendant Trust sought to deny the claim. However, following submission of an offer to settle the claim for £70,000, the Defendant agreed to enter into settlement negotiations and these resulted in the claim concluding shortly afterwards for £65,000.
 
In response to the settlement, our client said “that’s brilliant news to receive. Thank you so much to you and your team for all of your hard work”. Alex Tengroth, Senior Solicitor at Fairweathers LLP, commented “This was an unusual case in which one of the Trust’s surgeons had his own preferred surgical technique (which the other Trust surgeons did not use), and which was not recommended by NICE or by the Royal College of Surgeons. It should be the case that all surgeons are aware of the safest surgical techniques to use, and are capable of using them, such that there is a uniformity of technique, rather than subjecting patients to ‘Russian roulette’ depending on which surgeon is allocated to perform their surgery.
 
If you or a member of your family believes you have a claim then please do not hesitate to phone us free on 0800 999 5585, request a call back or submit your case details.