Partner, Darren Tamplin, has successfully settled the latest in a string of clinical negligence case involving the disgraced former Canterbury surgeon, David Jackson.
Darren’s client, J, discovered that she had breast cancer in 2001. Following undergoing a mastectomy and subsequent radiotherapy she was referred to Mr Jackson as an NHS patient to discuss the reconstruction of her breast.
Mr Jackson explained that she would have a long wait for the procedure that he recommended (called transverse rectus abdominis muscle flap, known as a ‘TRAM flap’ procedure) and offered to perform the surgery privately. J was unable to afford private fees and so was placed on the NHS waiting list.
On 28 February 2003 J was admitted to hospital and Mr Jackson performed the reconstruction operation. It was an extremely invasive procedure which involved cutting J’s abdomen, twisting a section of tissue inside her abdominal cavity and up to where her breast tissue was prior to the mastectomy operation.
J’s abdomen was left painfully distended. Her newly created tummy button was displaced from the central line of her body and the reconstructed breast was both misshapen and larger than her natural left breast.
In follow-up clinics Mr Jackson initially refused to accept that he had not provided J with an acceptable reconstructed breast. Later though he suggested that the reconstructed right breast needed to be elevated somewhat for a better match to J’s natural left breast.
In May 2004, Mr Jackson operated again on J. Again the outcome was substandard. He left J this time with a smaller right breast which was of poor shape and clearly unsymmetrical with her natural left breast.
In December 2004, Mr Jackson saw J again and recommended a further revision procedure, this time using a breast implant. He told her that he hoped to perform this further surgery early in 2005 but then failed to make the necessary follow-up appointment. The next operation, the implantation of a silicone implant, finally took place in February 2006. Again this surgery was substandard, Mr Jackson over corrected the previous asymmetry, leaving J’s right breast larger than the left with an extremely noticeable hollow area of the upper right breast surface.
In early 2007, Mr Jackson suggested yet a further surgical procedure to attempt to remedy his earlier errors. Later that year, before he could operate again, he was suspended by the East Kent Hospitals Trust (and later dismissed) and the General Medical Council (GMC) which deals with the registration of all UK doctors and surgeons.
Thankfully, J then came under the care of a specialist NHS plastic surgeon. Like many of Mr Jackson’s patients, she had believed that he was a plastic surgeon himself and appropriately skilled to perform the operations that she underwent.
Following further operations, J now has the size and shape of reconstructed breast that she should have had following the original procedure by Mr Jackson and perhaps one small adjusting procedure following that.
She therefore underwent at least 4 otherwise unnecessary operations and sustained a psychological injury as a consequence of the stress which she was placed under by Mr Jackson’s grossly poor performance.
Following the issue of proceedings in the High Court in London, J’s case was settled for the sum of £62,500.
Mr Jackson remains under suspension by the GMC and is not permitted to perform surgery either for NHS patients or on a private basis. The investigation into the complaints made by a large number of his former patients continues and the GMC, at this stage, have denied his request to be voluntarily removed from the medical register, insisting that the hearing concerning the complaints of sub-standard surgery go ahead and he not be simply allowed to slip into retirement leaving large numbers of disfigured patients in his wake.