The Surgeon with the God complex

In a high profile news story this week, a surgeon who allegedly carried out completely unnecessary operations has been convicted of intentionally wounding patients. Ian Paterson, 59, from Altrincham in Greater Manchester has been granted bail and is due to be sentenced late this month. During the 7-week hearing some of the surgeon’s victims gave statements about how Paterson misled them into thinking that they had serious medical issues and carried out operations for conditions that in many cases the patients were not even suffering from. One female victim who underwent surgery by Paterson six times in seven years said that he “…tried every trick in the book to avoid accountability for his disgusting crimes. Mr Paterson charmed and manipulated his patients into trusting him. I for one trusted him with my life.” The victim had been told by Paterson that she had breast cancer and went through extensive surgery to remove the cancer, then a full mastectomy to remove the breast. It was later found that she had not been suffering from breast cancer at all and that he had made up the results so as to continue performing dangerous and unnecessary surgery. As well as working privately at the Little Aston and Parkway Hospitals in the West Midlands, Paterson carried out hundreds of unnecessary operations on NHS patients, costing one NHS Trust around £17.8 million in damages and legal costs. Sometimes even good doctors make mistakes, sometimes crucial pieces of machinery can fail, and sometimes a simple error of judgement on the part of someone treating you can cause significant pain and damage. Fortunately it is very...

7 Year fight for medical negligence compensation finally over for widower

The widower of a woman who died from a blood clot just 16 days after the birth of her daughter has won a medical negligence case and undisclosed compensation from the Leicester Hospital where she died. Darren Taylor of Braunstone, near Leicester had to fight for seven years before the hospital admitted that mistakes had been made in his wife’s treatment. She died from a pulmonary embolism that was caused by a deep vein thrombosis (also known as DVT) in one of her legs that was due to pregnancy. When Mrs Taylor was found collapsed in the bathroom of their family home in March 2010, she was rushed to Leicester Royal Infirmary, but the doctor who saw her did not follow the hospital’s guideline on investigating suspected DVT on the basis that at that time, ultra-sound scans were not carried out at weekends. It is believed that if a scan had taken place, the DVT would have been noticed and appropriate action could have been taken to avoid the development of the pulmonary embolism, and hence save her life. In addition to the pain caused by the death of his wife, the situation was made even more insufferable by the NHS Trust’s insistence of its innocence of any negligence regarding the death. Speaking after the case, Mr Taylor said: “I am relieved that this is all over. It has been a long, hard seven years, but I am happy we have got the NHS to own up and the Trust says that lessons have been learnt.” If you or someone you care for has suffered as a result of...

77-Year-old woman dies after choking on doughnut in hospital

A 77-year-old lady from Leicester died after choking on a doughnut that she was given while staying in hospital. The lady had been admitted to the Evington Centre’s Mental Health ward at Leicester General Hospital, run by the Leicestershire Partnership Trust, in June last year. She had undergone a behaviour assessment – which included looking into her eating habits – and was placed on a “soft food” diet to avoid any potentially dangerous incidents. However, contrary to this she was given foods such as toast and pizza by staff who were supposedly caring for her. When she began to eat a doughnut on the 25th July while left on her own, she began to choke. By the time the emergency team arrived the lady had suffered a massive heart attack from which she suffered significant brain damage, and she died less than one week later. A spokesman for the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust said: “We are sorry this tragic incident occurred while the lady was in our care and accept there is more we could have done to prevent this incident from occurring”. He added: “We carried out our own investigation into the incident, which we have shared with the deceased’s family and the coroner. We developed a detailed action plan following our investigation, which includes a number of different steps to reduce the likelihood of a similar incident in the future.” If you or someone you care for has suffered while under the care of a hospital or any medical facility, you could well be entitled to make a claim for compensation. While we all understand that it...

How to complain if you are unhappy about surgery or procedure

Everyone has the right to decent healthcare; the National Health Service’s own constitution provides assurance that anyone who is not content with the standard of care that they have received has the right to complain, the right to have that complaint investigated properly, the right to have the complaint acknowledged within three working days, and the right to hear the outcome of any complaint. Who do you complain to? In most cases the easiest way to start the complaint procedure is at an informal level with a discussion with doctor, or their surgery or Hospital. All GP surgeries and hospitals have a complaints procedure that will be made available to you. However if you feel that the care you received whilst under the responsibility of a surgeon, or any other medical professional with whom you do not have an ongoing relationship, your best course of action is to complain directly to the GMC; the General Medical Council. What can you complain about? Here are some examples of the types of cases where the GMC may need to act: Failure to examine a patient properly or to respond reasonably to a patient’s needs Serious or repeated mistakes in carrying out medical procedures or in diagnosis, such as prescribing drugs in a dangerous way Serious concerns about knowledge of the English language Serious breaches of a patient’s confidentiality Fraud or dishonesty Any serious criminal offence If you think a doctor has committed a criminal offence, you should contact the police as well as the GMC. If you are not happy with the way the procedure was carried out, or if you...

£2.25 Million settlement for newborn brain damage

When Baby Thomas was born 10 weeks early, there was naturally concern about his well being, but in accordance with responsible practice he was put into an incubator and transferred to the specialist baby care unit of Greenwich Hospital. Tragically, he later developed severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, sustained as a result of periventricular leukomalacia – also referred to as PVL – which is essentially the death of vital brain tissue. When the situation was investigated it was found that in accordance with procedure, Thomas’s blood gases were analysed around midnight on the day of his birth. The results showed that Thomas was at risk of developing hypocarbia, however instead of accepting those results, the registrar decided that there was a mechanical failure within the ventilator, and so did not change the settings on the machine. The result of this was that Thomas was exposed to excessive amounts of oxygen and not enough carbon dioxide for a period of around 9 hours. Thomas was left with severe brain damage and is unlikely to be able to lead a normal life. While the hospital initially dismissed claims that it was guilty of failings, they ultimately settled four days before the case was due to go to court. They paid £2.25 million in addition to an indemnity against any private education costs limited to £120,000. If you or someone you care for has been injured while in the care of a hospital, care home or any other medical facility, you could well be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Our solicitors have many years of experience in handling all types...

£75,000 Payout for delayed diagnosis

When a 35 year-old woman attended the Accident and Emergency department at Kings College Hospital suffering from acute abdominal pain, she was unconvinced when she was sent home with a diagnosis of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). The severe pain continued and she sought the attention of her GP, who she visited on the following day. The GP immediately suspected that she was suffering from appendicitis and sent her straight back to the A&E department. While she was admitted straight away, it was to be around 30 hours later before she was attended to. During this time her appendix had perforated leading to sepsis and the development of gangrene. Due to the delay in treating her, the woman’s bowel was damaged and had to be rebuilt alongside the use of an ileostomy (connecting the small intestine to an external pouch for secreted waste). She then had to undergo further surgery to remove the device. This left her with severe abdominal scarring. In addition to this, a psychiatric report confirmed that the events had caused the victim to suffer from an adjustment disorder from which, fortunately, she made a good recovery. The victim pursued the NHSLA on the basis of delayed diagnosis and after putting up an initial argument, they soon made a Part 36 offer of £75,000 without admitting to any liability. (Part 36 is a provision set in the Civil Procedure Rules designed to encourage parties to settle disputes without going to trial). What if you have suffered from medical negligence? If you or someone you care for has suffered due to any kind of medical negligence, we’re here...