£1.8 million compensation for Hampshire mother

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£1.8 million compensation for Hampshire mother of two who suffered severe brain injury due to medical negligence

  • Mother suffered hypoxic brain injury when she went into cardiac arrest during routine surgery
  • Surgeon failed in standard procedure to inflate abdomen with carbon dioxide to perform operation, piercing major blood vessel and causing an embolism leading to cardiovascular collapse
  • During attempts to control bleeding, mother ‘died’ on the operating table requiring emergency resuscitation (‘CPR’)
  • Woman left with life-changing brain injury and will need care and support for the rest of her life

A mother who suffered a severe brain injury when her obstetrician made critical errors during routine keyhole surgery, has spoken of her immense relief after specialist personal injury law firm Novum Law secured her £1.8 million compensation.

The woman from Hampshire was admitted to Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey on 7 April 2011 for routine surgery.

The surgery involved a laparoscopy (keyhole surgery) and the procedure involved a needle being inserted into her abdominal cavity to inflate the area with carbon dioxide to elevate the abdominal wall and improve the surgeon’s operating vision.

At the start of the procedure, the Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, incorrectly positioned the needle on two occasions. On his second attempt, he struck a major blood vessel causing internal bleeding and a carbon dioxide embolism to form within her vascular system leading to a series of cardiac arrests. This starved the woman’s brain of vital oxygen causing a ‘global cerebral ischemia’ – a condition in which various parts of the brain can be severely affected.

The patient, who at the time of the operation had a young child aged just two, woke up from the operation with weakness all down the left hand side of her body, visual difficulties, hearing loss, problems with her speech and cognitive impairments including: difficulties with her memory, problem-solving and information processing coupled with crippling chronic fatigue.

Before the surgery, it had been her burning ambition to become a driving instructor and run her own driving school business, but due to her severe brain injury, it quickly became apparent that she would never achieve her career goal or work again.

Facing lifelong disability as a result of her surgeon’s mistakes, the woman and her husband, approached Novum Law, expert personal injury lawyers who specialise in medical negligence claims and personal injury cases and have many years of experience helping people who’ve sustained severe brain injuries.

Neil Elliott, a Director at Novum Law, and his team immediately got to work investigating the claim. Having carefully obtained detailed expert advice, in 2013 Neil succeeded in securing a full admission of liability from the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) for her injuries.

Neil and his team also helped the woman and her husband access interim compensation payments before the case settled in order to help with her ongoing care and support needs on a day-to-day basis. This meant she had access to a brain injury case manager, a neuro-physiotherapist, an occupational therapist and specialist support workers to directly assist her and take care of her child, vastly improving the family’s quality of life and aiding the woman’s rehabilitation.

Neil Elliott said: “This family’s lives were turned upside down when what should have been a straightforward surgical procedure almost ended her life and resulted in a severe brain injury. Five years’ on, she continues to suffer from physical and cognitive difficulties which affect all aspects of her life. It has been a very difficult and trying time for her and her family as they’ve struggled to cope. However, the birth of her second child, in 2014, has brought them great happiness and a determination to make the most of her life – despite the many challenges which she has faced since the operation.

“We are delighted that we were able to secure this substantial settlement. The family now has the financial security and reassurance that the costs of their day-to-day needs and all future treatment and support will be met. We hope that lessons are learnt by the hospital and their staff so that patient safety in this situation can be improved and each and every patient receives the best quality of care at all times.”

The woman added: “I can’t thank Neil and his team at Novum Law enough for their legal advice and support. They have been fantastic throughout.  As a result of the settlement, I now receive regular physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and regular assistance from a support worker. While our lives will never be the same again, this additional help has had a hugely positive impact on my life and my family’s lives and we can now draw a line under what’s happened to us and move on as best we can.”

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