Clinical Negligence Director Vicki Seabrook looks back at a High Court trial involving the negligent performance of a hysterectomy procedure.
Scrivenger Seabrook Solicitors represented the Claimant in a clinical negligence case in a trial that was heard in the High Court in London earlier this year. The Claimant was a woman in her mid-40’s who had suffered from heavy period for a number of years and this problem had been resolved by the fitting of a Mirena coil which had proved highly successful.
Unfortunately, she developed a vaginal discharge and when she was seen in hospital the Consultant suggested that she undergo a hysterectomy to cure the discharge. The Consultant never suggested any other alternative forms of treatment or that the hysterectomy might fail to resolve the problem of the discharge.
After a discussion between the Consultant and the Claimant and her husband, which the Consultant said lasted an hour, but of which he failed to make any contemporaneous note, the Claimant agreed to proceed to a hysterectomy.
Regrettably, during the course of the hysterectomy the Claimant suffered what was agreed to be a non-negligent nerve injury which caused her to suffer significant leg and back pain. At the time of the operation she was employed as a receptionist in a doctors’ surgery which required her to be very mobile and she had to give up the job which she loved.
The Defendants denied breach of duty and, therefore, we went to trial in the High Court. Damages were agreed prior to the hearing in the sum of £180,000.00.
The Defendants made some very unattractive offers outside Court which after discussion the Claimant decided not to accept and we fought case at trial.
From the first few minutes of the trial it was clear that the Judge had read the papers and fully understood the issues involved and put the Defendants under pressure from the beginning of the case to justify the inconsistencies in their position. The Defendants failed to pick up the signals the Judge was clearly giving them. The Claimant gave excellent evidence and at the end of the first day the Judge suggested to the Defendants that they might wish to consider their position overnight. Despite this, the Defendants fought on for the whole of the second day and the Judge reserved Judgment finding in the Claimant’s favour with a detailed written Judgment.