£40,000 settlement after botched day care op leaves Hereford woman incontinent

Gynaecological negligence


A Hereford woman was left incontinent for 12 months after a surgeon at Hereford County Hospital botched a routine gynaecological operation.

28-year-old Hannah Bushell, from Belmont near Hereford, was admitted in July 2002 to Hereford County Hospital as a day surgery case, to remove an area of infected tissue following a recurring infection.

However, during the course of the operation, consultant gynaecological surgeon, Mr Mike Cohn, damaged her sphincter but failed either to halt the surgery or to call for a specialist colorectal surgeon who could have repaired the damage.

Instead Hannah was left incontinent of faeces and had to undergo further corrective surgery a year later, leaving her unable to work for a total of 18 months.

Hereford Hospital NHS Trust admitted liability for breach of duty of care and Birmingham County Court has now awarded Miss Bushell £40,000 compensation.

Hannah commented: The first operation left me incontinent and I had to move in with my Mum as I was unable to look after myself properly. I was too embarrassed to go out and was virtually housebound for six months. I really missed being able to do normal everyday things like going out with friends or popping to the supermarket. It really knocked my confidence and I felt I had lost my dignity.

Before the operation I had always been a very fit and active person and was a serving member of the RAF. I had hoped to continue my military career but unfortunately my health problems mean I have been unable to pass the physical.

Hannah, who now works as a school secretary, is engaged to be married next year. She added: After everything that has happened many people expect me to be bitter and angry but I believe there's no point in dwelling in the past. Despite everything, I still put my trust in Mr Cohn and he continues to be my gynaecologist.

Gynaecological negligence expert

Solicitor, Claire Williams, from national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, represented Miss Bushell in her legal battle against the hospital. She said: Doctors are not infallible and mistakes do happen but, having made the initial error, its clear the surgeon should have called for immediate specialist help to correct the damage he had caused.

This failure to act led to Hannah suffering many months of unnecessary distress, embarrassment and inconvenience. Whilst the second operation to repair the damage was largely successful, sadly she has not made a 100% recovery and to this day suffers side effects.