Six figure settlement after surgical blunder leaves Redditch woman with liver damage

Clinical negligence compensation


A Redditch woman has been awarded a substantial six-figure clinical negligence compensation settlement after a botched operation to remove her gall bladder left her with serious liver damage.

57-year-old Carole George, from Church Hill, was admitted to Droitwich Spa Hospital on 31st May 2001 to undergo the removal of her gall bladder after being diagnosed with gallstones. However, during the routine operation, her surgeon, Mr Tudor, wrongly cut through the main bile duct.

The mistake went unrectified for almost a month and during this time the leaking bile led to peritonitis, jaundice and serious complications, which to date has required a further 8 corrective operations. In addition, Mrs Georges liver has been so badly damaged that she faces the prospect of a possible liver transplant in the future.

Surgery complications

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust accepted liability for the medical failures, as Mrs George was an NHS patient who had been sent to the privately run Droitwich Spa Hospital for surgery by the Alexandra Hospital, under the NHS Waiting List initiative.

Mrs George was awarded a substantial six-figure sum by the High Court in Birmingham on a provisional basis, entitling her to claim further compensation if a liver transplant should become necessary within the next ten years.

Mrs George explained: After the operation I was in excruciating pain and kept being sick. The hospital staff told it me it was to be expected after the operation Id had and said I was well enough to go home. I was in so much pain I could hardly walk. The journey home was awful and every time the car went over a bump I was screaming out in agony.

In the two weeks following surgery, Mrs George was seen on a number of occasions by her District Nurse and spoke to her GP by phone. Both reassured her that the pain and vomiting she was experiencing were normal post-operative side effects.

On 13th June Mrs George was unable to bear the pain any longer and went to the Alexandra Hospitals Casualty department where a doctor finally diagnosed a biliary leak. Even then, it took a further two weeks for the hospital to refer her for corrective surgery at Coventry's Walsgrave Hospital.

Clinical negligence expert

Claire Williams, a solicitor with Birmingham based law firm, Irwin Mitchell, who represented Mrs George in her legal battle, said: Carole was badly let down by both her surgeon, who failed to realise that he had cut through the wrong duct, and medical staff at Alexandra Hospital who, even after identifying the error, failed to act promptly.

The question still remains why Carole was sent more than 40 miles to Coventry's Walsgrave Hospital for emergency corrective surgery when the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, which has a specialist regional liver unit, is far nearer. Independent medical experts have confirmed that if Carols condition had been reviewed and re-operated on sooner by the QEs specialists, she would not only have avoided further surgery but also the possible future liver transplant which now hangs over her.

Mrs George added: My husband Roger and I are both huge cricket fans and had planned to spend our retirement following the English team around the world. Now, I hardly have the strength to go out of the house and have very little social life. Even gardening, which I used to love, is too much for me.

I am extremely annoyed that a routine operation that should have meant a return to normal health in just a few months has ruined my life.