Avoidable Errors By Surgeon Led To Man Needing 6 Inches Of Bowel Removed

Lawyers Call For Training Review After Wrong Surgery Advice Leaves Man Unable To Care For His Blind Wife


Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell are calling for a review into the training given to surgeons after severe complications from the wrong choice of hernia surgery led to a man needing six inches of his bowel removed.

James Keiller, aged 64, from Westhoughton, was advised to undertake keyhole surgery on a suspected hernia at Greater Manchester Surgical Centre in May 2007. He was discharged after an unscheduled overnight stay despite being in considerable pain and not being reviewed by a Doctor.

His GP called him an ambulance only a couple of hours after arriving back home and hospital staff at Royal Bolton Hospital informed Mr Keiller that he had an infection and a bowel obstruction, and further that he could die within hours if emergency surgery was not performed.

Mr Keiller’s mobility is now severely impaired and he finds everyday tasks such as DIY and gardening hard to carry out. He is also unable to properly care for his wife, who has multiple sclerosis and has lost her sight and wholly relied upon his help prior to the surgery. His waist is also four to five inches bigger than it used to be as a result of swelling caused by the infection and removal of the ‘omentum’.

Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell representing Mr Keiller are now calling for Greater Manchester Surgical Centre to ensure it tightens up staff training procedures to make sure the correct surgery is carried out in future to prevent others suffering similar complications.

Maria Repanos, a medical law specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Mr Keiller’s injuries would have been avoided had the correct surgery been advised in the first place. Mr Keiller was not clearly advised of the risks surrounding the procedure he underwent. The original procedure left him in significant pain, but despite this he was then discharged.

“Unfortunately now he has been left suffering through no fault of his own. It is imperative that the NHS learns lessons from his case by improving the training procedures to ensure that others don’t experience the same problems faced by Mr Keiller.

“Irwin Mitchell has assisted Mr Keiller in his battle for the support he needs - not only to continue an independent life of his own, but also to look after his wife in the future. He also wants reassurance that others will not have to go through the  kind of ordeal that he has”.

Mr Keiller said: “I went into the first operation expecting to be fine as I was told this was a less intrusive surgery. I was then sent home even though I was adamant that something wasn’t right and luckily my GP called an ambulance and staff in Bolton spotted the infection.

“When I was told I only had a few hours to undergo emergency surgery I was more than a little concerned. All I could think of was my wife and what might happen to her. She is to some extent independent but does rely on my support to help care for her.”

Mr Keiller’s wife had suffered a similar hernia problem a few years previously and had made an excellent recovery after undergoing open repair surgery. However, Mr Keiller was strongly advised to undergo less invasive keyhole surgery. He was told this would reduce the chance of infection after the injury.

Following major complications with the original surgery six inches of Mr Keiller’s bowel had to be removed due to the level of infection, and after the second operation he was informed by his consultant that the initial hernia surgery was an inappropriate procedure for his condition. The correct surgery should have been an open repair, which, according to the consultant, carries significantly less risk than its less invasive alternative.

Irwin Mitchell negotiated an out of court settlement with Greater Manchester Surgical Centre to cover both his ongoing costs associated with medical treatment, to compensate him for his pain and suffering and to assist with the help his wife now requires, as he is unable to perform everyday household jobs and errands.