Wakefield Man’s Life Destroyed By ‘Unnecessary’ Colostomy Surgery Speaks About His Ordeal

Expert Lawyers Secure Settlement For Construction Worker Denied Non-Invasive Treatment


A 56-year-old man who endured unnecessary surgery which resulted in two colostomies and part of his stomach being removed has today spoken of the ordeal which ‘ruined his life’ after winning a legal battle for justice that will enable him access to the funds he needs to start rebuilding his life.

When Vincent Laurie, from Wakefield, started to suffer a number of embarrassing, painful symptoms following haemorrhoid surgery his GP referred him for specialist treatment from a consultant surgeon at Pinderfields General Hospital, run by the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. On 5 July 2007 he underwent surgery to fit a colostomy.

On 10 February 2008, Mr Laurie had the colostomy reversed but following the procedure he developed peritonitis and on 17 February 2010 he had to endure a second colostomy, which again had to be reversed eight months later. But as a result of the extensive scarring caused by the operations he had to have most of his stomach removed on 10 July 2010.

Medical negligence and patients’ rights experts from Irwin Mitchell, who represent the former construction worker, say an investigation carried out after the operations revealed that he had not been given adequate information about his treatment options and that surgery was not necessary.

They have now secured Mr Laurie a £290,000 care package after the trust accepted that the surgeon did not discuss alternative treatment options with him, including those not involving surgery, and that the consultant made decisions about his care without his informed consent.

The colostomy operations had such an impact on Mr Laurie’s life he was unable to continue working for a Stockport construction company and his relationship with his wife broke down because she couldn’t come to terms with his debilitating condition. They have since divorced.

The out-of-court settlement agreed with the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust will allow him to begin rebuilding his life and continue to access the vital support from a psychologist treating him for depression.

James Thompson, an expert medical lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office representing him, said: “The past few years have been a terrible ordeal for Mr Laurie who has lived with excruciating pain, embarrassment and discomfort every day caused by the unnecessary surgery which made his condition worse.

“The trust admitted they failed to obtain Mr Laurie’s informed consent but disputed that he could have been treated conservatively and that further investigations were required to determine the cause of his problems before surgery was carried out.

“Subsequent investigations later showed Mr Laurie’s condition did not warrant a colostomy and on the balance of probabilities, he would have recovered enough from non-invasive treatment to return to work within two or three months.

“Instead, as a result of his surgical and psychiatric injuries he was left housebound, unable to work and his relationships and social life suffered. The settlement will now allow him to start to move on with his life and ensures he can continue to see a psychologist who can help him turn his life around.

“It is important now that the trust shows it has learnt lessons from this case by ensuring they explain fully to patients what their treatment options are and their associated risks so that the decision is made together. 

“If there is not enough information to make that decision then the patient needs to be told about the investigations which can be done to provide that information and how long this will take so that they can decide whether they can wait or want to take the risk of proceeding without it.”

Mr Laurie, who now works as part-time as a cleaner, said: “When my experts told me what should have happened I felt really angry that further tests were not carried out and that I wasn’t offered any alternative to surgery because all of this pain and suffering could have been prevented – it’s ruined my life.

“The consultant surgeon made up her own mind that I needed colostomy surgery and I trusted her. I only agreed because I thought there was no other way to get back on my feet and to feel better.  If she had explained my options to me and their risks I would never have gone ahead with surgery and I would have explored my other options. 

“The colostomy bag had a major impact on my social and family life because I couldn’t enjoy an alcoholic drink and ended up avoiding social events. I used to go out to band nights at the pub and to bingo all the time but stopped going because I was embarrassed by the noises and smells the colostomy bag made.

“I’ve felt incredibly low over the past few years and it has been very hard to come to terms with my condition – I’ve lost my confidence, my wife, my home, job and self respect. What the trust have put me through has taken me to the brink. 

“If it wasn’t for my friends and my sister I don’t know what I would have done, she put a roof over my head and cared for me when I couldn’t work and my friends bent over backwards to find me a job when I had no other skills to find a job.

“It’s a relief the settlement has now been agreed as I can look to moving into my own home and to get some independence and confidence back. I know I’ll need some further support from therapists but this is the first step at getting back on track.

“I went to three firms before I was recommended to Irwin Mitchell and since that first day they have looked after me and helped me get the justice I deserve. I’m so grateful to my legal team, my psychologist at the trust and my GP who have all helped me on my road to recovery. ”

If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of surgical negligence, we may be able to help you claim compensation. See our Medical Negligence Guide for more information.