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Man Dies Following Gallbladder Surgery

The wife of a man who died after surgery to remove his gallbladder has sought legal help from clinical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell.

The man’s wife, Sarah, instructed Irwin Mitchell to represent her following her husband’s death, caused by damage to his bowel during surgery which was performed at Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry, in April 2011.

Sarah’s husband, Richard, was suffering from multi organ failure four days after he returned to hospital, following the surgery. The surgeons were initially unaware that they had caused three separate holes to his bowel, which was life threatening.

The injuries to Richard’s bowel remained undetected for two days and by the time him he was taken to theatre for emergency surgery, he was suffering from blood poisoning and multiple organ failure. His distraught wife, who was told that her husband only a 5% chance of survival, collapsed from shock at home and was herself rushed to Walsgrave hospital with a broken hip. She underwent emergency surgery immediately and by the time he was out of theatre, Richard was dead.

Lindsay Gibb, a clinical negligence specialist within the Medical Law and Patients’ Rights team at Irwin Mitchell, acts for Sarah and her family. She arranged for them to have representation at the Inquest to ensure all aspects of Richard’s care were properly explored. She now represents them in an ongoing negligence claim in which the hospital has admitted full liability for substandard care and accepts that if the surgery and subsequent care has been properly performed, Richard would not have died. An assessment of the level of compensation is ongoing.

Lindsay Gibb, who works in the Birmingham office, commented:

“This is a tragic case which raises a number of important questions. Although a bowel perforation during keyhole surgery is a known risk, independent medical experts have since told us that to make not two, but three such errors during the same operation, is highly unusual. The fact that the surgeons did not identify this during surgery, nor alert staff on the ward to the difficulties they experienced, also raises serious concerns. There appears to have been a ‘wait and see’ attitude to Richard’s post operative care and crucial opportunities to treat his punctured bowel were missed”.

Richard’s widow, Sarah, commented:

“The entire family has been devastated by what has happened. He was the centre of our family and I cannot come to terms with the way he died. I have lost a husband and my daughter and grandchildren have lost a much loved father and granddad. I am so angry about the care Richard received. He put his trust in those surgeons and they let him down very badly. I just hope the Trust will now look at what went wrong and take action to make sure another tragedy like this doesn’t happen to another family.”

A letter of apology has been sent to Sarah by the Chief Executive of the Trust after an admission of liability was secured.

If somebody close to you has died because of negligent medical care, our medical negligence solicitors could help you to claim the compensation you deserve. Visit our Fatal Medical Negligence Claims & Inquests page for more information.

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