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Woman Suffers Injury To Bile Duct During Gallbladder Operation Ten Years Ago

Our client, called Louise, approached Irwin Mitchell about a medical negligence claim after suffering damage to her bile duct during a gallbladder operation which remained undiagnosed for 10 years.

At the time of the operation, Louise had been diagnosed with gallstones and referred to a surgeon who performed an operation to remove her gall bladder. She was then discharged home two days later. Following her operation, she suffered abdominal pain and was re-admitted to hospital. An ultrasound scan was performed which showed dilated bile ducts, suggestive of a blocked bile duct but this was not reported.

Six further ultrasound scans were performed in the following months which again showed dilated bile ducts but these findings were not reported correctly. Louise was admitted to hospital on several occasions and had recurrent symptoms of nausea and abdominal pain.

Louise then underwent surgery which confirmed she was suffering a bile leak but this was not appropriately treated.

Louise was very unwell during her 13 weeks in and out of hospital. She was very lethargic and lost a significant amount of weight. She was discharged from hospital just five days before her wedding and was so unwell she was unable to go on her honeymoon.

She continued to be in pain and an investigative procedure was performed one year later. This showed that one of the bile ducts was damaged but this was not identified at the time. Louise then suffered bleeding of the bile duct and required a blood transfusion and a 20 day stay in hospital.

Louise continued to be very unwell for the next eight years and suffered ongoing abdominal pains. She underwent a further ultrasound scan, investigative procedure and liver surgery but no further action was taken.

Ten years after her gall bladder operation, Louise was readmitted to Hospital with continued abdominal pain. A scan was performed which concluded that the bile duct had been damaged during the operation ten years earlier. She then had to undergo reconstructive surgery but had suffered long-term damage to her internal organs and liver which meant that Louise was at risk liver failure in the future. She was unable to return to work and required help from her family on a daily basis.

The hospital Trust admitted liability for their failures and a substantial settlement figure close to seven figures was agreed.

Lindsay Gibb, a clinical negligence specialist within the Medical Law and Patients’ Rights team in Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office acted for Louise. She said,

"With the assistance of detailed expert evidence as to Louise’s prognosis and future risk both parties managed to reach a positive settlement without the need to go to trial. Our client received a substantial six figure sum and was delighted with the outcome. As far as we are aware this is one of the highest reported settlements in such a case”

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a surgical error or negligence, our clinical negligence solicitors could help you claim compensation. Visit our Surgery Claims page for more information.


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