Birmingham Women's Hospital
A Birmingham hospital has paid out a substantial out of court compensation sum after a hysterectomy caused internal damage to a patient, which left her with ongoing health problems for two and half years.
45 year old Kerry Jones, formerly from Northfield, underwent the hysterectomy as part of major surgery to remove an ovarian cyst at Birmingham Women's Hospital in September 2004.
Following the operation Miss Jones started to suffer from debilitating bladder problems. Over the course of the next two years, she underwent a series of tests and treatments which proved ineffective until finally, in September 2006, the correct diagnosis, of an uretero-vaginal fistula, was made.
By this stage, Miss Jones had moved to Leicester and her care was transferred to Leicester General Hospital. Some two and half years after the initial blunder, she finally underwent surgery to repair the damage in April 2007.
Birmingham Women's NHS Foundation Trust admitted that there had been a delay in diagnosis but refused to admit that the surgery was carried out incompetently in the first place. However, they have now agreed to pay Miss Jones a five figure out of court compensation settlement.
Caroline Stokes, a medical negligence expert with Irwin Mitchell solicitors, represented Miss Jones in her legal claim. She said: "The defendants have always claimed that the damage is a recognised risk of a hysterectomy.
"However, independent medical experts confirmed that if the surgery had been carried out correctly, Kerry would have avoided the injuries she suffered. Because of the initial surgical error and the subsequent delay in diagnosis, Kerry continued to suffer with debilitating bladder problems for two and half years.
"This had a significant effect on both her lifestyle and her ability to work, as she was unable to plan anything which lasted longer than half an hour at a time."
Miss Jones, a school teacher, commented: "When I was first diagnosed with an ovarian cyst, I agreed that the surgeon could take whatever steps he felt necessary, including performing a full hysterectomy if cancer was suspected.
"Even though the cyst was subsequently found to be benign and the hysterectomy was not strictly necessary, I believed at the time that the hospital had done their best for me. It was only after the catheter was removed that I realised things were not right.
"I am angry that the hospital has refused to accept that the surgery itself was performed incompetently and that it took them so long to properly diagnose the internal injuries which the operation had caused.
"For two and half years I feel as though my life has been on hold. Although the hospital Trust has paid compensation, I have not received an apology."