Mum-of-triplets in intensive care for a month after surgeon left hole in her bowel
A woman who almost died after her bowel was perforated during a hysterectomy procedure at Kettering General Hospital is taking legal action against the hospital Trust after being left needing extensive further treatment and with problems which will affect her for the rest of her life.
Georgina Leadbeater, 40, underwent a hysterectomy because of severe (ovary-attacking disorder) endometriosis on September 13, 2013. But during the procedure her bowel was perforated and she suffered from faecal peritonitis and abdominal sepsis which went undiagnosed until the following day.
Because of the delay in recognising and treating the condition, Georgina began to deteriorate and her family was told she had just a 50 per cent chance of survival. She spent more than a month in the intensive treatment unit while doctors attempted to flush the infection from her abdomen, eventually resorting to further surgery.
The mother-of-triplets, from Wellingborough, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell after her ordeal left her needing a colostomy bag, and so weak she was unable to lift even a kettle. She also lost her hair.
“This whole thing has been a nightmare,” she said. “To go from being on my feet all the time to barely being able to pour a cup of tea or carry a bag of shopping has destroyed my quality of life.
“Even my boys have been too scared to cuddle me because of my colostomy bag.
“I have to ask the boys to help me when we go to the shops and I wonder what the other shoppers must think of me when they see the boys carrying all the shopping.
“Nothing is going to turn back the clock. I just want to know what went so horribly wrong and what could and should have been done to prevent it. No other woman should have to go through what I have and I hope lessons are learned from this.”
Expert medical evidence gathered by Irwin Mitchell on Georgina’s behalf suggested that because the treating gynaecologist, Dr Michael Newman, knew how severe Georgina’s endometriosis was, and that her previous caesarean section for the triplets had been technically difficult, he should have performed the operation with the assistance of a general surgeon. In fact, Georgina was told that the procedure would be performed jointly with Dr Newman and a general surgeon.
It is alleged that he should not have started the procedure without a surgeon, and further, that Mr Newman failed to call for the assistance of the general surgeon on call when he began operating and saw how difficult it was.
Georgina’s specialist medical lawyers also say he should have checked that her bowel was intact or arranged for a general surgeon to do so before closing. The sepsis should also have been detected earlier and Georgina should have been taken back for surgery earlier.
Kettering General Hospital NHS Trust has said it is not contesting the claim and Irwin Mitchell’s medical negligence team is now working to secure a fair settlement on her behalf to help with her recovery as she struggles to overcome the trauma of what happened.
While she survived her ordeal, Georgina had to endure wearing a colostomy bag for more than two years and was in constant pain, which left her too anxious to go out resulting in the loss of her previously active social life.
She also suffered from severe hair loss and, most upsettingly, has been left unable to play with her boys.
She was also unable to return to her job as a school cook and now fears the lasting effects of multiple surgeries will make it impossible for her to find work.
Expert Opinion“Georgina went to Kettering General Hospital thinking she was in the best possible hands. Instead her condition became so precarious her three young sons were forced to face the possibility of losing their mummy.
“The ordeal did not end when she left hospital, but has continued to this day. It has been incredibly traumatic, not just for Georgina who, because of constant pain, now struggles with tasks the rest of us might take for granted, but for her husband Geoff, and their children who have had to grow up much sooner than should be expected of any nine-year-old.
“Of course, the vast majority of hospital staff do an outstanding job in difficult circumstances, but on this occasion Georgina’s care fell well below acceptable standards.
“Georgina sincerely hopes that lessons have been learned from her experience and that the necessary improvements are made to patient safety so that other families do not have to suffer as hers has.” Eleanor Parkin - Associate Solicitor
Georgina added: “My body looks like it’s been through a machine, I lost my hair and I feel like I lost my dignity as well.
“My sons have had to see things they should never have to. They’ve had to grow up so quickly, and my husband has had to become my carer too which has put an incredible strain on us as a couple.”
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.