Former Airman Instructs Irwin Mitchell To Investigate
A father and former Royal Air Force air traffic controller has spoken of his quest for answers after instructing specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether a hospital should have diagnosed sooner an injury to his bowel which he suffered during surgery.
Paul Elliott had to undergo emergency surgery when his bowel was perforated leading to severe infection, which was identified after the 63-year-old spent a bank holiday weekend in Mansfield’s Kings Mill Hospital suffering from pain and fever.
A consequence from the emergency surgery has left Paul, of Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, with a hernia the size of a large grapefruit which doctors believe will continue to grow unless he undergoes further major surgery.
Following the incident the former airman instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the level of care he received from Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Kings Mill Hospital. The Trust has denied liability for the claim.
As part of its investigations Paul’s legal team has discovered that the results of an X-ray which was performed on a Sunday – two days after his initial surgery and which highlighted signs of a problem in his bowel – was not formally reported until the following Wednesday, a day after his emergency procedure.
Expert Opinion“The effect of Paul’s emergency surgery to repair his perforated bowel and the development of the huge hernia has had a tremendous impact on his life. He has struggled with his return to work and the hernia affects his ability to carry out day to day tasks such as housework and playing with his young daughter, things that many of us take for granted.
“Even after undergoing further invasive surgery to repair his hernia, Paul will continue to face many challenges. There is no guarantee that the surgery will be completely successful and he will never be able to lift heavier items. This will have a significant impact on his antiques dealing business.
“The first-hand account we have heard from Paul about his care following his original operation is worrying. We are now investigating his concerns.
“Paul wants to make sure that if during the course of our investigations any issues in his care are identified, lessons are learned to improve care in future and reduce the risk of others going through a similar ordeal.” Helen Royles-Jones - Associate Solicitor Advocate
Paul, now a self-employed antiques dealer, is married and has a five-year-old daughter.
Paul originally underwent surgery for early stage colon cancer in December 2014 and needed a temporary stoma bag. On Friday, 1 May, 2015, he underwent a procedure to reverse the stoma at Kings Mill Hospital.
The following day he started to complain of abdominal pain. He went on to develop a high temperature and fast heart rate so underwent an X-ray on Sunday, 3 May, to check for signs of sepsis and abdominal obstruction.
On the May Day bank holiday, Paul received pain relief for his ongoing symptoms.
On Tuesday, 5 May, 2015, Paul was reviewed by his consultant, returning after the long weekend, who arranged an urgent CT scan. The results showed signs of a bowel perforation, and he underwent emergency surgery later that day.
He spent two days in intensive care before returning to the ward and was discharged on 13 May, 2015.
Paul has undergone several follow up consultations on how best to repair the hernia.
He said: “As well as the physical effect the hernia has had I am now very self-conscious. I used to enjoy swimming but I feel embarrassed to do this now. I also try to hide my hernia by wearing baggier clothes.
“I know I must face having more surgery, but because of what I have already been through, I am apprehensive about undergoing further NHS surgery.
“I just feel angry that what I was told would be a straightforward operation has had such an impact on my life and my relationship with my family.
“In addition, I feel there is a lack of progress with the NHS in not learning from mistakes. We see this in the media, with repeated reports of failures in care.
“I feel I deserve to know if more should have been done sooner to diagnose my condition and, if so, would it have made a difference to the life I now face.”
Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling medical negligence cases.