Medical Negligence Lawyers Continue To Represent Around 80 Patients With Concerns After Securing Settlement For Others
Women have revealed the devastating impact surgery has had on their lives after it was revealed more than 200 patients were 'harmed' in operations performed by a doctor.
An official review into 387 mesh surgery cases performed by colorectal surgeon Tony Dixon in Bristol has concluded that 203 patients were classed as suffering harm.
North Bristol NHS Trust launched an investigation into Mr Dixon’s practice after concerns were raised about the standard of procedures known as laparoscopic ventral mesh rectopexy (LVMR).
Review into surgeon Tony Dixon's practice
The review looked at a 10 year period between 2007 and 2017 during which the doctor performed operations at Southmead Hospital, formerly Frenchay Hospital, or the privately-run Spire Hospital in Bristol under NHS waiting list arrangements.
North Bristol Trust, which runs Southmead Hospital, said it had notified 203 NHS patients that, although their LVMR operation was carried out ‘satisfactorily,’ they should have been offered alternative treatments before proceedings to surgery.
As a result these people suffered ‘harm’, a Trust Board meeting report said.
North Bristol Trust sacked Mr Dixon in 2019. As of last month, Spire had still revoked the surgeon’s practising privileges.
Medical negligence lawyers supporting Mr Dixon's patients
Specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell continue to represent around 80 patients operated on by Mr Dixon. They have secured settlements for a number of others to help them access the specialist care and support they require.
The legal experts and two mums, who continue to experience symptoms a decade after surgery, are now calling for lessons to be learned. It comes after North Bristol Trust had admitted liability in their cases.
Lawyer's concern over report's findings
Expert Opinion"For many years patients have had serious concerns as to whether the procedures they underwent were appropriate. Sadly the Trust’s own findings have now vindicated these fears.
“This latest information is incredibly concerning and has caused a great deal of distress for our clients, many of whom continue to experience physical and psychological problems following their surgery.
“Patients place a great deal of trust in health professionals to make them aware of the pros and cons of treatment so they can make the most informed decision about their care.
“While we welcome the Trust’s transparency in publishing its findings and its pledge to learn lessons, it’s vital that meaningful action is now taken to improve patient safety. This includes learning lessons from those patients who have reported suffering significant harm, but who received treatment other than by LVMR.
“We continue to support our clients at this emotional time and are determined to ensure they can access the specialist care and support they require to try and move on with their lives the best they can.” Luke Trevorrow - Associate Solicitor
North Bristol Trust Tony Dixon review
North Bristol Trust launched its review in 2017. From nearly 2,700 operations performed by Mr Dixon it identified 387 cases to review, the Trust’s report said.
It scrutinised 218 and 169 surgery cases at Southmead and Spire Bristol respectively, finding 110 and 93 patients at the respective hospitals suffered harm.
A total of 175 patients – 104 at Southmead and 71 at Spire – received ‘appropriate’ care.
The review was unable to reach a conclusion in nine cases in total.
The Trust said a small number of patients who were part of the review had since died. It is trying to contact families of those who have died and who had suffered harm.
Mr Dixon LVMR patient's still affected by symptoms
Mandy Giltrow underwent a LVMR which was performed by Mr Dixon at Frenchay Hospital in April 2011 in response to bowel problems.
Following the surgery her symptoms continued. Following follow up appointments Mandy, a mum-of-four, underwent a further procedure in April 2013. Mr Dixon carried out a further operation in October 2014 at Spire Bristol to replace mesh.
However, Mandy, 49, of Staple Hill, Bristol, continues to suffer issues including stomach and bowel pain as well as recurrent water infections. She also has a hernia near her surgery scars.
North Bristol Trust admitted liability.
Mandy, a customer service manager, said: “I’ve really struggled to come to terms with everything that’s happened and remain devastated with how everything has turned out.
“I’m now in a lot of pain and I feel the surgery that I’ve had has done nothing to improve my condition. Having to undergo further procedures was difficult and the whole ordeal has really had a massive impact on me. My mental health really took a turn for the worse.
“I just felt now that it’s time to speak out. I’m upset and angry at what’s happened to me but also that there are many others who been harmed.
“While nothing can make up for what’s happened I feel I deserved answers so at least I could try and begin to understand what happened. I just hope steps can be taken so no one else is affected in the future.”
Former singer's 'nightmare' following surgery
A former professional singer and ballet dancer underwent a LVMR procedure at Spire Bristol Hospital in March 2010.
The mum-of-three had been forced to retire around 10 years earlier on medical grounds because of the serious bowel condition Crohn’s disease. She suffered constipation and severe abdominal pain as a result.
However, following the LVMR procedure her symptoms worsened. In September 2010 she attended the then Frenchay Hospital. The woman, who doesn’t want to be named, believed she was being put under general anaesthetic to undergo Botox injections but instead Mr Dixon performed a Stapled Transanal Rectal Resection (STARR) whereby mesh and surgical staples are used to perform a rectal resection.
The woman continued to experience problems, including bowel problems. She underwent a number of procedures, including hernia surgery and bowel surgery and now has a permanent stoma. She had mesh removed in 2020 following which doctors advised her it was likely she would need reconstructive surgery.
North Bristol Trust admitted that the patient wasn’t made fully aware of her options and neither the LVMR not STARR operations were necessary at the time. She could have been care for through more conservative treatment.
The woman who lives with her partner said: “The last 10 years or so have been an absolute nightmare. It seems like nothing has improved and in fact my symptoms and life have gotten worse.
“Looking back at no point when I had my LVMR or STARR operations did I feel like I was fully aware of why they surgery was being carried out. However, you put your faith in the doctors as they’re the experts.
“Life now seems a battle. I’m virtually reliant on my family for support. I’m no longer able to lift anything heavier than a kettle with a cup of water in it because lifting puts a strain on my scar tissue and stoma.
“Having worked as a professional singer and ballet dancer I’d always taken care of myself. Now I’m extremely self-conscious and wear lose clothing to try and hide everything.
“I used to love socialising and going out for meals but now try and avoid leaving the house as much as I can. If I do go out I have to make sure I have everything planned in advance so I know where disabled toilets are. I’m very anxious going out by myself and prefer to be with someone who can support me.
“I get emotional when I think too much about what’s happened to me. It’s not just the physical pain of what I’ve been through but also the emotional torment. That other people are in a similar position to me is particularly worrying.”
Our expertise in supporting patients
Find out more about our expertise in supporting patients or Mr Dixon's at our dedicated Tony Dixon claims section. More information about how we support people with concerns about surgery can be found at our medical negligence section.
Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.