Medical Negligence

£50,000 compensation for woman who developed sepsis when pregnant after hospital’s surgery error

NHS hospital with high rate of stillbirths and neonatal deaths

Hayley Collinson

Associate Solicitor

5 min read time

A pregnant woman who developed sepsis and needed admitting to intensive care after a hospital’s surgical error has been awarded damages.

The woman was 17 weeks pregnant when she attended the Emergency Department at Colchester Hospital in August 2019, suffering from severe abdominal pains. She was diagnosed with appendicitis and underwent surgery to remove her appendix.

However, over the following six weeks she continued to suffer from ‘excruciating stomach pains’, and had to leave work on her first day back to be returned to hospital by ambulance.

She was then admitted to the maternity ward and told she may be going into labour early. It was only when a doctor sent her for an MRI scan two days later that it was discovered a sizeable part of her appendix remained.

That had caused an infection to develop, leading to sepsis, and she required emergency surgery and a spell in intensive care to recover.

Legal case resulted in five-figure compensation settlement

Now, following legal action on the woman’s behalf, led by Hudgell Solicitors’ medical negligence claims team, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, has agreed a £50,000 out of court damages settlement.

“The care I had during pregnancy was poor. It caused me to be extremely ill and in terrible pain, then I developed an infection and sepsis,” said the woman.

“Obviously I just thought my appendix had been completely removed, so to then suffer more excruciating pains was very worrying.

“When I was on the maternity ward they said it may be the beginnings of early labour, but I knew it had to be something else, especially as I’d already had two children previously.

“I was in so much pain and getting really short of breath. I was on pain relief, and I feel like the doctor who came in and sent me for an MRI saved my life. The infection was getting only going to get much worse, and had he not seen me I’d have been left on that ward.

“It took a huge toll on me, and mentally it still impacts on me today. My anxiety over my health is terrible, I get flashbacks and I always fear the worst and worry that things will develop into a major infection and sepsis again.”

Hospital Trust admitted negligence

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust admitted it had been negligent not to identify and remove the full appendix in the initial surgery, causing the patient to suffer from ongoing appendicitis, the need to undergo further invasive surgery, and require time in the ICU.

“I took legal action because a surgeon, who I saw after I’d finally had the remaining appendix removed, said it was disgusting what had happened to me,” said the woman, who went on to have a baby girl from the pregnancy.

“He said it was in my hands as to what happened next, and I was disappointed as there didn’t seem to be any great desire to get answers at the Trust.

“People make mistakes, and when something like this happens you want people to own up to it and ensure lessons can be learned, not try and brush it under the carpet. That’s what I felt had happened. It didn’t seem to be taken seriously enough because I’d survived.”

Solicitor says ‘basic error’ had ‘huge impact’

Associate Solicitor Hayley Collinson, a medical negligence claims specialist at Hudgell Solicitors, said: “Failing to ensure all of the appendix was removed was the most basic of errors and it has had a huge impact on my client’s life.

“She was 17 weeks pregnant at the time not only did the error cause her to suffer excruciating pains during pregnancy, but the infection, leading to sepsis, was understandably the cause of a great deal of worry.

“Independent medical experts consulted as part of our case confirmed they were of the view that it had caused her to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), impacting on her ability to return to work.

“In situations like this, it is imperative that Hospital Trusts hold full and open investigations into what went wrong and why, also focusing on the impact of the mistakes.

“Experts said our client was fortunate to have a viable pregnancy given all that she had been through.”

What Is Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence is when medical professionals make mistakes or fail in their duty of care to you, leading to injury or making an existing condition worse.

If you or a loved one has suffered ill-treatment or poor care you may be eligible to claim hospital negligence compensation – helping to cover the cost of ongoing care, remedial treatment, and loss of earnings.

Our experienced hospital negligence lawyers hold hospital trusts to account for failings in patient care, securing maximum compensation for those that are let down by their healthcare practitioner when receiving treatment for illness or injury in hospital.

If you’ve been the victim of hospital negligence or have seen a loved one suffer and wish to make an NHS negligence claim, our expert hospital negligence lawyers are here for you. For a free consultation about your claim, get in touch today.

Read more: Hospital Negligence Compensation Claims

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