Medical Negligence

Patient awarded £80,000 compensation after hospital surgeon mistakenly cut her bile duct during operation to remove gallstones

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5 min read time

A hospital patient has been awarded £80,000 compensation after surgeons accidentally cut through a bile duct when removing gallstones. The medical negligence error at Scunthorpe General Hospital caused a leak which left her needing further emergency surgery in Leeds to repair the damage and to fit a stent to drain fluids.

It meant a procedure which should have taken just two weeks to recover from continues to impact on her quality of life more than two-and-a-half years later.

The woman, aged 37, had been referred to a specialist by her GP after being diagnosed with gallstones, following a period of suffering with stomach pains.

She underwent surgery for gallbladder removal, which lawyers at compensation specialists Hudgell Solicitors alleged was negligent.

As part of a legal case, led by Hudgell Solicitors against Northern Lincolnshire & Goole NHS Foundation Trust, it was claimed the surgeon failed to take appropriate care and should have taken a specialist x-ray of the patient’s bile ducts to have a greater understanding prior to surgery.

It was alleged that, had they done so, they would have identified the close proximity of the duct which was cut when attempting to remove the gallbladder after removing the gall stones, and that the error could have been avoided.

Trust admitted error and offered apology

Legal representatives acting on behalf of the Trust admitted the surgical error, which happened in July 2021, should not have happened and that the surgeon had been at fault, offering a full apology.

The woman, who missed eight months of work due to the injuries caused, said: “I was told the surgery was routine and I that I would only be off work for about two weeks.

“During the procedure it was discovered that I had two large gallstones that were embedded, and that my gallbladder itself was also embedded. I was told prior to the surgery that if anything prevented the surgery from going ahead, they would abort it, but the surgeon tried to continue and cut through my main bile duct.

“I was rushed to Leeds hospital to have emergency open surgery to repair it, leaving me with a large scar from where I had the stent fitted.”

The woman said she had to rely heavily on her mother-in-law and sister to help her wash and get dressed in the first few months of recovery, to look after their young children and support her partner with jobs such as food shopping and housework, as he was still working full time.

Even today she suffers with abdominal pains which prevent her lying flat, and she has to be extra careful over the types of foods she eats, often suffering from bloating and pain after meals, suffering a constant feeling of nausea and vomiting after eating, and having to manage bowel problems.

She was also left with significant scarring on her body from surgery to insert the stent. As part of the legal case it was agreed the error and injury had left the woman at higher risk of suffering a hernia, recurrent sepsis and liver abscess in the future.

Surgeon ‘failed to take enough care’

Associate solicitor Michelle Tebbutt, of Hudgell Solicitors’ medical negligence claims team, led the case on behalf of the woman.

She said: “This error has had a significant impact on my client’s quality of life and it is something which could have been avoided had the surgeon ensured he had a better understanding of the difficulties he was to face in trying to remove her gallbladder by taking a detailed x-ray prior to surgery.

“She should have been fully recovered from the surgery in around two weeks, but it continues to cause her pain, discomfort and embarrassment today.

“It has had a significant impact on her working life too, having had to take eight months off, and then change her role to one less demanding on her physically when she returned, impacting on her income level.

“This was an injury caused by a surgeon not taking enough care. We were pleased to secure admissions of liability from the Trust, and the settlement of £80,000 to reflect the suffering and loss caused.”

What is medical negligence?

No matter how high the standards of care and treatment in our health services, things can sometimes go wrong.

Medical negligence occurs if you receive substandard treatment by a medical professional, whether that’s directly causing an injury, or making an injury or condition worse. Medical negligence can also happen if you are misdiagnosed, receive the wrong treatment, or a mistake is made during surgery.

Making a Medical Negligence Claim

Our medical negligence solicitors are here to help you start a claim if you feel you’ve received substandard medical treatment.

We understand that no amount of medical negligence compensation can change what you’ve been through, but it can help to relieve financial pressures caused, such as by medical bills or the loss of earnings, helping you to move forward with your life.

You can begin by contacting us via our claim form and selecting Medical Negligence as the type of claim.

Read more: Medical and Clinical Negligence Compensation

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