Medical Negligence

Patient suffered catastrophic stroke and cardiac arrest after operation which left him severely disabled

Close up of CT scan

Elizabeth Maliakal 

Principal Solicitor for Training & Business Development 

3 min read time

Two Yorkshire Hospital Trusts have compensated a patient who suffered a catastrophic stroke and cardiac arrest after an operation, leaving him severely disabled.

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust and York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust were jointly responsible for the treatment of the 74-year-old patient who suffered a minor stroke in January 2016.

Having developed some slurring of speech and a headache, he was taken to Harrogate District Hospital by ambulance, where he was admitted to the Stroke Unit and underwent a CT scan of the head.

As part of the legal case against the two Trusts, Hudgell Solicitors made several allegations of negligence. It was alleged imaging was wrongly reported and surgery was unnecessarily performed.

During the unnecessary surgery, the patient suffered a catastrophic stroke and later a cardiac arrest from which he was successfully resuscitated.  He was left severely disabled and brain-damaged.

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Case involved failure to obtain adequate consent for surgery

Solicitor Elizabeth Maliakal, a specialist in medical negligence claims at Hudgell Solicitors, led the legal case on behalf of the patient, whose daughter was appointed his Deputy by the Court of Protection to manage her father’s affairs.

Mrs Maliakal alleged the operation had been carried out without the patient or his family being fully informed of the risks involved, and without being informed that the benefits of surgery were small. She said:

This case centred around two key aspects of care and treatment. Firstly, there was no need for surgical intervention and, had my client not undergone surgery, he would have avoided the stroke which occurred during surgery and the later cardiac arrest.

Secondly, he was inadequately consented over the decision to operate and, given doubts about his mental capacity to consent, his family were not consulted over the decision either.

Had an appropriate discussion taken place regarding the relative risks and benefits, neither my client nor his family would have consented.

Whilst our medical experts felt that he may well have gone on to suffer further strokes in the near future, had he not undergone the surgery, they were of the opinion that he would not have been left as profoundly disabled as he is now.

He has been left with a catastrophic injury.  He is paralysed, has little vision in his right eye and reduced vision in his left eye. He is unable to talk, he is doubly incontinent, needs to be fed through a tube and requires hoists to be moved.  He now lives permanently in a nursing home.

Six-figure damages settlement agreed to provide ‘best possible future life’

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust and York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust agreed a six-figure sum for damages.

The compensation agreed covers the cost of future care, nursing home fees, private medical treatment, medication expenses and aids and equipment. Mrs Maliakal added:

This was a hard fought case. Initially both Trusts denied liability and it was only after Court proceedings were commenced that settlement discussions took place. The negligent treatment left my client severely disabled, and in need of round the clock care, which could and should have been avoided.

As part of our investigations into the case we instructed independent medical experts, including a Vascular Surgeon, a Stroke Physician and Neuroradiologist. The Trusts agreed to compensate my client and the compensation will ensure he can live as comfortably as possible for the rest of his life.

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