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Hudgell Solicitors™ | Latest News | Compensation for patient told life expectancy had shortened after surgeon’s heart operation error

Compensation for patient told life expectancy had shortened after surgeon’s heart operation error

Guys and St Thomas


Hudgell Solicitors has secured damages for a man who has been warned his life expectancy has been shortened after an error in an operation intended to improve blood flow to his heart and his life quality.

Peter Phillips had long-standing issues relating to the thinning of his heart valves and, having suffered from increasing chest pains and shortness of breath, was referred by his local hospital for a coronary artery bypass graft at the Guys and St Thomas Hospital in London.

The operation was intended to divert blood around his narrowed arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart. However, the surgery proved unsuccessful as the surgeon mistakenly attached an internal mammary artery to a cardiac vein instead of an artery as required, meaning Mr Phillips’ blood flow was not improved.

Ten months later, having suffered from shortness of breath and chest discomfort when walking his dog, Mr Phillips attended at his local hospital again, and on examination was found to be ‘back to where he was pre-operatively’.

Subsequent tests discovered the errors made, and as a result, Mr Phillips has since had to undergo three procedures to help his blood flow, in which stents were used to widen his arteries, as the initial operation is not one which can be re-attempted.

He is now unable to undergo any more procedures, leaving pain management his only option for managing his pain and discomfort for the rest of his life.  He has also been warned by doctors that as a result of being able to further improve his blood flow, his life expectancy could also be affected.

Legal case against London hospital trust alleged negligent treatment

Following legal representation by medical negligence specialists Hudgell Solicitors, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust admitted that had the initial operation been a success in July 2011, Mr Phillips would not have required further intervention for 10 to 15 years.

It was alleged that the hospital treatment had been negligent, as an independent Consultant Cardiac Surgeon, consulted as part of the legal case, concluded that as there had been no noted difficulty in locating the parts of the heart in the operation notes, the operation should have been successfully completed.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has now paid a five-figure damages settlement to Mr Phillips, despite insisting it did not accept breach of duty.

Solicitor Sarah Scully, a medical negligence claims specialist, said: “We feel it was only right that Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust compensated Mr Phillips for the impact of the unsuccessful coronary artery bypass graft.

“That procedure was intended to have a long-term positive impact on his health, but instead resulted in him having to undergo a further three procedures, and he still continues to suffer with chest pains and breathlessness on mild exertion.

“Furthermore, he was subsequently told by experts that due to gradual deterioration in left ventricular function, his life expectancy will be effected.”

Patient, 75, ‘shocked to learn heart bypass operation had gone wrong’

Mr Phillips, now 75, says he has had to ‘accept what has happened’.

He said: “There is nothing that can be done now. It wasn’t an option to do the main operation again, and I can no longer have stents in place because my arteries aren’t strong enough. Had they got the first operation right, all would have been fine for at least 10 years.

“My brother had actually had the same operation before me and all went well and his breathing was much better afterwards.

“I didn’t see an improvement after the operation and then when I was walking my dog I had chest pains and struggled breathing. It was a shock to learn it had been done wrong.

“It has had a big impact on me since, as I have had to undergo a number of procedures and now I’ve been told nothing more can be done. I can’t really lift anything heavy, and as I still play in a music band it has impacted on me as I can’t carry the amplifiers around.

“I also get out of breath quickly, so I have to try and take it steady.

“Hudgell Solicitors were fantastic in handling my claim. Sarah took care of everything and kept me informed of how my case was progressing. Obviously the money can’t do anything to improve my health, but it has helped greatly for me and my wife

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Sarah Scully

Solicitor, Clinical Negligence

sls@hudgellsolicitors.co.uk

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