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February 2nd 2021

Medical Negligence

Hospital Trust agrees damages after nurses wrongly advised mum to remove son’s bandages a day after ear correction surgery, causing it to fail

Michelle Tebbutt

Michelle Tebbutt

Solicitor, Clinical Negligence

Hospital Trust agrees damages after nurses wrongly advised mum to remove son’s bandages a day after ear correction surgery, causing it to fail

An 11-year-old boy was left in agony after nurses mistakenly advised his mother to remove bandaging a day after having ear corrective surgery - leading to an infection which caused the operation to fail.

An 11-year-old boy was left in agony after nurses mistakenly advised his mother to remove bandaging a day after having ear corrective surgery – leading to an infection which caused the operation to fail.

Ihsan Choudhury was born with ‘lop ear’, a deformity which causes the top rim of the ear to be folded over and ‘floppy’.

He had a successful operation at Birmingham Children’s Hospital to return the ear to a normal shape and appearance and was discharged with substantial bandages placed around his head.

However, nurses wrongly advised his mother to remove the bandages the next day. As she did so, he became very distressed and was clearly in a lot of pain.

Having taken him back to the hospital it was confirmed the bandage should have remained in place for a week. He was bandaged again and discharged home, but the following day his mum noticed that the wound was oozing from under the covering.

Having returned to hospital again his ear was found to be infected and he was placed on a course of antibiotics. As the sutures came free the surgery was ultimately unsuccessful.

The family were then warned further complications could be faced should they surgery be attempted again.

As a result, the boy’s mother decided to wait until her son was 18 to allow him to make the decision as to whether to have further surgery himself – something he has now decided against – enabling the legal claim to finally be settled.

The Legal Case

Hudgell Solicitors led legal action on behalf of the boy against Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, leading to the settlement of £15,000 damages.

As part of the case it was alleged and accepted that the nurses had been negligent and breached their duty of care by failing to provide the correct advice to the boy’s mother when instructing her to remove the bandages herself a day after the surgery, in 2014.

Representatives acting on behalf of the Trust said nurses had mistakenly given advice suitable for ‘minor ear surgery’.

It was also admitted that Ihsan would have been unlikely to suffer the infection, which contributed to the sutures loosening and the surgery ultimately failing, had the bandages not been removed early and had the sutures been left undisturbed for a week.

Ihsan’s mother, Nurun Choudhury, said: “When I was removing the bandage he suddenly started screaming out and crying in pain. I felt like I’d let him down despite following the advice I had been given,” she said.

“I’d had my doubts about doing it myself and I even asked nurses if I could take him back to hospital for it to be removed but they reassured me I would be fine.

“It was awful to see him in so much pain, and then to be left in a position where the operation was unsuccessful and actually looked worse because he was left with the same condition and extra scarring.

“We were told that due to the damage caused, any further attempt to do the procedure could prove complicated due to his eczema and could cause more serious damage, so we decided to wait until he was 18 to allow him to make his own decision, and he has now opted against it.

“I have been so proud of him for how he has handled it. He was bullied when he was younger but he has accepted it and now he explains to people why his ears look as they do.

“We decided to wait to settle the claim until he was 18 as the damages would have been held in a trust until now anyway.

“That allowed him to make a decision with regards to any future surgery, as we were told we’d be able to claim the cost should he need further private treatment. Ihsan has accepted how it looks though and didn’t want to risk any further damage.”

Hudgell Solicitors comment

Solicitor Michelle Tebbutt, a specialist in clinical negligence claims, said: “Sadly, like we see in many cases, this was down to miscommunication by the health professionals involved.

“The surgery had gone very well and would have been successful had it not been for the mistakes in the follow up advice provided to Mrs Choudhury.

“The surgeon had recommended that the sutures be left in place for a week before being removed, but that instruction was not passed on to our client, as she was wrongly advised to remove the bandage herself the following day. It was something she questioned and was uneasy doing herself, but was reassured it would be fine.

“Any surgery is worrying for young children and their families and the distress here continued long after the surgery because of the mistakes made. We were pleased to be able to arrange for him to have the choices regarding further treatment and to provide him with financial compensation which we hope means that he can now put this behind him.”

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