A woman died following heart surgery when a piece of plastic tubing was left inside her body. Her 16-year-old son was awarded compensation after his solicitors made a claim for clinical negligence on his behalf.
Suffering from a congenital heart disorder the mother had undergone surgery to replace a pacemaker. A length of plastic tubing of approximately 30 centimetres was used during the procedure and was left inside her. She subsequently complained of symptoms including breathlessness which initially the doctors could find no reason for.
Further surgery to take the tube away discovered that the pulmonary artery had attached itself around the tube. Despite this, the surgeon removed the tube, which made the operation even more complex and as a result, the arterial wall was broken, even though the operation was completed to an acceptable standard. Despite this, the woman died, aged just 40. The family launched a medical negligence claim against the NHS trust responsible for the hospitals’ management. The trust claimed that the unforeseen circumstances of the accident meant it could not be held liable and it was a one-off never before seen incident.
Solicitors negotiated compensation with the trust and reached a settlement of six figures for the family, however, the teenagers’ settlement had to be approved by the High Court.
The Court had no hesitation in agreeing with the settlement and commended the negotiated settlement to avoid the trauma of a full-court hearing and it would enable the 16-year-old to have a good start in life.