Case Study: Bowel Perforated During Operation

Christine, 62 years old, Salford

This case study outlines how JMW helped a woman to secure £125,000 compensation after she suffered an injury during an operation, which has had a detrimental impact on her day-to-day life.

If you are looking for information on how JMW can help you to make a claim yourself you can go directly to our obstetrics and gynaecology negligence claims page here, and if you are looking for information on bowel perforations please visit the NHS website here.

Christine had three children, all of whom were delivered with forceps. This resulted in a number of gynaecological problems. She underwent a posterior vaginal repair, a colposuspension and eventually had an abdominal hysterectomy.

She was referred to a gynaecologist with symptoms of faecal urgency and occasional incontinence and a diagnosis of vaginal vault prolapse and posterior wall prolapse was made. She was advised to undergo an abdominal sacrocolpopexy. This operation involves lifting up the vault of the vagina and attaching it to a ligament on the sacrum using a synthetic mesh-type material.

Inadvertent damage

When the surgery was performed, extensive pelvic adhesions were found to be present with the sigmoid colon stuck to the right fallopian tube and ovary. The surgeon divided the adhered structures using a sharp instrument. It appears that during this procedure, in all probability, the bowel was inadvertently damaged.

Post-operatively, Christine was clearly unwell. She was vomiting and complaining of pain and had a fever. IV fluids and antibiotics were started and she was reviewed the following morning. The abdominal pain was no better and an X-ray showed air under the diaphragm. A CT scan confirmed this and the possibility of a bowel perforation was raised. It was decided to treat her conservatively for the time being.

The next day a laparotomy was performed and perforation of the sigmoid colon was identified with peritonitis. The colon was resected and then brought out onto the abdominal wall as a left ileac fossa colostomy.

Christine was very unwell after the surgery and spent some time in ICU on a ventilator and with a tracheostomy. There were problems with the stoma which retracted into the abdomen on a couple of occasions.

Continuing problems

Christine was eventually discharged home, but she continued to have problems with the colostomy resulting in two re-admissions to hospital. On one occasion she developed necrotising faciitis around the stoma, resulting in extensive debridement of the skin of the whole of her right side. She has also developed a large incisional hernia, which the doctors consider too risky to repair in the light of her past history.

Having a permanent colostomy has had a huge impact on Christine life. She has lost her self-confidence and only occasionally goes out and socialises because of worries that her colostomy bag will smell or leak as it seems that this happens frequently.

Failure to recognise injury

JMW Solicitors claimed there had been a failure to identify or recognise that an injury had been caused to the bowel during and following the operation.

The hospital made an offer of £75,000 compensation which, following negotiations, was eventually raised to £125,000. 

Have you also suffered negligence during surgery?

If you would like to discuss the possibility of bringing a case similar to this one, call us today on 0800 054 6512 or fill in the enquiry form here.

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