Infertility investigations cause bowel damage that goes undiagnosed and untreated - £126,000

‘Jenny’, 34

Bryony Doyle, a specialist medical negligence solicitor at JMW, represented ‘Jenny’ in a legal battle over the failure of doctors to realise her bowel had been damaged during infertility investigations. The error meant the bowel perforation went untreated and caused Jenny a host of avoidable problems.

Missed bowel perforation

Jenny was undergoing investigations for infertility, which involved putting dye into her fallopian tubes via small cuts in the abdomen to check for blockages. During the procedure her bowel was accidentally perforated which, although it is a recognised complication, it was not identified at the time and staff failed to repair it.

When Jenny returned home later that day, she quickly developed pain across her whole abdomen which did not improve with pain relief. An ambulance was called and she was given morphine, which still not reduce her pain.

Jenny was taken back to hospital and underwent a CT scan to try to identify the source of the pain. She needed further surgery under general anaesthetic to investigate, where it was discovered that there were two holes in her bowel. As a result of this, Jenny also developed a dangerous type of infection called peritonitis. She required surgery to repair her bowel and washout the infection, resulting in a prolonged stay in hospital.

Jenny was still experiencing pain when she left hospital and later required further surgery to washout even more infection. She also developed an infection in the surgical wound, which needed to be cleaned and regularly dressed by community nurses several times a week. Sadly, Jenny has been left with significant scarring to her abdomen which has also caused ongoing pain. Jenny will now need significant future care due to her young age and is prevented from doing every day tasks such as household chores.

Successful medical negligence claim

Jenny suspected that there had been an error during her infertility investigation which had led to the terrible sequence of events that followed. She was put in touch with the specialist medical negligence team at JMW.

The trust fully admitted liability, agreeing that Jenny’s bowel perforation had been missed and not repaired at the time due to negligence. Bryony then negotiated a settlement of £126,000 in compensation for Jenny’s pain, suffering, significant scarring and the additional care she will now need.

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