Case Study: Bilateral Oesphageal Tears Sustained During Procedure

Compensation: £60,000

Ian, St Helens, 37 years old

With JMW's help a man has received £60,000 compensation after negligent care during surgery led to a bilateral oesophageal tear.

Ian wore a partial denture for one tooth.  During the evening, Ian inadvertently swallowed the denture, and it became lodged in his throat.  He attended A& E and it was discovered that the denture was lodged in his oesophagus at approximately the level of the 6th cervical vertebrae. He received £60,000 for the negligence he suffered.

Surgical procedure

Following an X-ray and other investigations Ian was advised to undergo oesophagoscopy under general anaesthetic.  During the procedure, Ian sustained two 3-4cms perforations on opposite sides of the oesophagus, approximately 20cms down its length.  The Staff Grade Surgeon, noting the perforations, called in a Consultant. 

As a result of the bilateral tears of his oesophagus Ian developed surgical emphysema in the tissues of the mediastinum and neck.  He was transferred urgently to theatre `and underwent surgery for the removal of the denture, repair of the perforations, and drainage

Post-operatively, Ian developed a left side pneumothorax and required anti-biotic treatment and ventilation, with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in the intensive care unit.  He underwent tracheostomy, and was gradually weaned from the ventilator thereafter.  He was discharged from hospital, but had to be re-admitted with a chest infection. He eventually made a gradual recovery.

As a result Ian now has extensive post-operative scarring and suffers from moderately severe post-traumatic stress disorder, with symptoms of nightmares, avoidance and intense irritability. 

Clinical negligence

JMW Solicitors argued that Ian’s treatment was negligent based on multiple points;

 (a)     The first procedure caused and/or permitted the denture to be pushed further down the oesophagus.

(b)     The surgeon failed to rotate the denture so that its widest axis lay vertically within the oesophagus before attempting to retrieve it.

(c)     The surgeon caused and/or permitted the denture to cause extensive bilateral tears of the oesophagus during the procedure.

(d)     The surgeon failed adequately to visualise the operative field at all times.

(e)     The surgeon deployed the oesophagoscope and/or manipulated the denture with excessive force.


The claim was successful and Ian received £60,000 compensation.  

Have you also suffered injuries during an operation?

If you have suffered medical negligence and wish to make a claim, call JMW today on 0800 054 6512 or fill in our contact form

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