Case Study: Fatality Following Negligent Crohn's Surgery

Compensation: £90,000

The illness and surgery

A widower has received £90,000 compensation after the tragic death of his wife following negligent care by medical professionals during Crohns surgery.

Carol had a history of Crohn's disease and in the past had undergone a right colectomy. By the time she was 56 years old, it was noted that there was a recurrent Crohn's mass in the right iliac fossa and it was decided to proceed to surgery to resection the bowel.

Carol underwent excision of recurrent Crohn's mass with anastomosis between the ileum and descending colon at her local hospital. Minor adhesions were noted from the previous operation. No difficulties were described.  

Ten days after the original surgery, Carol underwent a CT scan which indicated a massive abdominal collection. The next day she Carol underwent a laparotomy. The operation note recorded the presence of faecal peritonitis, which was secondary to a perforation of the terminal ileum 20cm proximal to the anastomosis. It was noted that the perforation was at the site of a Vicryl suture. The operator presumed that during the previous surgery, a hole had been made at the site that had been closed with the Vicryl suture.

Post-operative problems

Post operatively Carol had a difficult recovery. She was discharged back to the intensive care unit at her local hospital two weeks after the laparotomy. A month later, Carol was found to be unresponsive and unconscious. She was resuscitated. Two months later Carol again required resuscitation and was transferred to the HDU. In the weeks following this she suffered two respiratory arrests and a cardiac arrest. She had CPR, was intubated and ventilated.

Almost five months after the original surgery, Carol was discharged from the ITU back to the ward, and eventually she was discharged from hospital after a period of 347 days.

A CT scan revealed two areas of damage to Carol's brain, thought likely to be due to infarction. Three years after the surgery, she was admitted to hospital with increasing shortness of breath and collapsed. She had a sudden decline and was unresponsive. The cause of death was given as bronchopneumonia.

The claim

JMW claimed that the surgery performed for the excision of the recurrent Crohn's disease mass was performed negligently. In particular, the bowel was perforated at a site some 20cm from the anastomosis. It was also alleged that the subsequent misplacement of a nasogastric tube led to Carol suffering a respiratory and cardiac arrest, thus causing brain damage.

Although the hospital denied liability, the claim was settled and Carol’s husband received £90,000 compensation.

If you have suffered the devastating loss of a loved one following unsuccessful surgery or negligent treatment, you may be entitled to compensation. Call us on 0800 054 6512 or fill in our contact form to find out more.

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