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Avoidable fatal complications after hernia surgery

by Vikki Blankstone & Amy Greaves

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Multiple negligent surgeries

Mrs Miller was 50 years old when she inadvertently discovered that she was suffering from an epigastric hernia after she underwent a CT scan for a different condition.

She was advised to undergo a keyhole hernia repair. She underwent the keyhole hernia repair. Following this, she had bleeding from her wound site. A diagnostic laparoscopy took place the next day to try and find out what was causing the bleeding.

Further surgery complications

Following the diagnostic laparoscopy, there were further problems with the wound site. Mrs Miller subsequently became profoundly septic and a laparotomy had to be carried out. This revealed two injuries to Mrs Miller’s sigmoid colon. Due to the extent of the injury, it was necessary for Mrs Miller to undergo a Hartmann’s procedure which involved a stoma having to be created. Mrs Miller experienced a very stormy recovery after this further surgery and she required a further operation to re-site her stoma. Mrs Miller remained in hospital for many months.

Mrs Miller subsequently underwent an operation to have her stoma reversed. The next day leakage was noted and she suffered further deterioration. A further laparotomy was carried out which showed continuous leakage from her small bowel. Following this further operation, Mrs Miller became increasingly ill from post-operative complications and after 2 further operations she had to be transferred to the intensive care unit. Mrs Miller remained in hospital for several months before finally being discharged home.

Mrs Miller unfortunately continued to experience problems with her stoma that meant that she was housebound. She had to change her life completely and was very dependent on her younger family. She was readmitted to hospital on a number of further occasions due to bleeding at her stoma site. This resulted in her requiring a number of blood transfusions. Mrs Miller unfortunately went on to develop sepsis which led to multi-organ failure. She sadly passed away 4 years after her original hernia surgery.

Prior to Mrs Miller’s death, she approached Amy Greaves at Access Legal Solicitors for advice and assistance in dealing with the problems that had arisen with her treatment.

Independent expert evidence was obtained which showed that there had been negligent damage to Mrs Miller’s bowel either during the first hernia repair operation, or during the subsequent diagnostic laparoscopy which had not been recognised and repaired at the time of surgery. It was successfully argued that the two holes in Mrs Miller’s colon were not caused from a spontaneous perforation of diverticular disease as alleged by the defendant hospital.

Sadly, Mrs Miller passed away before her case concluded. However, settlement was finally reached on behalf of her Estate in respect of the considerable pain and suffering she had endured as a result of the negligent surgery which caused Mrs Miller to have to undergo a total of 18 further procedures and extensive hospitalisation over a period of 4 years.

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