Successful Claim Following Complications During Hysterectomy

Following abnormalities identified on a routine smear test, the claimant opted to undergo a hysterectomy. Her family was complete and she wanted to remove the risk of the abnormal changes progressing to cervical cancer. Unfortunately during the hysterectomy the surgeon damaged the claimant’s left ureter causing severe pain and urinary problems.

The claimant had to have a nephrostomy fitted followed by re-implantation surgery to repair the damage caused during the hysterectomy.

If, as a patient you are not happy with the care you have been provided with then you can make a formal complaint to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). The NHS has a duty of candour and must ensure they are open and transparent with people who use services. There is a requirement on the NHS to inform people when they have been harmed (physically or psychologically) as a result of the care or treatment they have received.

Despite the claimant making a formal complaint in this case, the defendant did not admit that any harm had been caused through negligence and instead insisted that the outcome was a known complication a hysterectomy. Whilst ureteric injury is a known complication of a hysterectomy it is important to point out that just because a known complication has arisen (that was listed on the consent form signed before surgery) doesn’t necessarily preclude a clinical negligence claim. Complications in surgery can occur through the negligence of the surgeon not using reasonable care and skill during the procedure; as was the case here.

Despite this initial response from the defendant, Beth Heath investigated the claim and swiftly brought the case to a successful conclusion.