The Claimant aged 42 at the time underwent an endometrial ablation to cure the problems that Mrs S was having with heavy menstruation. The procedure involved burning away the lining of the uterus via a laparoscopic procedure. Mrs S understood that it would be a simple procedure not requiring an admission and that she would be back to work within a few days.
The procedure however was carried out negligently in that during the procedure her uterus and small bowel were perforated and she had to undergo a hysterectomy and a colostomy. She suffered a stormy post operative recovery. She remained in hospital for 7 weeks where she underwent a bowel resection because she developed gross faecal peritonitis. She had to undergo a number of further operative procedures and was in hospital for a total of 7 weeks and during that time she was in intensive care for 2 weeks.
She underwent further surgery a year later to reverse the ileostomy. For the period that she had the ileostomy she had constant problems with it. She developed psychological problems and suffered a major depressive episode. She underwent counseling and continues to be treated with antidepressants.
At the time of the negligence Mrs S was a qualified Midwife. She tried to return to work but was unable to return to work as a Midwife because of the trauma she had experienced in hospital. The trauma of her experience meant that she felt unable to take on any clinical responsibility in her role as a Midwife and therefore she has not continued to practice. Instead she has trained as a Doula and this has meant a substantial reduction in her earnings and loss of congenial employment as a Midwife.
The Claimant alleged that the Defendant had failed to perform the ablation procedure with reasonable skill and care and was therefore negligent. The injury occurred as a consequence of her failing to take sufficient care when she dilated the cervix. The Defendant knew or ought to have known that the uterus was retroverted and she should have ensured that there was correct orientation achieved during dilation so as to avoid perforation. It was alleged that she failed to insert the ablation device before undertaking a hysteroscopy to confirm the integrity of the uterine cavity following dilatation of the cervix. The perforation would have been visible on proper examination. Had she done this, she would have realised that the uterus was perforated and would have abandoned the procedure. Instead she inserted the Novasure device and caused a 5cm full thickness longitudinal laceration to the small bowel. She then proceeded to undertake microwave endometrial ablation after she withdrew the Novasure device thereby causing further damage to the uterus and bowel. Proceedings were issued but liability was admitted early on. An RTM resulted in a settlement of £355,516.