LB v Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Out of court settlement: 21/07/2016

Claimant: female, aged 24 at time of incident; 27 years old at date of settlement.

The claimant received £9,000 when she suffered burns to her thigh during a hip arthroscopy resulting in permanent scarring.   

Background

On 23/08/2013 the claimant was injured whilst undergoing a hip arthroscopy at the defendant hospital.

The claimant was admitted to the defendant hospital on for a left hip arthroscopy, chondral debridement and femoral neck osteoplasty. She had a regional block to anaesthetise the left leg in addition to a general anaesthetic. Bipolar diathermy was used.

Following the procedure the claimant developed a large blister to her left thigh which required a wound dressing. The area slowly healed and resulted in scarring.

Injuries

During the procedure the claimant suffered either a chemical or thermal burn to her left thigh. Either the diathermy ignited an alcoholic form of the skin prep Betadine leading to a thermal burn or a caustic or acidic cleaning agent was left on the surface of the trolley that the claimant was transferred to, leading to a chemical burn. 

The wound to her left thigh took two months to heal. The claimant visited her GP multiple times to have her wound re-dressed.

Medical evidence was obtained from a Consultant Dermatologist who confirmed that the scar to the left thigh was permanent. The claimant experienced an altered sensation to the area as a result of the skin having been replaced with scar tissue, which would also be permanent.

The scar would change colour with temperature and the claimant was susceptible to sunburn. She would need to wear SPF sunblock 50 routinely when exposing the area to the sun.

Vascular laser or IPL treatment was recommended to reduce the redness of the scar.

Legal proceedings

A Letter of Claim was sent to the defendant alleging that they (1) caused the claimant to suffer either a thermal or chemical burn and (2) failed to adequately remove cleaning agents from the surface the claimant was transferred to for her procedure and/or left a pool of Betadine on the surface which caused the claimant’s burn. 

The claim was settled before the defendant confirmed their position on liability. A figure of £9,000 was agreed.

Settlement

The claim was settled on a global basis for £9,000 however, a rough breakdown of the settlement figure is as follows:

General damages: £7,600

Special damages: £1,400 for future medical expenses

The defendant also agreed to pay the claimant's costs of the case, which had been run under a Conditional Fee Agreement.

For the claimant:

Solicitor:  Nimmisha Aslam, Russell-Cooke LLP

Solicitors for the Defendant: NHSLA

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