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Clinical Negligence Specialist Rebecca Brown on Bowel Injury case

Pavla El Nahas died as a result of a Bowel Injury sustained during a Laparoscopy at Birmingham Women's Hospital.
Mrs Nahas had undergone the procedure as part of fertility investigations. Sadly the injury to her bowel was not diagnosed and she died at home two days after the Laparoscopy. A post-mortem revealed that her Bowel had fused with abdominal wall scar tissue which had formed as a result of a gynaecological procedure some years ago. It was reported that the hospital carried out an investigation.
One of the risks of this type of procedure is injury to the Bowel, this is due to the proximity of the Bowel to the incisions that are made for the Laparoscopy. This risk is usually listed on the consent form which the patient has to sign before the surgery takes place. Whilst it is a risk of the surgery, injuries to the Bowel during this type of procedure can also be caused negligently. I have acted for clients that have suffered injuries to their Bowels both in Laparoscopy procedures and during Hysterectomies. This can have a devastating effect on the patient and can result in them needing a further procedure and in some cases an Ileostomy bag.
Also I have seen on several occasions bowel injuries going undiagnosed, leading to the patient suffering from Peritonitis and Severe Sepsis. Also as seen in Mrs Nahas' case it can also lead to death. I have acted for patients that have suffered Delayed Diagnosis of bowel injuries which has led to them being very unwell and having an extended recovery period in hospital.
Whilst the hospital's own investigation found no wrongdoing on the part of the surgeon, the Coroner hearing the inquest into Mrs Nahas' death ruled the she died as a result of elective surgery and highlighted that this finding did not mean that the surgeon did do anything wrong, but also that it didn't mean there was no wrongdoing either. We often see cases where the hospitals own investigation does not find any wrong doing but on investigation and obtaining an expert opinion in a Clinical Negligence Claim we sometimes find there was negligence.