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Breast Reduction Compensation Claim Settled for £45,000 Damages

03 September 2012

In this case Clinical Negligence Solicitor Iona Meeres-Young successfully represented a woman in a breast reduction claim which was settled for £45,000 compensation.

On 2nd April 2009 our client underwent Breast Reduction surgery at the Defendant’s hospital which was provided on the NHS. Our client was under consultant care; however, his registrars undertook the surgery. Surgery was performed and our client remained in hospital until 5th April 2009 when her chest drains were removed and she was given antibiotics.

One week later our client noticed that her nipples were discoloured and her breasts became very swollen and sore and began to weep. She attended a follow-up appointment on 10th April 2009 and she was advised that her wounds looked clean and healthy and was given an appointment for five days’ time for a wound check. Our Client’s symptoms remained and she saw her GP on 15th and 16th April 2009 and had her wounds redressed. On 20th April 2009 our client returned to the Defendant’s hospital for an appointment with a Senior House Officer who noted that the nipples were not improving, that the left breast was sore, had redness and swelling and was oozing yellow pus. There was also a gaping wound on the lower margin of the left nipple oozing liquefied fat and the nipple was partially necrosed. Furthermore, the right breast was soft and not tender with an opening of the wound on the lower aspect of the right nipple. As a result our client was admitted to the Hospital for a debridement, the purpose of which was to remove infection and improve healing. On 21st April 2009 she underwent debridement surgery. Dead tissue was removed and the wounds were washed and dressed out and our client was discharged on 26th April 2009.

On 10th August 2009 our client attended an appointment at the Defendant’s hospital where it was apparent that her wounds had not healed around the right nipple and there was significant asymmetry of the two sides with the right side being larger than the left and that there had been an almost complete loss of the left nipple and on the right side half of the areola had been lost.

The woman was advised that she needed corrective surgery. She saw a different Consultant Plastic Surgeon on 10th April 2010 who advised that he would perform a nipple reconstruction with skin grafts and subsequent tattooing and scar revision on the left side. Our client subsequently underwent the revision surgery on 15th August 2011 and has since been left with an unsatisfactory cosmetic outcome from the surgery which had caused her to be referred for counselling, citing that she had severe complications after breast reduction surgery, was mentally scarred, depressed and not coping.

Our client alleged breach of duty for pre-operative consultation on 19th January 2009 in which she was not provided with sufficient information about the operation and given adequate disclosure as to the risks involved and she was not advised that due to her weight the risk of complications following surgery was greater than the risk of an average patient; breach of duty for pre-operative consultation prior to surgery on 2nd April 2009 by failing to provide our client with adequate care prior to the operation; breach of duty for the operation on 2nd April 2009 by failing to delegate responsibility for the carrying out of an operation to an appropriately skilled surgeon and that the operation was poorly designed, planned and executed; breach of duty for the appointment on 10th April 2009 by failing to return her for surgery and on 14th April 2009 again for failing to return the woman for surgery in spite of her significant post-surgical complications.

A letter of instructions was prepared to a Consultant Plastic, Re-constructive and Hand Surgeon, who provided a detailed medical report on breach of duty, causation, condition and prognosis, to which careful consideration was given. A psychiatrist was also instructed to prepare a report on our client’s psychiatric condition and prognosis and arrangements made for clinical photographs to be taken to demonstrate the extent of scarring.

However, prior to this evidence being obtained the Defendant made a Part 36 offer in the sum of £45,000.00 and this was subsequently accepted by our client together with costs.

Iona Meeres-Young is a Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.

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