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13 July 2015
Slater and Gordon Solicitor: Sharon Yap is a Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London. Sharon has experience in conducting cases in areas of clinical negligence, including birth injury cases, orthopaedic, surgical and medical cases, obstetrics, stillbirths and neonatal deaths and dental claims. Sharon is a qualified nurse and midwife.
Settlement Value: £200,000
What happened: Sharon was instructed by the widow of a man who died following colorectal surgery. He was 69-years-old.
The deceased was referred to hospital by his General Practitioner after a six week history of rectal bleeding and lower abdominal pain.
Investigations confirmed adenocarcinomas at the junction of the descending colon and the sigmoid colon with no metastatic disease. The surgeon started a laparoscopic left hemicolectomy which she had to convert to open surgery. The surgeon noted "No leak..."
On returning to the ward, the deceased had a fever and abdominal pain. His symptoms pointed to infection, which were not heeded until three days later following a consultant review.
The patient was taken back to theatre and two small perforations were found in his bowel and repaired. After surgery, he was managed in the ITU with overwhelming sepsis, and required ventilation and sedation.
The deceased could not have the adjuvant chemotherapy normally given following colorectal surgery due to his weakened condition.
Impact: Sadly, the man died an untimely death and left his widow and family devastated by the loss.
Decision: Breach of duty was admitted at the early stage of service of the pre-action protocol Letter of Response.
However, causation was denied until after proceedings were issued and served and the claim had proceeded to just before the exchange of expert evidence.
An early offer of £20,000 was rejected by Sharon's client. Just before the exchange of expert evidence, the defendant, Trust's solicitors, indicated that they could no longer defend the claim and an increased offer of £200,000 was accepted by the client.
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