Home / Insights / Blog / Compensation for woman whose heart was accidentally punctured during operation

Compensation for woman whose heart was accidentally punctured during operation

Compensation for woman whose heart was accidentally punctured during operation

A young woman has won compensation after her heart was accidentally punctured during an operation at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester. The woman suffered permanent and severe brain damage, will never be able to work again and is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

Complications arising from an ectopic pregnancy

A 27-year-old woman, whose identity has not been revealed, has secured a compensation payment from the NHS for treatment she received in 2010. When she was 22 years old, the young woman was admitted to the Salford Royal Hospital suffering complications with an ectopic pregnancy.

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in a fallopian tube, which means the egg will not be able to develop into a baby. While in some circumstances no symptoms are present, most women experience some bleeding or abdominal pain between the 5th and 14th weeks of pregnancy. If detected early, medication can be given to the woman to ensure the egg does not continue developing. Conversely, where the ectopic pregnancy is at a more advanced stage, surgery is required.

It was deemed necessary to operate on the 22-year-old. However, during surgery, medics accidentally pierced one of the chambers of her heart, which caused her circulation to collapse, and her heart to stop beating. While surgeons worked hard to get her circulation system going once more, the woman’s brain was starved of oxygen. This left her with severe and permanent brain damage.

As a result of her brain damage, she needs 24-hour care, requires a wheelchair to get around and will never be able to work again.

£8 million compensation settlement

Through her mother, the young woman commenced legal action against the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, alleging negligent hospital treatment. In July 2012, the managers of the hospital admitted negligence for her injuries. However, the parties could not agree on the amount of compensation that the now 27-year-old should receive.

A hearing was scheduled in London’s High Court in order to assess the amount of damages, but the parties settled outside of court shortly before the hearing was due to commence. The High Court has now approved the settlement agreed upon, with Mrs Justice Swift stating she was satisfied that the agreement was in the woman’s best interests.

The compensation the young woman will now receive totals around £8 million across her lifetime. She will receive an initial lump sum payment of £2 million, with annual, tax-free and index-linked payments to provide for her care for the rest of her life. The payments will begin at £220,000, plus £16,500 a year for medical and dental costs, with a further £9,845 a year to compensate for her loss of earnings.

Reviewing the case, Mrs Justice Swift said before the operation, the young woman “had a full social life, a serious relationship, had qualified as a hairdresser and was pregnant. Her life looked promising.” However, she is now “immobile except in a wheelchair propelled by others… requires 24-hour care and will never work again.”

Her family were praised for the “tremendous amount of support” they have provided.

Obtaining compensation for surgical errors

Personal injury and medical negligence lawyer, Malcolm Underhill commented: “It was once the case that compensation was settled as a lump sum, based on an estimate as to the individual’s life expectancy. However, advances have been made to ensure that the level of compensation more closely mirrors a person’s lifetime needs. In this case, the young woman will receive a substantial lump sum, plus annual payments too, to last her whole life, for whatever period of time that turns out to be.”

You are entitled to expect a certain standard of treatment from those providing medical assistance to you. If this treatment falls below standard you may be entitled to recover the cost of the private medical treatment needed to correct the failings on the part of those originally treating you.

If you want to enquire about making a compensation claim for mistakes made during surgery, please contact one of of our hospital negligence solicitors on 01895 207835 or 01895 207295. Alternatively, you can send an email with your name and contact information and brief details as to the nature of the accident/clinical negligence and the injuries sustained to PI@ibblaw.co.uk and one of our team