£133,000 awarded for failings surrounding consent procedure by Urologist at Kent and Canterbury Hospital

Mr X had a history of an enlarged prostate and minor urinary symptoms for which he was being reviewed regularly by a Urologist at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

In January 2017 Mr X had a review with the Urologist during which Mr X was advised that he needed a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) procedure. It was Mr X’s case that no risks of the procedure were discussed by the Urologist. Mr X enjoyed a healthy and active sex life with his wife so was particularly concerned whether any risks which could affect his sex life were associated with the TURP procedure. The Urologist reassured Mr X that there would be no impact on sexual function and that it was a very “common” procedure which the Urologist performed “half a dozen times a week”. Having been reassured, Mr X consented to the procedure.

In June 2017 Mr X underwent the TURP procedure, performed by the Urologist. Following the procedure, Mr X suffered severe complications including a recurrent urethral stricture, penile pain associated with the passing of urine, bilateral groin ache, urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction and depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Cases involving the issues of consent are often referred to as “Montgomery” cases, resulting from the case of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board [2015]. As a result of this case, the law now requires a dialogue to take place between a doctor and a patient. A doctor must provide information about all material risks of the intended procedure, in particular any risks to which that particular patient would attach significance.

In Mr X’s case it was argued that the Urologist not only failed to advise of the material risks of a TURP, but also failed to advise of the risks particularly significant to Mr X, such as the potential for erectile dysfunction. Had these risks been explained to Mr X, he categorically states that he would not have gone ahead with the procedure. Indeed, expert evidence found that Mr X could reasonably have been given the option of conservative treatment.

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, responsible for the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, denied liability throughout the case.

The case eventually went to mediation and settled for £133,000.

Shantala Carr, Senior Associate Solicitor with conduct of the case, states:

“The requirements of the consenting process in medicine have been well established, particularly since the Montgomery case in 2015. The Urologist in this case therefore had no excuse not to advise Mr X of the risks of the TURP procedure, especially knowing that Mr X placed particular significance on any risks to sexual function, which was very important to him and his wife. As a result he felt reassured to consent to a procedure which he did not need and which had a devastating impact on his life, both physically and psychologically.

Although the Trust did not admit liability, I am pleased that we secured a very good settlement for Mr X which I hope will help with improving the significant and long lasting physical and emotional effects he has been suffering.”

Mr X states:

“I can't ever thank you enough for your hard work and expertise. You have made such a difference to our life. Not just the money, but also the satisfaction of a recognition by the NHS.”