In 2015, our client underwent an MRI scan of his spine due to pain when walking. Luckily, when looking at this scan, doctors spotted that he had an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).
Following further investigations and discussions with the multi disciplinary team, our client was admitted for an endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) on 20 August 2015 at Medway Hospital. EVAR is keyhole surgery and was thought to be less risky than open surgical repair of the aneurysm. Scans performed prior to the surgery confirmed that our client not only had an abdominal aortic aneurysm, but he also had bilateral iliac aneurysms.
The EVAR procedure which was originally planned had to be aborted part way through due to graft migration. The correct surgical equipment was not available to remedy the problem encountered, so the operation had to be abandoned.
A second keyhole procedure was performed the following day, known as a “chimney repair”. During this procedure, the top cap of the graft delivery system became caught in the wires to the stent graft, causing the extension graft to become dislodged. In simple terms, the person operating the surgical instrument did not properly follow the instructions for use, resulting in complications for our client. The procedure was abandoned. After discussing the case with the vascular surgeons at St Mary’s Hospital in London, our client was then transferred to St Mary’s Hospital for further treatment.
Our client then underwent a third operation on 24 August 2015 to fix the problems caused by Medway Hospital. This was prolonged major surgery over a period of 8 hours. During the course of this surgery, our client’s spleen was accidentally (and non-negligently) damaged and he had to have it removed.
Following his operation, our client remained in the intensive care unit for 11 days and required treatment for kidney failure for 7 days. He then made a good recovery and was transferred back to Medway Hospital on 5 September 2015 before being discharged home on 11 September 2015.
Our client has to take antibiotics for the rest of his life due to the loss of his spleen. He also suffers from an incisional hernia as a result of his extensive surgery, which will eventually require surgical repair.
Based on expert evidence from a consultant vascular surgeon and a consultant interventional radiologist, we made the following allegations of negligence against the Medway NHS Trust:
- The decision to attempt an EVAR was extremely poor judgement.
- It was negligent not to give our client the correct information with regards to the risks of open surgery, as opposed to EVAR.
- The team performing the EVAR on 20 August should have had the correct surgical equipment available to them so that if graft migration occurred, the problem could be remedied there and then.
- Open repair surgery should have been performed on 21 August.
- The failure to follow the instructions for use of the surgical equipment during the procedure on 21 August was negligent.
In the Letter of Response from Medway NHS Trust, only the final allegation of negligence was admitted. All the other allegations were denied.
Nevertheless, after negotiating with the representatives acting for Medway NHS Trust, our client’s claim was settled for £65,000.