Negligence victim fights off appeal

Posted: 25th January 2016

SurgeonsMoney alone can never be enough to compensate those whose lives are ruined by medical accidents. However, one case in which a woman won damages of almost £460,000 following negligent surgery shows that good legal advice and success in court can at least go some way to making up for permanent disability.

The woman had developed a fistula as an unfortunate, non-negligent, consequence of undergoing a hysterectomy. However, when a surgeon operated to put that right, the result was serious damage to the femoral nerve which controlled movement and sensation in her left leg. A judge found that the surgeon had been negligent and awarded the 50-year-old woman £459,758 in compensation.

In challenging the judge’s decision before the Court of Appeal, the relevant NHS trust argued that his finding that some form of blunt trauma had been caused to the nerve during the operation was impermissible on the evidence. In dismissing the appeal, however, the Court noted that assessment of the expert evidence was a matter for the judge and found that his factual conclusions were open to him.