£5,000 awarded following wrong site surgical negligence

A claimant was awarded damages of £5,000 following a wrong-site surgical negligence claim. The claimant sustained further harm after surgeons at an NHS hospital performed surgery on the wrong site, delaying a cancer diagnosis.

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Case details

Accident circumstances

The claimant was aged 28 at the time of the incident. He had been referred to the defendant trust by his GP due to two potentially suspicious moles on his left and right upper back. A consultant identified the moles as requiring further assessment during a visit to a dermatology clinic. The following month the moles were removed.

After removal, it was discovered that the mole on the left of his back was a moderately dysplastic compound melanocytic naevus. The mole to the right was a superficial spreading malignant melanoma. In accordance with protocol, a further one centimetre incision was arranged for the mole to the right.

Two weeks after this second excision was performed, it was discovered that surgery had been carried out on the left mole and not the right one as planned. The claimant therefore had to undergo a further wider excision to the correct mole.

The claimant developed an infection which required antibiotics and the healing process was delayed by a period of four to six weeks. As a consequence the claimant was left with significant scarring.

Expert independent opinion

An expert consultant plastic surgeon advised that the claimant had suffered an unnecessary surgical procedure. As a result, the claimant had a more extensive scar which had also been stretched due to the wound being infected.

The consultant advised that the scar that the claimant was left with was much larger than it would have been if the error had not occurred.

It was likely that the claimant would require further revision surgery at some time in the future.

Conclusion and Settlement

Liability was admitted by the defendant NHS Trust and an out of court settlement was agreed, totalling £5,000.

There was no breakdown in terms of damages.

Read more: clinical negligence compensation claims

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Author:
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher