A surgical procedure left a young woman unable to have children

A young woman has obtained a five-figure settlement following a dispute over whether she had been given informed consent for surgical procedure which left her unable to have children.

The 33 year old woman, known only as Jane, was represented by medical negligence solicitor Suzanne White.

Jane visited her GP complaining of intermenstrual bleeding and painful periods in 2009. She was referred to a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at a private London hospital, where a number of potential management options were discussed with her.

Jane returned to her GP a year later as she had started to experience post-coital bleeding.  Her GP referred her again to the private hospital where she underwent a scan which revealed that she was suffering from a polyp.

Suzanne successfully argued that Jane’s hospital while suggesting that she undergo a hysteroscopy and laparoscopy did not discuss the risks that the option of an endometrial ablation carried.  The risks of endometrial ablation include a future risk of requiring a hysterectomy.

After the consultation Jane booked herself in for surgery a month later. She signed a consent form for hysteroscopy, laparoscopy and endometrial ablation, despite not understanding the risk that she might not be able to have any more children as a result of the ablation.

This was disputed by the hospital, who claimed that she was provided with this information before the procedure.

Jane underwent the ablation procedure. Following discharge she experienced severe pain and discomfort and contacted the hospital for advice. She was told that her symptoms were to be expected as she had undergone an ablation.

It was only then that Jane found out what the term meant by looking it up online. She then became aware of the implications of the procedure and was extremely distressed by this.

Jane continued to suffer from ongoing symptoms and eventually had to undergo a hysterectomy at the age of 36. She is no longer able to have any children.

Leigh Day medical negligence partner Suzanne White said:

"This is a case where clearly appropriate consent was not given to the patient. It was absolutely evident to me that my client had been consented for the removal of a polyp, but had absolutely no awareness, as a young woman that she was about to undergo a procedure that would impact on her fertility.

"This has greatly distressed my client and has had a devastating effect on her life."