Penningtons Manches’ clinical negligence team has settled a claim on behalf of a woman from Kent against obstetrician and gynaecologist, Professor Omar Devaja, for the injury caused to her bowel as a result of a negligently performed subtotal hysterectomy.

In June 2014 she was diagnosed with Grade 2 endometrioid adenocarcinoma and underwent a total laparoscopic hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo oophorectomy and bilateral lymph node dissection. This was performed on a private basis under the care of Professor Omar Devaja at the Nuffield Hospital in Tunbridge Wells on 21 June 2014.

During the procedure, it became apparent that the McCartney tube had been inserted incorrectly into the rectum rather than the vagina. The surgeon only became aware of this once he had begun dissecting the rectum. A consultant general and colorectal surgeon was called to theatre to close the enterotomy and to form a loop colostomy.

Following the surgery, she was informed of the damage caused and that a temporary colostomy had been required as a result. Professor Devaja told her that the damage should not have occurred and that what had taken place was his responsibility.

Fortunately, the hysterectomy was successful in removing the tumour and no further treatment was recommended. However, she found the colostomy very traumatic and difficult to live with. She later suffered a minor prolapse of the colostomy which necessitated a further admission to hospital. The colostomy was not reversed until three months after the initial surgery.

Due to the negligent complication that occurred, investigations were carried out by Nuffield Health and it was formally recorded as a ‘never event’.

The defendant was invited to make admission at an early stage, on the basis of the investigation that was conducted and to avoid any unnecessary costs being incurred. An admission was made seven months later and a settlement was agreed following a counter offer made by the defendant.

Penningtons Manches associate, Rebecca Morgan, who acted for the claimant, commented: “Never events are serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented. My client was already dealing with the emotional and physical impact of having to undergo treatment for her recent diagnosis of cancer. The negligent error made by Professor Devaja caused my client avoidable additional distress. My client now hopes that incidents such as this can be avoided for any patients receiving similar treatment in the future.”