A substantial settlement has been achieved for a young woman who sustained a serious injury following negligent cryotherapy treatment performed by her general practitioner. She underwent the treatment to remove warts from her leg but the application method caused an extensive wound and severe pain.
Immediately after the treatment, she had difficulty mobilising as her knee felt 'frozen'. Due to the depth of the wound, it did not heal well and continually split open, causing ongoing pain and discomfort and leading to the development of an infection, with a diagnosis of cellulitis. Her wound has now healed but she is left with a prominent scar and noticeable discolouration on her leg. This affects her confidence and her ability to work in her chosen career as a model.
The Penningtons Manches clinical negligence team obtained expert evidence from an independent general practitioner who is specially trained in cryotherapy treatment. He confirmed that cryotherapy treatment can be carried out using a cotton bud to apply liquid nitrogen or using a liquid nitrogen canister. The defendant general practitioner in this case used liquid nitrogen from a canister. By its very nature, a canister delivers a higher concentration of liquid nitrogen more quickly.
The claimant brought an action against the defendant general practitioner on the basis that her wart and the surrounding area of skin were 'frozen' for an excessive period of time and that too much healthy tissue around the wart was treated. This excessive application caused damage to the surrounding tissue, resulting in a substantial and deep wound. As a result, the claimant endured an extended and complicated recovery, suffered from significant pain and discomfort and has been left with resultant scarring.
The defendant disputed the allegations and court proceedings were issued. However, following lengthy negotiations, the claim has now settled.