Jane Duffett v Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust [2007] LTLPI 30.06.08

Claimant attended Defendant hospital on 02.07.98 suffering from menorrhagia and progesterone was prescribed. Ring pessaries were also inserted for prolapse. She returned three years later in December 2002 with persistent menorrhagia, cystocele, urinary stress incontinence and urgency and a Vaginal hysterectomy was performed on 19.12.02.

Claimant brought a claim against Defendant alleging tranexamic and mefanamic acid should have been prescribed in 1998 rather than progesterone as she had previously received progesterone and had not responded to it. She also alleged whilst she consented to a hysterectomy she was told this was her only option. She said this was not valid consent as the Trust has failed to advise her of the alternative treatments available.

Liability was disputed. The Trust submitted that the alternative treatment suggested by the Claimant in 1998 may have affected her fertility and at the time of her admission she expressed a desire that her fertility should not be impaired. Trust denied Claimant was told she had no option but to have hysterectomy in 2002. Further treatment had been discussed and attempted before Claimant consented. Due to Claimant’s condition it was reasonable to offer her hysterectomy.

The hysterectomy rendered Claimant infertile and she suffered post-operative complications with bowel and bladder incontinence and an adjustment disorder. Six months following surgery she required cauterisation under general anaesthetic and subsequently developed vault prolapse and an enterocele.

Urology evidence identified the majority of the urinary problems resulted from childbirth not the treatment. The hysterectomy had exacerbated urological difficulties for only two months. Claimant’s bowel incontinence had resolved by time of settlement.

Claimant submitted she was unable to continue running her business or continue hobbies of walking, swimming, horse riding after the hysterectomy.

Out of court settlement £45,000 (estimated General Damages £25,700).