The woman, known as Rachel to protect her identity, was diagnosed with biliary cholic in around October 2010. She was placed on a waiting list for laparoscopic cholecystectomy surgery, which she underwent in February 2011.
Following the surgery, Rachel complained of pain in her abdominal region. Various investigations were undertaken but no cause was identified. She was subsequently discharged home a number of days later.
The day after her discharge, Rachel was readmitted to the emergency department with pain in her upper right quadrant. She underwent further investigations, including a CT scan, the results of which were suggestive of a bile leak. However, percutaneous drainage of the bile leak was not commenced until around a week later.
In early March, Rachel was transferred to a private hospital at her own request. On admission she underwent further investigations which revealed grossly abnormal liver function. She underwent a magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography which identified a hepatic duct injury, thought to be the cause of the bile leak, necessitating surgery in the form of an emergency laparotomy. During the procedure a gall bladder leak was identified and repaired.
Since then, Rachel has required major liver re-sectional surgery and bile duct reconstructive surgery. She suffers daily, at times chronic, abdominal pain which is likely to be permanent and has also suffered psychological symptoms as a result of the traumatic events.
Rachel brought a legal claim against the NHS Trust involved arguing that there was a negligent delay in investigating and treating her bile duct injury, which caused her long-term biliary tract complications. The trust admitted liability for the delay in diagnosing and treating the biliary leak, and settlement negotiations were entered into with Rachel eventually receiving a substantial lump sum award.