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Burns Sustained During Surgery

Burns Sustained During Surgery

Jackie was undergoing surgery when a mistake was made in the operating theatre, leaving her with severe burns.

In 2008, Jackie was admitted to a Bristol hospital for the removal of a secondary tumour from her right lung. A primary tumour had been removed from her colon five years previously.

The surgery went well, and at the end of the operation the treating surgeon inserted drainage tubes. This required making a number of incisions, which in turn caused a significant amount of bleeding. To stem the blood flow, an instrument called a diathermy was employed, which uses the heat of electricity to seal bleeding vessels.

However, prior to the incisions being made, preparation liquid was applied to Jackie's skin, which then pooled in her theatre gown. When the diathermy was used, the heat it generated caused the preparation liquid to ignite. As a result, Jackie suffered burn injuries to the right side of her chest, her abdomen, and under both breasts.

When she came round from the operation, she was told there had been an accident in theatre and she had received a “small burn”. Medical staff informed her that they intended to leave the burn for three weeks to see how it progressed. Fortunately, one of the hospital's plastic surgeons was available, and he assessed her injuries. He advised Jackie that she had in fact suffered severe burns, and due to the depth of the wounds, skin grafts would be necessary.

Three weeks later, Jackie returned to hospital to have another operation under general anaesthetic. Skin grafts were taken from her right thigh and applied to the burns underneath her right breast and on the side of her right breast, as well as to the four inch burn on her abdomen.

This improved Jackie's condition to an extent, but she has nevertheless been left with unsightly scarring on the site where the skin graft was taken from, along with scarring to her abdomen, right side, and under her breasts. She is extremely conscious of the way this looks, and has accordingly altered the way she dresses. Her burns also had a negative impact on her family life, as she could not look after her children after the operation.

Jackie's everyday life continues to be affected by the injuries she sustained, so she contacted Glynns to see if there was anything she could do. We filed a clinical negligence claim against the private surgeon whose negligent actions in the operating theatre caused Jackie to suffer severe burns. He admitted to a breach of duty, and Jackie's claim was settled for over £10,000.

(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)

 


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