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Surgery Negligence
Wrong Site Hand Operation

Wrong Site Hand Operation

Due to a recurrence of trigger finger, Grant needed surgery on the middle finger of his right hand. However, the surgeon wrongly operated upon his thumb, severing his nerves and causing permanent neurological damage.

Doing a physical job, Grant had previously suffered from trigger finger in the ring fingers of his left and right hand. He had had both fingers surgically repaired, and both operations were successful.

Unfortunately the condition returned, this time in the middle finger of his right hand. His GP offered a steroid injection to ease the tendon, but Grant knew this to be ineffective from his previous experiences.

He was therefore referred to the local treatment centre for surgery. A pre-operative consultation was carried out and the procedure was booked in.

At the treatment centre, Grant was given a consent form to sign. He was then taken to a cubicle where the surgeon drew an arrow along Grant's middle finger. This was done in dark permanent marker, so it was still visible after the nurse had sterilised his arm.

After a screen had been put in place, the surgeon injected a local anaesthetic. The needle was inserted between the thumb and forefinger. Grant thought this was unusual but he assumed the surgeon knew what he was doing.

The anaesthetic began to take effect almost immediately. However, after a few minutes the surgeon exclaimed: “Oh the thumb didn't need doing, did it? Why didn't you tell me?” To which Grant replied: “Well it is clearly marked.”

The middle finger was then operated upon, after which Grant was led to the recovery room. There he was told that there had been a surgical error and that his thumb had also been operated upon.

Over the following week, the sensation in his middle finger returned, but his thumb remained numb. Grant went back to the treatment centre and was informed that the anaesthetic needle may have pierced the nerves, meaning it would take a long time for sensation to return.

When there was no improvement a month later, Grant was examined by an anaesthetist at the treatment centre. He believed that the pad of the thumb was dead, stating that the nerve had been damaged.

Grant was told that nothing could be done to repair the nerves, but he was still referred to a private clinic for a second opinion. The specialist suggested an operation should be carried out under general anaesthetic to see if a repair was possible.

This procedure did improve Grant's symptoms slightly, but he still only has 50% normal sensation. He also experiences pain whenever pressure is applied to the thumb. It is unlikely this will ever resolve in the future.

Grant's injuries mean he can no longer continue his current work, resulting in significant financial difficulties. The whole experience has been very upsetting for both him and his wife, especially as they know it was entirely the fault of the surgeon.

We helped Grant make a claim for wrong site surgery. He was awarded over £9,000 compensation for the pain, suffering and financial loss he incurred.

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

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