Surgical Complication Case Involving Tracheal Tear During Intubation Won by Gadsby Wicks

A specialist medical negligence solicitors’ firm serving Essex and East Anglia, Gadsby Wicks, helped their client obtain a fair settlement after they were subject to negligent treatment during surgery, resulting in avoidable injury to their trachea.

One of the firm’s Senior Solicitors, Corrina Mottram, led this case to a successful outcome.

The case

Mrs H (who has been anonymised to protect her and her family’s privacy) was admitted to hospital in early 2017 for an arthroscopy. Initially planned as a day case that would allow Mrs H to return home the same day, general anaesthetic was used to perform the procedure.

However, in recovery, Mrs H developed an oedematous face, neck and arms. The X-ray that followed concluded that surgical emphysema was to blame for her sudden onset of swelling. Upon further examination, it was discovered that a tear in her trachea had extended into the right bronchus during surgery, which was the root cause of the problem.

Several days later, Mrs H was transferred to another hospital, where she underwent repair surgery. After one further week of recovery, she was then discharged.

The claim

This surgical complication claim was pursued on the grounds that Mrs H was not appropriately consented. She would have opted for regional anaesthesia, rather than general anaesthetic, had the risks been fully explained and this option offered.

Secondly, it was determined that on the balance of probabilities, Mrs H suffered a tracheal tear because the tube used was inserted to an excessive depth, overinflated and repositioned carelessly. Had the surgery been performed competently, Mrs H would have avoided injury, and would not have required additional recovery time.

The result

Proceedings were issued by Gadsby Wicks after the Defendants initially denied both breach of duty and causation. The claim was eventually settled shortly before trial and compensation awarded in 2022.

“Thanks to the team’s outstanding expertise, we helped Mrs H secure the justice and compensation she rightly deserved” said Corrina Mottram, Senior Medical Negligence Solicitor at Gadsby Wicks.

“Our thorough investigation also helped Mrs H get to the bottom of exactly what happened during surgery, allowing her to reach a fair settlement without needing to proceed to court.”

This surgical complication case was one of the many claims that Gadsby Wicks has settled in the past 12 months.