After undergoing gallbladder surgery, Joanna developed the severe flesh eating infection necrotising fasciitis. This led to terrible complications which could have been avoided had she been given preventative antibiotics before the operation.
A laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a common procedure in which the gallbladder is removed via keyhole surgery, usually to treat painful gallstones. When Joanna needed to undergo this operation, it was performed without incident and she was discharged the following day.
However, two days later she developed a fever and had terrible pains in her abdomen. She went to a different hospital, expecting to be given a course of antibiotics, but was told that she had a severe infection and was admitted to a ward.
Within days, fluid was accumulating around the infected area at the centre of her stomach, so an operation was performed to insert a drain. After another week, medical practitioners finally realised that Joanna was suffering with necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease that requires urgent treatment.
Once a diagnosis had been made, an emergency operation was carried out to remove the necrotic tissue from her abdomen. By this stage Joanna’s condition had deteriorated significantly and she woke up in the intensive care unit. Although she was eventually discharged a month later, she remained extremely unwell and required 24 hour care.
She is now back in her own home, but must live with a painful disfigurement, for which she takes painkillers daily. She is also extremely upset by the appearance of the wound, something which has made her very self-conscious and depressed. Since leaving hospital she has been very dependent upon her daughter, and for the first six months could do nothing for herself – not even shower and dress.
Because she had to take so much time off work, Joanna has also lost her job, causing her financial difficulties. Due to her injuries it is unlikely she will be able to return to work again. She has a hole in her stomach, including sore scars, and has suffered significant psychological injuries.
Feeling angry and upset by the complications she experienced as a result of a routine operation, Joanna got in touch with us to discuss what action she could take. We advised that she should have been given preventative antibiotics before the gallbladder removal as she was at risk of developing a post-operative infection – particularly as she was overweight and a type 2 diabetic.
Furthermore, when she presented to the hospital with signs of post-operative infection, an earlier diagnosis should have been made. The delay in identifying necrotising fasciitis caused the infection to spread, leading to a greater area of necrotic tissue that had to be removed.
We helped Joanna make a claim for the physical, emotional and financial damage she incurred as a result of medical negligence. She was awarded over £40,000 compensation.
(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)