In the case of Hewson v Medway NHS Foundation Trust the court was asked to decide whether a NHS Trust was responsible for nerve damage to a claimant’s knee.
The claimant had severely dislocated his knee in a fall and immediately visited accident and emergency. The claimant reported that he had feeling in his ankle and foot at the time whilst in accident and emergency. However, following an immediate emergency operation carried out by a trainee surgeon on the ankle the claimant reported a loss of feeling in the ankle area and his foot.
A second operation was carried out at a later date. The surgeon reported that she had no concern about any nerve damage in the affected area. However, following the second operation the claimant was referred to another hospital for reconstructive surgery and it was considered that the original incision had been closer to the knee than had been recorded in the notes. The orthopaedic surgeon found no sensation or motor activity in the affected area.
It was denied by the hospital that the trainee surgeon had cut the nerve and argued that it had been severed due to the fall. However, ultimately the court favoured the evidence of the claimant. It was considered that on the balance of probabilities that the nerve had been cut during in the first operation.
Unfortunately, the case shows that mistakes can happen during surgery.
If you have been the victim of clinical negligence contact Levi Solicitors LLP on 0113 244 9931.