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Patient Consents To Surgery Despite Not Fully Understanding Future Risk

Surgeons
16th July 2015

An initial visit to her GP to complain of painful periods and bleeding at other times in the month was followed by a referral to specialists at a private clinic. The gynaecologists discussed a number of potential options to manage her condition.

A year later the woman returned to her GP as she had started to experience post-coital bleeding. Her GP referred her again to the private hospital where a scan revealed that she was suffering from a polyp (a small, benign growth on the inside wall of the womb).

The hospital suggested two procedures for carrying out internal examinations of the womb and to collect tissue samples. The patient alleges that the hospital failed to explain that a third procedure offered as a treatment for excessive menstrual bleeding carried a future risk of the removal of her womb. The procedure involves destroying the womb's inner lining by scarring using a laser beam or other methods, such as heat, fluid, electricity, freezing or microwaves.

Symptoms were to be expected

The hospital claims that information about the potential risks were provided at the consultation, to which, the patient agreed and signed the consent form for the procedure to go ahead one month later. The patient disputes that the future risks of the third procedure were discussed and had signed the consent form despite not fully understanding that she might not be able to have any more children as a result of the procedure.

Following surgery, the patient experienced severe pain and discomfort. When she contacted the hospital for advice she was told that her symptoms were to be expected because of the procedure she had undergone. It was only when the patient looked online to research the procedure and found out about the potential risks that she became aware of the implications.

The young woman continued to suffer from ongoing symptoms and eventually the womb was removed, leaving her unable to have children.

The court awarded a five-figure settlement.