A woman who underwent gynecological surgery at Yeovil Hospital in July 2018 “suffered awareness of painful surgical stimuli” during the procedure, after she was given a spinal anaesthetic instead of the general anaesthetic usually administered for that type of surgery.
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said when the surgeon "made a cut in my belly button which I immediately felt", she had "screamed out but no-one took any notice because I had an oxygen mask on".
The unnamed woman has suffered recurring nightmares since the incident. She said:
"I have been suffering with nightmares which are horrendous. I have a re-occurring image of lying on the operating table, screaming with lots of people around me watching and no-one helps me.
"I estimate that I wake up around to three times per week sweating and very fearful."
Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has accepted liability, but no settlement has been reached as of yet. A spokesperson for the Trust said:
"We are sorry if this patient suffered any distress."
"It appears that a breakdown of communication led to the use of a different anaesthetic to that normally required for such an operation.
"However, this case is yet to be resolved with the claimant and we will therefore not discuss this further."
It is very rare these days to hear of what used to be described as “an anaesthetic awareness case”, mainly due to the ongoing improvements in the world of anaesthetics over the last 20 or so years. Therefore, the type of experience suffered by this patient is thankfully very rare. In this case, it appears that the wrong anaesthetic was used and that a full admission of error will be forthcoming. The woman involved will no doubt be able to recover compensation for the psychological and/or psychiatric injury that she no doubt has suffered as a result of her very frightening experience.
Lesley is a Partner within our Clinical Negligence team. If you would like to speak to Lesley or another member of the team regarding Clinical Negligence, or indeed any other aspect of this article, please call 0800 027 2557 or fill out the contact form at the side of this page. Alternatively, you can contact Lesley directly here.