• We're proud to have secured over £114 MILLION in damages for our clients between 2018 & 2019!
  • Featured in the Times Best Law Firms 2020 guide under Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence
  • Rachel Rees wins Outstanding Contribution to Headway Award!

Stoma Compensation Claims

Potter Rees Dolan’s specialist team of clinical negligence solicitors is here to help you make a claim for compensation if you have suffered negligence that resulted in living with a stoma.

Stomas require you to significantly adapt your day-to-day life, with those adaptations being permanent in some cases. Typically, stomas are needed by people with chronic diseases such as Crohn’s disease or colitis, but on occasion the need for a stoma can be caused by medical negligence - such as a delay in diagnosing cancer or a perforation during a routine operation.

The team at Potter Rees Dolan has some of the best clinical negligence solicitors in the business ready to help you get the compensation you deserve. Helen Dolan, Lesley Herbertson, Helen Budge and Gill Edwards are able to offer expert legal advice to those who have to live with a stoma through no fault of their own, and many members of the team have featured in the prestigious Legal 500 and Chambers guides.

If you think you may be entitled to compensation or would like to talk through the details of your case, call us on 0800 027 2557, or get in touch by completing the contact form on this page and a member of the team will call you back at a time convenient for you.

What is a stoma?

A stoma is where an opening is made in your abdominal region to allow waste to pass out of your body. It is pinkish in colour, similar to the inside of your mouth, and although it may look very raw and sore, it has no sensation.

Stomas are usually created when there is a problem with the patient's digestive or urinary system. As such, there are stomas of different sizes, shapes and purposes. We’ve listed the most common ones below:

  • Colostomy - formed when directing waste from the colon
  • Ileostomy - formed when directing waste from the ileum
  • Urostomy - formed when directing waste from the kidneys or bladder

How can medical negligence lead to a stoma?

You may have been a victim of medical negligence if you now have a stoma because your medical professional:

  • delayed the diagnosis of a medical condition, such as cancer
  • delayed the treatment of an illness such as infection or sepsis
  • made mistakes during a surgical procedure, or delayed diagnosing a surgical complication, such as perforation of the bowel or damage to the urinary system

How can Potter Rees Dolan help?

With a combined experience of 80 years and impressive medical knowledge, the clinical negligence team at Potter Rees Dolan is well placed to help you recover the compensation you need.

Helen Dolan, head of the department, was praised by the Chambers 2019 legal guide for “her attention to detail and knowledge of the case, inside and out”, with the same publication praising Lesley Herbertson as being “very good on the complex details of the case”.

Meanwhile, Gill Edwards is described as being "incredibly good with clients - they really warm to her", and garnered praise from a client, who said: "She is very good on the medical details."

Our clients say it is the empathy, passion and care the team shows that sets us apart from our competitors. The team’s expertise lies in helping people with serious and catastrophic injuries, putting them in a unique position to provide a comprehensive and caring service, while also making the claims process as stress-free as possible for you and your family.

Funding

Potter Rees Dolan will fund your stoma negligence claim on a “no win, no fee” basis. The team will investigate your potential claim on your behalf, and you won’t have to pay a penny if the case is not successful.

You may already have an insurance policy that covers legal cases - if this is the case, we’ll always investigate whether you can use this policy or not before we consider whether the no win, no fee model is more appropriate.

What happens next

Right at the start of your case, the team will discuss all circumstances relevant to your enquiry in as much detail as possible to understand whether you have a case or not. If we agree to proceed, we’ll help you get all of the evidence we will need to build the best claim we can.

The first port of call for obtaining evidence is from your medical records. We’ll examine them in detail before sending them to independent experts to verify whether you or your family member has received substandard treatment. When we’ve established whether you have been a victim of clinical negligence, we’ll initiate court proceedings.

We will try to progress your claim as quickly as we can and will always explore opportunities to adequately settle your case early, or to obtain interim or early payments.

Contact us today

Having a stoma is a life-changing procedure. If you’ve been given a stoma that could have been avoided, speak to us today on 0800 027 255 to talk about your right to receive compensation.

If you’d like one of our solicitors to call you back, fill in our dedicated contact form. If there is someone specific at the firm you’d like to speak to, visit our people page.

FAQs

Why are stomas created?

When there is a serious issue with your bowel, bladder or kidneys, a stoma is created to bypass the body’s natural process for excreting waste.

They are often created for people who suffer from chronic digestive issues such as Crohn’s disease, colitis or inflammatory bowel disease, and are considered a last resort if alternative treatments haven’t had the desired impact.

Sometimes they are created because the bowel has been perforated during surgery, resulting in a section of the bowel having to be cut away. In other cases, they are created to bypass a blockage in the bowel, bladder or kidneys.

What are the lifestyle impacts of living stoma?

Initially, adjusting to life with a stoma can be quite challenging, but having a stoma and enjoying a full and active life is still achievable.

Initial feelings - a stoma is a huge change in your life, and it may impact how you feel about yourself. You might feel low in your mood, anxious, or like you have no control over your body. It can take a long time to come to terms with these changes emotionally, not to mention the challenges of physically managing the stoma itself.

Stoma in everyday life - you may have some initial discomfort or pain, but usually this will subside once you have recovered from the initial surgery. You will learn how to tackle everyday tasks such as cleaning your stoma, fitting your stoma bag and preventing leaks and accidents from happening. Once you have fully recovered from surgery, you should be able to resume your life as normal.

Working with a stoma - you should be able to resume your duties at work once you’ve fully recovered from your surgery. You may feel anxious about telling your employer about your stoma, or you may feel you need a phased return to work to help reacclimatise yourself to your job. Either way, it is best to speak to an HR representative about how your place of work is going to support your return.

Useful Information

Bile Duct Injury

What is bile?

Bile is a fluid in the digestive system that is stored in the gall bladder, which helps to break down food and get rid of toxins from the body.

Bile ducts and the biliary system

The biliary system is made up of a series of tubes and organs, beginning with the liver and ending with the small intestine. There is also a number of bile ducts, such as the common bile duct and the hepatic duct.

Causes of bile duct injuries

Injuries to the bile duct are most common during laparoscopic gall bladder surgery, where it may be cut, pinched or burned. If the bile duct is injured then it will not function correctly, which could result in bile leaking into the abdomen or a blockage of the normal flow of bile. This can be very painful, and even deadly, if not treated.

Symptoms

Bile duct injuries could cause the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling
  • Jaundice
  • Chills

Treatment and surgery

Once the injury to the bile duct has been noted, the main goal is to manage the infection and leakage caused by the injury. The surgeon may have to reconstruct the bile duct using a piece of intestine to bypass the blockage.

Most bile duct injuries are successfully repaired but in severe cases the patient may require months of recovery time.

Small bowel resection

This surgery removes part or all of your small bowel (small intestine) when it is blocked or diseased.

Most digestion (breaking down and absorbing nutrients) of the food you eat takes place in the small intestine. The surgery can be performed laparoscopically or with open surgery.

Small bowel resection is used to treat:

  • A blockage in the intestine caused by scar tissue or congenital (from birth) deformities
  • Bleeding, infection, or ulcers caused by inflammation of the small intestine. Conditions that may cause inflammation include regional ileitis, regional enteritis, and Crohn's disease
  • Cancer
  • Carcinoid tumor
  • Meckel's diverticulum
  • Noncancerous (benign) tumors
  • Precancerous polyps

Most people who have a small bowel resection recover fully. Even with an ileostomy, most people are able to do the activities they were doing before their surgery. This includes most sports, travel, gardening, hiking, and other outdoor activities, and most types of work. If a large part of your small intestine was removed, you may have problems with loose stools and getting enough nutrients from the food you eat.

Chron’s Disease

This is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system.

Inflammation most commonly occurs in the last section of the small intestine (called the ileum) or the large intestine (the colon). However, the inflammation can affect any part of the digestive system, from the mouth to the back passage.

Symptoms of Chron's Disease include:

  • diarrhoea
  • abdominal pain
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • unintended weight loss
  • blood and mucus in your faeces

The exact cause of Crohn's disease is unknown. However, research suggests a combination of factors may be responsible. These include:

  • genetics
  • the immune system
  • previous infection
  • smoking
  • environmental factors

There's currently no cure for Crohn's disease, so the aim of treatment is to stop the inflammatory process, relieve symptoms (induce and maintain remission) and avoid surgery wherever possible.

The first treatment offered to reduce symptoms is usually steroid medication (corticosteroids). If this doesn't help, medication to suppress the immune system (immunosuppressants) and medication to reduce inflammation may be used.

In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove the inflamed section of intestine.

Crohn's disease is a relatively uncommon condition. There are currently at least 115,000 people living with the condition in the UK.

Stoma

A stoma is an opening on the front of your abdomen (tummy) which is made using surgery. It diverts your faeces or urine into a pouch (bag) on the outside of your body.

Stoma.jpg

A stoma is a bud-like structure, which sits on the surface of your skin on your abdomen. It’s formed during surgery and can be either temporary (and reversed later) or permanent. A stoma collects faeces from your bowel or urine from your urinary tract, which have been diverted from their normal route through the body.

Once you have a stoma fitted, you should be able to carry on with life as normal. You need to keep it clean and change the collection bag regularly.

You may need to have an ileostomy or colostomy if you have bowel cancer or inflammatory bowel disease. Sometimes a temporary stoma is created to allow an internal join in your bowel to heal after surgery. You may need to have a urostomy if you have surgery for bladder cancer, severe urinary incontinence or damage to your pelvis.

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