Real Life Stories

Compensation For Surgical Errors: Scarring Results From Careless Use of Equipment

We acted for a young woman who was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism in her teens. As part of her treatment she required surgery at the age of 18 to remove her parathyroid, which unusually was located in her chest (the parathyroid is usually located in the neck).

To gain access to her parathyroid the surgeons had to use a piece of medical equipment called a sternal spreading retractor (see image below), which essentially spreads open the sternal cavity allowing surgeons more space for manoeuvrability. 

Surgeon's careless use of equipment results in scarring

Unfortunately, in our client’s case the surgeon's careless use of the equipment meant that the arm of the rib spreader caught a small area of skin on our client’s left breast. As a result, our client sustained a disc-shaped scar to her left breast approximately 1 inch in length. The scar was prominent and could be seen when our client wore a bikini or certain tops.

As a young body conscious girl, this scarring had a significant impact on our client’s self-confidence, she considered the scar unsightly and was very conscious of this.  

When the client instructed us, we proceeded to investigate the circumstances of the injury by obtaining copies of all her relevant medical records. We received and reviewed our client’s records and, upon doing so we were confident that the physicians involved in our client’s care had a case to answer.

We then obtained a report from an independent medical expert of the same discipline as those involved in our client’s treatment. This report confirmed that our client’s doctors had acted poorly in causing an injury and that if the sternal spreading retractor had been used with greater care, the injury to our client’s left breast would not have occurred. Our expert also confirmed that our client’s scar was permanent and of a type which does not respond well to treatment.

Once in possession of this evidence we wrote a letter of claim to the relevant Trust setting out our allegations of negligence against them. As in all medical negligence cases the Trust involved had four months to conduct their own investigations into the incident and respond to us accordingly.

NHS Trust admits negligence

Upon conclusion of the four-month period, the Trust wrote to us admitting that their staff had been negligent. Our client was keen to bring about a swift conclusion to the claim and therefore we successfully negotiated a settlement with the other side which accurately reflected the injuries our client had suffered, both psychologically and physically. Our client received her cheque for compensation within 6 months of our writing the letter of claim to the Trust, while avoiding court proceedings.

Our client says in respect of her experience:

I would recommend IBB Law, as they remained professional and considerate throughout the progress of my claim, always kept me informed of any changes that happened as the claim progressed, and were generally very helpful, understanding and compassionate.


Contact our experienced and compassionate medical negligence experts today

At IBB Claims, we encourage you to speak to our experienced medical negligence solicitors if you wish to bring a clinical negligence claim against a doctor, nurse, dentist, surgeon or care-worker, or other health professional. We believe the contract between doctor and patient should not be breached, and the level of care they provide to their patients should be of a certain standard at all times. Everyone makes mistakes, but when the cost is the suffering of a patient, we believe that patient deserves to receive answers and compensation from the negligence they experienced.

If you are the victim of medical negligence, call us today on 0333 123 9099 to begin your claim or write to us at