5 figure settlement secured after Breach of Duty results in nerve damage

3rd January 2018 by

Jonathan Austen-Jones represented the Claimant in her claim for damages arising from the alleged clinical negligence at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

In August 2013 the Claimant underwent a biopsy of a blocked salivary gland performed by a doctor in the Maxillofacial Department of the hospital.  In preparation for this procedure when seeking the Claimant’s consent, the doctor only advised the Claimant that the risks of such a procedure were limited to pain, bleeding, bruising and swelling.  At no time was the Claimant advised of the risks that she might suffer damage to the nerves in this area leading to permanently altered sensation in her lips or mouth.  Had she been so advised it was the Claimant’s case that she would have opted for a “wait and see” approach.

Following the procedure the Claimant experienced altered sensation in her left lower lip and chin and although initially advised it would improve with time, it did not and it was ultimately regarded as permanent.

Histology of the biopsy taken showed that during the procedure the left mental nerve was either damaged or removed leading to this altered sensation.  The Claimant was not informed of this finding in subsequent consultations and it was only discovered when records were reviewed when Jonathan started investigating this claim.

The Claimant suffered damage to the mental nerve leaving her with permanently altered sensation in her lower lip and chin and as a consequence was diagnosed as suffering with an Adjustment Disorder of moderate severity for which treatment was recommended comprising of EMDR and/or CBT.

Following review of the Claimant’s medical records Jonathan obtained supportive medical expert opinion on breach of duty and causation from a Consultant in Oral Maxillofacial Surgery and from a Consultant Psychiatrist on condition and prognosis to deal with the psychological harm suffered.

Jonathan sent a Letter of Claim to the hospital trust on behalf of the Claimant and the hospital conceded that the Claimant was not warned of the possible lip/chin numbness and accepted that it was substandard to have permanently damaged the mental nerve at biopsy.  Accordingly, breach of duty was admitted and in respect of causation it was conceded that as a consequence of the admitted breach of duty the Claimant was now suffering with altered sensation.  Initially, no admissions were made in respect of any psychological damage suffered.

Jonathan secured the Claimant an interim payment so that she could undergo the psychological treatment recommended by the psychiatric expert.

After the Claimant had completed her treatment she instructed Jonathan that she wished to settle her claim and following negotiations Jonathan was successful in securing the Claimant a 5 figure settlement.

For further information on this topic or any other service we provide, please contact us at enquiries@healys.com