Surgical line left in woman’s heart after operation
A woman has received £55,000 compensation after a surgeon left a venous line in her heart when she was a child.
The woman was born with a congenital heart disease. She had open heart surgery in 1982, 1988 and 1993 at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
In 2009, during cardiac investigations it was discovered that the venous line was in the inside chamber of the woman’s heart. A venous line is a fine tube that is fed into a patient’s vein to administer medicine or take blood samples. The one left in the woman’s heart was approximately 10cm long.
The woman had to undergo a series of treatments as doctors tried various medications to limit any damage the line might cause. They were wary of an operation to remove it because of its position.
However, several months passed and the woman’s health worsened. Examinations showed that the line had migrated further into the woman’s heart and was interfering with her heart valve.
It was decided that an operation was necessary. The woman had surgery in 2010 and the line was successfully removed.
She recovered reasonably well, apart from developing atrial dysrhythmia which caused symptoms of strong palpitations, exhaustion, nausea, anxiety and dizziness.
As a result of her condition, the woman suffers from breathlessness after short periods of exercise limiting her ability to carry out day to day tasks. She was also forced to delay starting a family due to her condition.
The woman brought an action against the hospital that operated on her as a child. She claimed it had been negligent in leaving the venous line in her heart. The error had affected her for her entire childhood and will continue to impact on the rest of her life.
The hospital admitted liability and an out-of-court settlement of £55,000 was agreed.
Madeline Seibert said: “When patients go into hospital for an operation they are placing their trust in the doctors. It is horrifying to think that this woman had a foreign object left in her heart. Rightfully, she was compensated for the pain and suffering she has endured because of the negligence of the surgeon in question.”
Please contact Madeline if you would like information or advice about making a clinical neglignece claim