Successful claim against Ipswich Hospital for peritonitis

Mr GW had a long history of ulcerative colitis (UC) from 1994. Mr GW’s condition was a debilitating, inflammatory condition of his large bowel. Despite his condition, he was independent, an active foster carer and had a good quality of life with his partner with whom he travelled abroad frequently.

Mr GW was treated for many years with steroids to control his condition but still suffered relapses such that by February 2010 he underwent a laparoscopic sub-total colectomy and proctectomy (surgical resection of his large bowel). Subsequently, in October 2011, Mr GW underwent surgical formation of an ileal pouch which was a difficult operation and which resulted in long term urinary catheterisation.

Against this background, Mr GW underwent surgical reversal of his loop ileostomy and was admitted to hospital on 17th April 2012. Following this difficult surgery, the contemporaneous surgical notes recorded Mr GW’s bowel was dusky (under perfused with oxygenated blood) by 19th April 2012.

Shortly after his transfer from theatre back to the surgical ward following his surgery, Mr GW began to exhibit signs his recovery was becoming problematic with a rise in his temperature, c-reactive protein level and white cell count all consistent with a developing intra-abdominal sepsis. By the 20th April 2012, Mr GW had deteriorated quite significantly and certainly by 21st April 2012 it should have been clear he was developing peritonitis from a leaking anastomosis.

The Defendant’s clinicians did not intervene with exploratory imaging investigations and surgery until 22nd April 2012 by which time Mr GW had developed 4 quadrant peritonitis and was in a parlous state. Mr GW underwent corrective surgery but was in ITU for 8 days and hospital for 7 weeks. He lost his ability to undertake foster care work and so his income plummeted, he required considerable non commercial care support from his partner for some time and became depressed.

Peter Flory was able to obtain supportive evidence from a leading Professor of colorectal surgery to advice Mr GW’s case and issued and served proceedings against Ipswich Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The Claim was robustly defended by The Trust’s Solicitors instructed by the National Health Service Litigation Authority who served a Defence denying liability on the basis that Mr GW’s underlying condition had always been poor and that intervention was not mandated until 21 / 22 April 2012 in any event which would have meant Mr GW suffering the same adverse outcome.

Peter was steadfast in his support of the claim, and advanced the claim through virtually all stages of a Directions timetable Case Managed by a Master in the High Court in London.

Sadly Mr GW died of unrelated mesothelioma in February 2016 before Peter was able to settle the claim by negotiation 2 months before trial in October 2016 for the global sum of £50,000 for Mr GW’s widow who had been substituted as the Claimant to bring the claim on behalf of Mr GW’s estate following his death.

Mrs SW said of Peter Flory’s legal services provided to her and her late husband after the settlement was achieved

“I hope you and your family are well. I just want to thank you for all your hard work and the tremendous support that you gave G and me throughout this claim, and of course the help and support since G’s passing. I want to thank you for getting the result that G agreed last year with you. I am sorry for being emotional on the phone any mention of his name is still very raw let alone this case which was something he was passionate about and unfortunately was unable to see it through to the end.
Thank you for continuing with the case and seeing it through to the end. Thank you again for being so caring and supportive over the last few years G was grateful and would have been more grateful at the end result. You have done him proud and words just could not express my gratitude.

Kind regards
S

PS. My only regret is that I will miss your communication and care and compassion.”