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Medical negligence - Incapacity Benefit


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I was a bit unsure whether to post this in the NHS section or the Benefits section but rather than fret about that, I'll just get on with it as I'm sure a moderator will move it if necessary.

 

This is a bit of a saga, I'm sorry, so I'll try to break it down into bite sized chronological chunks. I have been deliberately nonspecific where possible as some of this is a little personal and I'd like to preserve my anonymity.

 

I have a history of depression spanning possibly back to when I was 11 in 1971. It certainly spans back to when I was in the Forces between 1976 and 1986.

 

In 1996 my then partner left and took our two children away to live with her previous boyfriend in another EU country and I haven't seen them since. Unsurprisingly my depression became much deeper.

 

About two years ago I had routine keyhole surgery to treat a hiatus hernia - a Nissen Fundoplication. I should have been in hospital for between 24 and 48 hours and been left with a couple of tiny scars. I was due to start a very well paid new job a week after the operation.

 

About midnight on the night of the operation I started getting severe pains which went from my lower right abdomen to my left shoulder which got worse and worse. My self-administrating pain relief was empty and it became unbearable. I called a nurse who briefly came and then left me. As the pain got still worse, I began crying out and the nurse came back and told me to keep quiet as I was disturbing the other patients.

 

I asked that they phone my partner but they refused saying it was too late. I found my mobile and called myself. Despite being in agony, I was watching the time as there was a clock on the wall right in front of me.

 

Another nurse came along and tried to replace my pain relief but said she could not find my prescription. I could not understand why she didn't just look at the empty container in the equipment. After about half an hour it was finally replaced.

 

It wasn't until about two hours later that a doctor turned up. I remember little after this as I think I was anaesthetised. I remember being woken up and asked to sign a form - I later found out that this was a consent form to perform another operation.

 

The next thing I knew, I woke up in intensive care. I could hardly move and my body was swollen from my waist down. I had a scar from my sternum to about two inches below my navel and tubes coming out everywhere, my stomach, hand and neck. My scrotum was swollen like a haggis with a catheter coming out of it - my penis had been drawn into the swelling. I was in a lot of distress.

 

I was informed that during the surgery my stomach had been punctured. Its content had been emptying into my abdominal cavity - hence the pain.

 

I spent the next two and a half weeks in intensive care and special high care unit. I had pneumonia and twice had to have half a litre of fluid removed from my left lung. I could not stand up and when I was finally helped out of bed it took two physiotherapist to support me as I shuffled a few feet.

 

The consultant who had performed the original operation rarely saw me but when he did he was aggressive both verbally and physically. When he drew fluid from my lung he did so without anaesthetic - despite one of his assistants seeing my pain suggesting he do so. When he inserted a suppository, he did so with such excessive force that I was left in pain and tears The nursing staff had to my partner at home to come in and comfort me.

 

After being discharged, I could not walk very far and was constantly tired. I developed constant diarrhoea and severe flatulence - up to 30 times a day. There was no way I could start the job I had been offered. I had a drain from my stomach which I had to dress which sometimes leaked.

 

My depression took a severe turn for the worse but I resisted pharmaceutical treatment for about six months. When I finally started taking medication, it had some positive effect on the diarrhoea - though I frequently had to get up during the night and would have several 'accidents'. It all became a way of life. The hospital could find nothing wrong with me and my GP diagnosed the problem as IBS.

 

I was getting very frustrated being stuck at home and I sought help to get back to work. I was found a job driving kids with special needs to and from school which I loved. I still had the diarrhoea problem but having a toilet at every child's house and one at school made it manageable. After several months I injured my back pushing a large young adult in his wheelchair up a ramp. I did everything I could to avoid stopping work - I stressed to my doctor that I wanted to keep my job - and my boss had a lift installed in my minibus.

 

Unfortunately, when fuel prices peaked in May this year, the route I drove became unprofitable - my employer was losing £40.00 per week - and I was made redundant. Initially, I wasn't really affected but slowly the depression returned - though I was still taking the anti-depressants for the diarrhoea.

 

I got a bit weary of people asking me if I was going to sue the hospital so in order to appease them I contacted a lawyer who after an investigation told me that I had signed a disclaimer (when I was barely conscious) and I didn't have a leg to stand on if I were to make a claim - so that went no further.

 

A month or so later, an old injury to my toe flared up and an X-Ray revealed that it was broken and I needed an operation to remove some bone. Now, several months later, my toe is far more painful than it ever was before.

 

So, my current position is that I am suffering from depression, diarrhoea/flatulence, a bad back and constant pain in my toe. I am receiving Incapacity Benefit and I have been informed that I have to go for an examination with the DWP to assess my situation. I'm quite angry that much of my situation is due to errors when I was in hospital - yet it feels like I am the one being put under investigation. Whether it is a flashback to when I was in the forces or not, I don't know, I feel guilty for being unable to work and as pleasant as my GP is, I don't like asking for sick notes.

 

I can't really think what advice I am seeking but I would be very grateful if somebody could suggest something for my peace of mind.

Edited by Geronimo1
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I was a bit unsure whether to post this in the NHS section or the Benefits section but rather than fret about that, I'll just get on with it as I'm sure a moderator will move it if necessary.

 

This is a bit of a saga, I'm sorry, so I'll try to break it down into bite sized chronological chunks. I have been deliberately nonspecific where possible as some of this is a little personal and I'd like to preserve my anonymity.

 

I have a history of depression spanning possibly back to when I was 11 in 1971. It certainly spans back to when I was in the Forces between 1976 and 1986.

 

In 1996 my then partner left and took our two children away to live with her previous boyfriend in another EU country and I haven't seen them since. Unsurprisingly my depression became much deeper.

 

About two years ago I had routine keyhole surgery to treat a hiatus hernia - a Nissen Fundoplication. I should have been in hospital for between 24 and 48 hours and been left with a couple of tiny scars. I was due to start a very well paid new job a week after the operation.

 

About midnight on the night of the operation I started getting severe pains which went from my lower right abdomen to my left shoulder which got worse and worse. My self-administrating pain relief was empty and it became unbearable. I called a nurse who briefly came and then left me. As the pain got still worse, I began crying out and the nurse came back and told me to keep quiet as I was disturbing the other patients.

 

I asked that they phone my partner but they refused saying it was too late. I found my mobile and called myself. Despite being in agony, I was watching the time as there was a clock on the wall right in front of me.

 

Another nurse came along and tried to replace my pain relief but said she could not find my prescription. I could not understand why she didn't just look at the empty container in the equipment. After about half an hour it was finally replaced. Legally a nurse cannot give drugs withou the prescription chart.

 

It wasn't until about two hours later that a doctor turned up. I remember little after this as I think I was anaesthetised. I remember being woken up and asked to sign a form - I later found out that this was a consent form to perform another operation. It sounds like you needed an emergency operation, whilst they did get you to sign the consent form they could actually have proceeded without it if the surgery was required immediately and was considered life saving.

 

The next thing I knew, I woke up in intensive care. I could hardly move and my body was swollen from my waist down. I had a scar from my sternum to about two inches below my navel and tubes coming out everywhere, my stomach, hand and neck. My scrotum was swollen like a haggis with a catheter coming out of it - my penis had been drawn into the swelling. I was in a lot of distress. I'm afraid this sounds typical of the way the body reacts to the differing fluid levels during critical illness.

 

I was informed that during the surgery my stomach had been punctured. Its content had been emptying into my abdominal cavity - hence the pain. It sounds like you had developed peritonitis - inflammation in the abdominal cavity caused by leaking stomach contents - this can be extremely serious and needs emergency surgery.

 

I spent the next two and a half weeks in intensive care and special high care unit. I had pneumonia and twice had to have half a litre of fluid removed from my left lung. I could not stand up and when I was finally helped out of bed it took two physiotherapist to support me as I shuffled a few feet. Sadly it is not uncommon to develop pneumonia in ICU due in part to the huge amount of stress the body is under and the related reduction in immume system.

 

The consultant who had performed the original operation rarely saw me but when he did he was aggressive both verbally and physically. When he drew fluid from my lung he did so without anaesthetic - despite one of his assistants seeing my pain suggesting he do so. When he inserted a suppository, he did so with such excessive force that I was left in pain and tears The nursing staff had to my partner at home to come in and comfort me. The consultant sounds unpleasant and I would have expected a local anaesthetic to be administered for the procedure.

 

After being discharged, I could not walk very far and was constantly tired. I developed constant diarrhoea and severe flatulence - up to 30 times a day. There was no way I could start the job I had been offered. I had a drain from my stomach which I had to dress which sometimes leaked. I'm afraid an ICU stay will reduce strength and leave you feeling weak as you lose significant muscle mass laid up in bed. I presume your stool was tested for infection.

 

My depression took a severe turn for the worse but I resisted pharmaceutical treatment for about six months. When I finally started taking medication, it had some positive effect on the diarrhoea - though I frequently had to get up during the night and would have several 'accidents'. It all became a way of life. The hospital could find nothing wrong with me and my GP diagnosed the problem as IBS.

 

I was getting very frustrated being stuck at home and I sought help to get back to work. I was found a job driving kids with special needs to and from school which I loved. I still had the diarrhoea problem but having a toilet at every child's house and one at school made it manageable. After several months I injured my back pushing a large young adult in his wheelchair up a ramp. I did everything I could to avoid stopping work - I stressed to my doctor that I wanted to keep my job - and my boss had a lift installed in my minibus.

 

Unfortunately, when fuel prices peaked in May this year, the route I drove became unprofitable - my employer was losing £40.00 per week - and I was made redundant. Initially, I wasn't really affected but slowly the depression returned - though I was still taking the anti-depressants for the diarrhoea.

 

I got a bit weary of people asking me if I was going to sue the hospital so in order to appease them I contacted a lawyer who after an investigation told me that I had signed a disclaimer (when I was barely conscious) and I didn't have a leg to stand on if I were to make a claim - so that went no further. I think the solicitor was referring to the signed consent for the original procedure - you should have been advised of the possible complications and signed to say you were informed of and understood the potential risks - unfortunately all surgery carries risk and most surgeons will consent you for conversion to an open procedure in case they cannot complete the original surgery laparoscopically. Unfortunately organ puncture is a recognised complication and should have been mentioned when you were originally consented - it is not an error per se. It is debatable whether the second consent form was required at all as doctors can proceed without consent in emergency situations to save your life.

Have you attended an ICU follow up clinic - they can be helpful in assisting you to come to terms with everything that happened and understand the events.

 

A month or so later, an old injury to my toe flared up and an X-Ray revealed that it was broken and I needed an operation to remove some bone. Now, several months later, my toe is far more painful than it ever was before. You need to get back in touch with the dr about this.

 

So, my current position is that I am suffering from depression, diarrhoea/flatulence, a bad back and constant pain in my toe. I am receiving Incapacity Benefit and I have been informed that I have to go for an examination with the DWP to assess my situation. I'm quite angry that much of my situation is due to errors when I was in hospital - yet it feels like I am the one being put under investigation. Whether it is a flashback to when I was in the forces or not, I don't know, I feel guilty for being unable to work and as pleasant as my GP is, I don't like asking for sick notes.

 

I can't really think what advice I am seeking but I would be very grateful if somebody could suggest something for my peace of mind.

 

Sorry I can't be more helpful but I thought you might find it useful to have a different perspective. Have you asked your GP for counselling - that might help with the depression and also the bowels if the diarrhoea is stress related.

Poppynurse :)

 

If my comments have been helpful please click my scales!!!!

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Thanks for the reply.

 

Without actually knowing all the legal stuff, I had already kind of accepted what you say. I'm not somebody who wants to sue - it was other people nagging which led to me contacting the solicitor. To be honest, I was just glad to get out of hospital - even though I could barely walk.

 

It is more the fact that I am now in an uncomfortable position in that I am incapacitated as a result of the operation (and other factors) but the hospital has no legal responsibility - yet the DWP (or DSS - not sure what they are nowadays) seem to suggest that if the hospital hasn't done anything wrong there cannot be anything wrong with me.

 

Likewise, I worked when my back was first injured, I carried on working when I should have stopped. When I lost my job the DSS asked if I was going to claim compensation from my employer and had to resist pressure to do so.

 

I stopped going to counselling when I got the driving job - I'm not sure that going over everything again can help - I got counselling fatigue when I was being treated years ago. I think talking only helps so much.

 

I was seeing a consultant but I would have to wait up to two hours after the time of my appointment and after being prodded and asked how I was (to which I would explain about the diarrhoea etc.) I would be told that I would have another appointment in two months. I asked if this was going to happen every time and was told yes. I said that there wasn't much point in making any more appointments.

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  • 1 month later...

Geronimo, it's a bit of a late reply on this and you may already have had the IB medical. But, if not, really try not to worry about it too much.

 

Despite some popular opinions, the doctors employed for these medicals really are impartial and will assess you on your symptoms and, especially with depression, on how you feel about them.

 

If you haven't had it yet, just be honest about the effect it's all having. It sounds like you're not keen on letting stuff like this affect your life - which is admirable, and they will recognise that if you're open and "yourself" with them. Don't try to "big it up" because they'll recognise that as well!

 

I've claimed IB for depression in the past following some pretty nasty personal stuff (without the medical complications you have) and my experience was very much that they really do understand what it's like and will give the support you need.

 

If all goes well following the medical you won't need to obtain and submit sick notes for (probably) a year which is a huge weight lifted and, in itself, a great help towards recovery.

 

If you want to, do post and let us know how things go from here :)

 

Joe

:!:Nothing I post should be taken as legal advice. It is offered as an opinion only.:!:

 

This warning is in my signature because I'm not organised enough to remember to type

it in every post.

 

And you're considering trusting me????:eek:

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