A woman has successfully resolved her claim for a doctor failing to consider a phobia while he was performing a thyroidectomy on her.
Sylvia Ramsay (66) admits she has an irrational fear of medical instruments and surgical items, but it is something that has plagued her since she was a child. In 2010, Sylvia needed a thyroidectomy and only agreed to undergo the procedure when she heard that the procedure could be performed using dissolvable stitches rather than metal clips.
Prior to undergoing the procedure at the Spire Roding Hospital in Essex, Sylvia explained her phobia to consultant surgeon Dr Akinyada Ojo. As far as Sylvia was aware, Dr Ojo understood that she had a phobia about medical instruments and that he would conduct the surgery using the dissolvable stitches.
However, a year after undergoing the thyroidectomy, Sylvia was referred to a specialist after complaining of breathing difficulties. In order to assist with his diagnosis, the specialist took an X-ray of Sylvia´s throat that revealed the presence of twenty-five metal clips.
Sylvia told her local newspaper she panicked and became a nervous wreck. She had to undergo months of therapy before she was even able to contemplate surgery to have the metal clips removed. Eventually she found the strength to undergo more surgery in 2013.
After speaking with a solicitor, Sylvia made a claim for a doctor failing to consider a phobia against Dr Ojo and the Spire Roding Hospital. Dr Ojo denied that he had deliberately gone against her wishes and attributed the error to a misunderstanding.
A lengthy period of unsuccessful negotiation was followed by the issuing of court proceedings. Only then was a satisfactory resolution to Sylvia´s claim for a doctor failing to consider a phobia forthcoming – although the settlement was made without an admission of liability.
“I know this is not a rational reaction but it is not something I can control,” Sylvia told her local newspaper after her claim for a doctor failing to consider a phobia had been settled. “It’s like putting an arachnophobe into a room full of spiders and telling them not to be so silly.”