Negotiations are underway to settle a claim for negligent post-operation care after a teenage girl was brain damaged following an appendectomy procedure.
In September 2011, fifteen-year-old Anna White from Wigan was admitted to the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary for a routine appendectomy procedure. The operation was performed successfully but, while Anna was recovering, she started convulsing.
Anna´s mother called a nurse for assistance, but Anna suffered a cardiac arrest while waiting for medical help to arrive. Due to the delay in resuscitating her, Anna´s brain was deprived of oxygen – due to which she suffered brain damage and now has catastrophic disabilities.
Now aged nineteen, Anna´s intellectual ability is unimpaired, but she is unable to get out of bed or move from her wheelchair without specialist equipment. Anna cannot feed herself or wash without help and is only able to communicate by looking at letters on a board to spell out words. Doctors say Anna will remain “locked in” her body for the remainder of her life.
The care that was provided for Anna after her surgery was investigated and it was discovered that the tube used to deliver anaesthetic to Anna during the appendectomy procedure was not flushed out properly after it had been used. A small dose of the anaesthetic remained inside it and, when fluids were administered to Anna through the same tube during her recovery, the remaining anaesthetic was delivered into her body, causing her to go into cardiac arrest.
Anna´s mother sought legal advice and made a claim for negligent post-operation care against the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust. After a lengthy delay, the NHS Trust admitted liability, and negotiations to settle the claim for negligent post-operation care have started to provide Anna with the funds to support the specialist care she will need for the rest of her life.
A spokesperson for the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Trust has admitted that the care it provided to Anna White fell below an acceptable standard, and has apologised unreservedly to Ms White for this. The Trust has implemented a number of changes to eliminate the possibility of this type of failing occurring in the future”.