Compensation for negligent medical treatment resulting in total deafness
My client is a 42 year old lady who sadly has a significant history of serious problems with her ears
Some time ago she required surgery to remove disease from her right ear. As a result of this surgery she was left with a dead right ear. Later she began to have problems with her left ear.
She was seen by the surgeon who had dealt with her right ear and he did not recommend any further surgery to her left. In fact, he suggested that she would benefit from bone anchored hearing aids.
My client changed hospitals and was given a second opinion by another consultant ENT surgeon. This surgeon had a different view and recommended surgery known as a combined approach tymponoplasty. An implant known as a total ossicular replacement prosthesis implant (TORP) was used during this procedure.
Immediately after the operation it was noted that the residual hearing that my client had had prior to the surgery was lost altogether and she was rendered totally deaf.
There was no surgical procedure that could reinstate her hearing and she was referred for a cochlear implant. The implant was eventually undertaken some 10 months later.
When the TORP implant was removed from my client’s ear it was noted to be displaced by some 9 mm.
I approached a consultant ENT surgeon to review my client’s medical records and to give his opinion of the surgery that was carried out.
His immediate response was to say that it is a basic rule in otology that one does not operate on the only hearing ear.
Further he went to say that two ear surgeons had already seen my client and advised against surgery.
With a little help from me, my client went through the hospital complaints procedure. She received a written apology. The NHS Trust indicated that it would be prepared to settle her claim on a without prejudice basis. We set about identifying the loss that she had suffered by looking at how she would have been had the negligent medical treatment not happened as compared with how life is for her now.
I returned to the medical expert to ask him to set out in a condition and prognosis report the difference in the quality of my client’s hearing between that which she would have had had she remained partially deaf with a bone anchored hearing aid and complete deafness with the cochlear implant.
The expert explained that because my client is a good lip reader, in a quiet situation if she can lip read she appears to be hearing very well but that the quality of hearing with a cochlear implant is far inferior to the hearing that she probably would have achieved with a conventional hearing aid or a bone anchored hearing aid had the surgery not taken place.
After some brief negotiations with the NHS Litigation Authority, my client agreed to accept the sum of £60,000 in settlement of her claim made up of both general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity and financial losses including something towards the future upkeep of her cochlear implant.