We helped a client who was wrongfully put under a general anaesthetic.

Scenario
Our client underwent shoulder surgery at Spire Parkway Hospital in July 2016. His orthopaedic surgeon was Mr Habib Rahman.

Concerns were later raised regarding Mr Rahman’s practices. The Royal College of Surgeons conducted an independent review, which in turn led to Spire Healthcare Ltd reviewing a large number of patients who had been under Mr Rahman’s care. The Care Quality Commission was also involved.

Our client was informed that Mr Rahman was wrong to put him under a general anaesthetic. The procedure could have been undertaken in outpatients without general anaesthetic. Our investigations identified additional areas of concern too.

What was our role?
We obtained copies of our client’s entire medical records for the surgery and at other hospitals and his GP too. Our analysis of the records led us to question whether our client had been adequately advised of the risks of the surgery and his consent to the surgery properly given. 

In particular, our client’s first language is not English but Mr Rahman only discussed the surgery with him in English (with an attempt at translation by his teenage daughter), the consent form was all in English and it was not translated to him before he was asked to sign it.

In addition to failing to overcome the language barrier to advise and obtain consent in his own language, Mr Rahman also failed to advise on all the risks of surgery or the other options available. This meant our client could not weigh up the options and make an informed decision. This is a fundamental element of a doctor’s duty when obtaining a patient’s consent to surgery, treatment, or the use of medication.

We instructed an independent medical expert who found yet another failure by Mr Rahman. The expert advised that our client did not need two out of the three procedures Mr Rahman performed whilst he was under general anaesthetic - hydrodistension and manipulation of the shoulder were unnecessary and the procedure should have been limited to an injection alone. 

We secured admissions of liability - it was admitted that Mr Rahman breached his duty of care in not obtaining informed consent; putting our client under a general anaesthetic; and performing the unnecessary two procedures. We secured compensation for our client.

How did we add value?
We found that Mr Rahman’s failures went beyond the one error our client was told about. Without our investigations, he would have been left unaware that Mr Rahman let him down in these other ways too. This has also made those investigating the care Mr Rahman provided to many other patients aware that he might have failed in his duties to patients in more ways than first thought. 

We secured admissions of legal liability which would not have happened if a clinical negligence claim had not been brought. 

The first monetary settlement offer made to our client was approximately a quarter of what we achieved for him at the conclusion of our negotiations. This compensation could be used to pay for private physiotherapy in the future if he wishes.