A woman, who had to undergo a tracheostomy operation after a negligent doctor severed a nerve in her neck in a previous surgical procedure, has won an undisclosed settlement of injury to windpipe compensation.
Joanne Roche (42) from Bridlington, East Yorkshire, underwent the original procedure in February 2008 at the Scarborough Royal Infirmary when she was admitted for routine surgery to remove a thyroid gland. However, when she awoke from the anaesthetic, Joanne knew instantly that something was wrong.
The surgeon who had conducted the operation – Dr Nayef El-Bhargouti – had cut a nerve to Joanne´s vocal chords, which were blocking her airways, leaving her struggling to breathe whenever she lay back and unable to talk.
Although she was allowed to return home, and even return to her part-time job as a health-care assistant, Joanne´s condition failed to improve. Four months after her initial operation she had to undergo a tracheostomy operation to insert a tube into her throat to allow her to breathe more clearly.
Joanne, initially had no intention of filing a claim for windpipe injury compensation, but after the tracheostomy had been inserted, Joanne was unable to speak without placing a hand over the opening in her throat, has become more prone to infections and has to avoid family events – such as swimming – where there is a risk that water may get into her lungs.
After speaking to her legal advisors, Joanne made a medical negligence claim against Dr Nayef El-Bhargouti and the Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Trust. In the course of building the claim, Joanne´s solicitors discovered that Dr Nayef El-Bhargouti was not skilled in thyroid surgery and her operation had been done in half the time it should have.
Ms Roche made a complaint to the General Medical Council, who suspended the doctor from practising. After such a clear indication of liability, the Scarborough and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust made an undisclosed offer of compensation for injury to windpipe which Joanne accepted and which will enable her to afford special breathing apparatus so that she may enjoy swimming with her children once again.