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Laparoscopic sterilisation

Defendants: East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust

The Facts

A 30 year old lady underwent an elective laparoscopic or keyhole sterilisation. The operation had to be converted to an open procedure due to complications during the procedure.

2 days following the sterilisation surgery, her condition began to deteriorate. She was examined and a diagnosis was made that she had an inflamed pancreas.

She became progressively more unwell with severe abdominal pain and fever but it was not until 5 days later that she was diagnosed with peritonitis and by this time she had severe damage to her bowel, fallopian tube and ovary. She underwent surgery for a second time and had to have a great deal of tissue excised and repaired.

8 days after the initial operation she needed surgery a third time and had to have a colostomy as the bowel had been so damaged by the peritonitis.

She was able to go home some three months after her initial surgery. She needed a fourth operation some 9 months later to reverse the colostomy.


The 1st operation was performed negligently in that the bowel had been damaged and the surgeon had not noticed. When she developed severe symptoms following surgery, they were not investigated adequately so the diagnosis of peritonitis was not made. There was a delay in diagnosis of 5 days and as a result she needed several unnecessary operations and was left with extensive scarring and psychological injuries.


High court proceedings were issued and served and a trial date obtained. Several offers were made to settle the case but these were rejected. Shortly before trial an offer of settlement of £375,000 was made and she wished to accept. Therefore she client received a settlement of £375,000 damages.