FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Essex, UK, 28 November 2023— Gadsby Wicks, a specialist medical negligence firm serving clients in Essex and East Anglia, achieved a successful result for their client after a fundamental surgical failure led to a poor outcome with their breast reconstruction surgery.
Tami Frankel, a highly experienced solicitor and Partner at Gadsby Wicks, led this case, helping her client claim for the medical negligence they endured and secure the compensation they were seeking.
The client Miss G (anonymised to respect her identity) was admitted to hospital to undergo a delayed breast reconstruction. She had received a mastectomy several years earlier for breast cancer, which was followed by courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
At a pre-operative consultation with her surgeon, Miss G was advised that she was suitable for a free flap reconstruction using the deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP).
“A DIEP flap procedure is a surgical technique where tissue taken from the patient’s lower abdomen is used to reconstruct their breast tissue following a mastectomy,” explains Tami Frankel, the solicitor who supported Miss G’s case.
“It’s a type of autologous tissue reconstruction, meaning the patient’s own tissue is used to reconstruct the breast rather than using implants. Many take this route as it can lead to a more natural look and feel and, once the tissue is properly integrated to the chest, can last for the remainder of a patient’s lifetime.”
DIEP flap surgery was carried out on Miss G. The following day, her surgeon informed her that it had taken them a long time to identify a suitable blood supply for this graft. During this delay, the DIEP flap, which had already been taken from Miss G, was without blood supply.
“If a DIEP flap is without blood supply for an extended period of time, the tissue in the flap will begin to die, and potentially result in the reconstruction being unsuccessful,” states Frankel.
Sadly, this delay meant Miss G’s graft failed, and had to be removed days after the surgery. This left a defect over her chest, which needed to be filled using a full thickness skin graft from the inside of her upper left arm.
Furthermore, Miss G was informed by her surgeon that there was no further form of breast reconstruction available to her. Instead, she was offered a series of fat transfers in an effort to provide a small mound in this place, so her appearance while wearing clothing would be more natural.
Gadsby Wicks pursued this claim on Miss G’s behalf on the basis that the surgeon made a fundamental error in dividing the donor flap vessels on the abdomen before adequate recipient vessels on the chest had been identified.
“The recipient vessels for this procedure should have been identified and tested well in advance of the flap vessels being divided from my client’s abdomen,” says Frankel.
“The prolonged difficulty in finding suitable vessels caused a delay that sadly meant the graft didn’t work as intended.”
It was determined that, on the balance of probabilities, if suitable and adequate recipient vessels were identified prior to dividing the flap, the procedure would likely have led to a successful outcome.
When Gadsby Wicks issued proceedings against the defendant, they initially denied both breach of duty and causation of Miss G’s injuries and poor outcome. However, the claim did settle before it reached a Costs and Case Management Conference (CCMC).
“After unfortunately losing her breast to cancer, my client was very much looking forward to a reconstruction that would help her feel whole again,” explains Frankel.
“Due to this major surgical error, not only did her surgery fail, but it means that she sadly will never have the opportunity to fill that void again. As you would imagine, this outcome deeply affected her emotionally as well as physically.”
“While it sadly cannot turn back the clock, I was proud to help her find closure and secure the compensation she deserved from the defendants.”
For Gadsby Wicks, this is one of numerous surgical error cases they take on every year, which includes claims for complications during cosmetic surgeries, orthopaedic surgeries, gynaecological surgeries and claims for infections contracted before, during or after surgery.
About Gadsby Wicks:
Gadsby Wicks Solicitors is the only specialist medical negligence firm in Essex and East Anglia. Founded in 1993, every year they help people claim millions in compensation for delayed treatment, medical misdiagnosis, birth injuries, surgical complications and more.
With an extensive level of legal and clinical understanding throughout their team of medical negligence experts, Gadsby Wicks is considered one of the top firms in their field. They work tirelessly to support their clients through the most difficult and complex circumstances, settling 96% of their cases outside of court.
Gadsby Wicks is the first firm in England to have two or more lawyers accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). They are also ranked in the 2024 Chambers UK Legal Guide, and Managing Partner Gillian Gadsby is both on the Clinical Negligence Specialist Panel for Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA), and listed in the Legal 500 Hall of Fame for “Clinical Negligence: Claimant”.
For more information, visit their website at www.gadsbywicks.co.uk, or call their team on 01245 494929.