£75,000 obtained for Suffolk man following hospital food mix-up

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Julie Crossley, a medical negligence specialist at Ashtons Legal, has obtained a settlement of £75,000 for a man who suffered a perforated oesophagus as a result of being given the wrong food whilst under the care of a Suffolk hospital.

Mr C had a history of difficulty with swallowing and was scheduled to undergo surgery on his oesophagus at the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. He was advised that he would need to be on a strict liquid diet before and after the surgery took place.

Mr C made good progress on day one postoperatively in the intensive care unit and was informed that he could try fizzy drinks and gradually build up to eating soft foods. Despite being told this, he was given a tuna sandwich to eat by a member of staff. His partner checked this with the nursing staff who advised that he was on a normal diet.

Immediately after eating the sandwich Mr C experienced severe pain and difficulty with breathing. An x-ray showed that he had suffered a 5cm oesophageal perforation at the operation site.

Several days later Mr C was transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where he underwent a further ten procedures and needed to remain in hospital for seven weeks.

Mr C was unable to work for five months and remains unable to carry out any physical labour.

Julie comments: “This was an unusual case whereby it was clear from the medical notes that perforation was a post-operative risk of this surgery and that his diet was an important factor in his recovery. As a result of the confusion about his dietary requirements he had to undergo many more procedures and spend far longer in hospital than he would have had to, had the prescribed diet been adhered to.”

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