The Claimant (“C”), a 57 year old woman, received £85,500 after she underwent re-implantation surgery to her left breast in January 2003 when she had allegedly not yet recovered from an open sinus.
As a result of an earlier operation to remove an infected implant. She suffered a depressive reaction, pain and numbness in her breast and was left with asymmetrical breasts and scarring.
C had undergone a bilateral breast augmentation mammoplasty, carried out by the Defendant (D), who was a Consultant plastic and Aesthetic surgeon. Aa a result of which she suffered from pain and infection in the left breast, and the implant was therefore removed in September 2002. After this operation, C was referred for treatment as she had an open wound in the crease of her left breast and it was oozing fluid. Although there did not seem to be any signs of infection since October 2002, it was noted that in December 2002 that the granulating sinus in the crease of the left breast was still open but was settling and it was treated with some silver nitrate to help healing. In January D carried out re-implantation surgery to the C’s left breast.
After the operation, C’s left breast became infected again. She was referred to a different surgeon who corrected the scarring at the top and bottom of the breast in April 2004 and in August 2004 inserted an expanding breast implant to try and expand the breast.
In February 2005, the expanding breast implant was removed and another implant inserted and a breast uplift was performed on the right breast.
C sustained injury and therefore made a claim against the D alleging that the re-implantation surgery in January 2003 was carried out when she still had an open wound in the crease of her breast.
Liability was disputed. D argued that the surgery had not been carried out too early or caused reinfection and that the C’s wound had healed by the day of surgery and therefore it was safe to carry out the surgery on that date. D argued that many of the problems which C continued to suffer were as a result of the original infection after her surgery in August 2002 and not as a result of the infection after her surgery in January 2003.
C suffered permanent and continuous numbness in her left breast and nipple with rare occasions of shooting pains through her breast. Although her breasts were reasonably symmetrical when she had clothes on, they were in fact asymmetrical in shape, size and position of her nipples. Her left breast felt lumpy when examined by touch and she had a visible scar in the lower boundary of the breast and in the upper section of the breast.
C also, unsurprisingly, suffered from a stress response to her body image causing significant levels of distress and an anxiety disorder of her husband seeing her naked.
C’s occupation was affected by the continuous pain and suffering and the number of surgical procedures she underwent.
Prognosis: Due to a further surgical intervention being extremely difficult, the prognosis was uncertain.
Out of the settlement figure, £39,834 was allocated to C’s pain and suffering and the future cost of surgery at £14,753 with the balance relating to financial losses.