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        Case Study: Ms T

        After much thought, Ms T took the decision to undergo breast augmentation surgery. She made every effort to extensively research the procedure which she eventually underwent in May 2012.

        In the aftermath of the surgery, Ms T did not have any meeting with her surgeon and was discharged that next morning with pain relief and a follow up appointment arranged the following week.

        At that appointment the dressing was removed; it was immediately clear to Miss T that there was a significant asymmetry between the breasts. She also noticed that she had an angry abrasion below her right breast. Over the next few days this started to discharge a yellow puss, indicating the breast was infected, causing Miss T serious alarm. She attended her GP, who told her it appeared that she had suffered a serious burn and prescribed antibiotics for the infection.
        Unhappy with both the scarring and the irregularity, Ms T arranged her first post-operative meeting with her surgeon a full month and a half after the surgery. Initially, the surgeon tried to suggest that the scarring was due to the removal of the towels post operatively which were secured by surgical glue. However, he eventually went back on this hypothesis when it was pointed out by Miss T that the abrasion was more similar to a burn. The surgeon admitted that it was most likely a diathermy burn and that he was entirely responsible for the error.

        The Specter Partnership instructed medical experts that confirmed not only did the treatment provided fall below an acceptable standard but that the surgeon had failed to fully inform the patient of the inherent risks of both scarring and asymmetry. Consent remains a contentious issue in medical negligence, but it is still part of a doctor’s duty to fully inform patients of the potential risks of a surgery and all other treatment options. This is especially true following the landmark ruling in Montgomery v Lanarkshire HA where it was determined by the Supreme Court that doctors must inform a patient of all risks that the particular individual is likely to see as important.

        It was clear that these failures caused significant psychological harm to Ms T, who remains self-conscious about the scarring. She also had to miss several months of work due to pain and embarrassment. Following these supportive reports, a 5 figure settlement offer was made and accepted by the client.