Compensation for Fatal Negligent Hospital Procedure Awarded to Widower

The widower of a woman who died following a “routine” hernia operation is to receive £150,000 compensation for fatal negligent hospital procedure in an out-of-court settlement.

Helen Blyth (79) underwent the hernia operation at Northampton General Hospital on 2nd March 2010 after being diagnosed with a large hiatus hernia which had entered her chest through her diaphragm. At 8.00pm on the evening of her surgery, medical staff recorded a fall in Helen´s blood pressure and, at 1.00am on 3rd March 2010, she was found unresponsive. Despite efforts to revive her, Helen died at 1.55am.

At the inquest into Helen´s death in September 2010, the surgeon who performed the operation – Mr David Cubbon Hunter – testified that Helen died due to a rare complication following surgery; however Helen´s husband – Sydney Blyth – asked lawyers to look more closely into the circumstances surrounding Helen´s cardiac arrest and death.

The lawyers – through their medical expert – found that Mr Hunter had used Pro Tack staples during the surgery despite the manufacturer´s advice that their product should not be used in procedures when the hiatus hernia was in the diaphragm. The lawyers alleged that Mr Hunter either knew of the risks involved, and chose to ignore them, or was unaware of the warning – both scenarios being negligent in his line of work.

Sydney made a claim for compensation for fatal negligent hospital procedure against Mr Hunter and the Northamptonshire General Hospital NHS Trust and, after an internal investigation, the Trust acknowledged liability for Helen´s wrongful death and settled Sydney´s claim for £150,000.