£90,000 settlement allows couple to fund IVF treatment after negligent surgery
Tees secured a £90,000 settlement for a woman who became infertile after her left fallopian tube was damaged as a result of negligent surgery.
The settlement allowed our client, Alicia*, to fund fertility treatment so that she could have a family after negligent surgery left her infertile.
In 2008, Alicia had surgery to repair a hernia. The hernia was located on the left side of her body, near her groin, and the surgeons noted that it contained her fallopian tube and ovary. Alicia’s doctors told her that the surgery went well and she trusted them. At the time of her surgery, Alicia was 24 years old and had not started her family yet – although she always intended to have children, when the time was right.
Alicia and her partner, Lewis, were both one of four children. They always wanted to have a large family, and hoped to have four children together. They decided to start their family in 2014 and were excited about their future together. After a few months of trying, Alicia fell pregnant. Unfortunately, she suffered a ruptured ectopic pregnancy of her right fallopian tube and she lost her baby. She needed surgery to remove the ruptured tube. During surgery, her doctors noticed that her left fallopian tube was missing. Removal of the ruptured tube meant that Alicia was left completely infertile, and would need in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment in order to have children.
The news was devastating, and the couple felt as though their dream of having a large family had been taken away. The news hit Alicia particularly hard, and she developed severe depression after learning that she would not be able to have children without IVF. The couple struggled to come to terms with what had happened to them, and felt that the future they had been planning for so long had been lost.
Alicia and Lewis asked Tees if they had a claim for medical negligence, and we took their case on. Our goal was to establish why Alicia’s left fallopian tube was missing, and to help the couple secure IVF treatment.
Our examination started with Alicia’s hernia surgery in 2008. Because the surgery was performed very close to Alicia’s left fallopian tube, it could have caused damage to the tube. With the support of a general surgery expert, we alleged that the hernia surgery had been performed negligently and had caused the loss of Alicia’s left fallopian tube (either through damage or removal). If Alicia’s left fallopian tube had not been missing, she would have had a chance to conceive naturally. The hospital admitted liability in full and apologised for what had happened.
During this time, Alicia and Lewis had their first child through IVF treatment provided on the NHS. However, the NHS would not fund further IVF treatment once they had a baby and the couple were not in a position to fund more IVF treatment themselves. Tees argued that Alicia and Lewis had always wanted a large family – and the negligent surgery had made this impossible without IVF. We negotiated a settlement of £90,000 so that Alicia and Lewis could have the family they had always wanted. The figure was based on the number of IVF cycles it was likely to take for the couple to have three more children.
The settlement will allow Alicia and Lewis to fund more IVF treatment, which would otherwise have been financially out of reach. Now, the couple have the answers about what went wrong and can start to rebuild their lives – and, with the IVF treatment, a chance to grow their family.
“I can’t thank you enough for everything. You have been so helpful and efficient throughout and I’m really pleased with the result. It does feel like a weight has been lifted now and hopefully, plenty more [children] to come,” said Alicia, following the news that her claim had settled.
“This was a challenging claim to value and with the help of an expert in gynaecology and fertility, we carefully assessed the number of cycles that Alicia would require in the future, in order to give her the best chance of having three further children,” Katheryn Riggs, Associate Solicitor who worked on the case said. “I am delighted that we have been able to get answers and an apology for what went wrong, and that Alicia and Lewis can now move on with having the family that they had both always hoped for.”
*Client names have been changed to protect their privacy.
Chat to the Author, Janine Collier
Executive Partner - Medical negligence, Cambridge officeMeet Janine
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Legal 500 UK 2023
"Janine Collier has an amazing reputation and quite rightly, she very quickly spotted something that wasn’t the main focus of the case but is able to zoom out and look at everything that’s going on and spot things others wouldn’t spot. You can tell she really cares and is a very dedicated person who just wants to help. The team are all caring and efficient."
A heartfelt thank you for all you have done in preparation for and during the settlement meeting, as well as for your unfailing support along the way, in and out of hours. It is undoubtedly due to your high professionalism if the outcome today has exceeded all expectations; it will be a huge help for us going forward and we will be forever grateful.
Chambers & Partners 2022
Janine Collier is renowned for her handling of delay in diagnosis, obstetric injury and surgical negligence claims. "She is at the top of her game and knows clinical negligence inside and out."
We consider ourselves fortunate to have been recommended to Tees by the solicitor we initially approached. We did not realise it until the case was well established that the level of professional care we were receiving was exceptional and that the experience of the individuals and the contacts they have to assist in a very complex case was the best available. We are grateful that we received a satisfactory settlement as a result of their efforts under difficult circumstances and dealing with defendants that were obstructive and disorganised. By far the greatest benefit for us however is the fact that the victim, with assistance from highly skilled experts that we would not have known about otherwise, learned to walk short distances when all other medical opinion did not consider this possible. This was their greatest achievement which is well beyond the service we expected.
Legal 500 UK 2021
"Janine Collier, head of department, is a perspicacious and very able lawyer, certainly one of the best in the region and beyond, who believes in her team and in the work she does. A genuinely nice person who sees it as her clients’ right and her duty to achieve the best possible outcome for them. Janine delivers this time after time. She is an extremely intelligent and intuitive lawyer who has a genuine understanding of the difficulties and fears clients experience when living with an avoidable injury."
Legal 500 UK 2021
"Janine Collier is a really good solicitor – she really understands the medicine in clin neg cases and works well with the team, the clients and the experts to get excellent results in difficult cases."
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Legal 500 UK 2021
"Janine Collier is a really good solicitor, she really understands the medicine in clinical negligence cases and works well with the team, the clients and the experts to get excellent results in difficult cases."
Legal 500 2021
"Janine Collier shows dedication to ensuring access to the highest level of experts on medical negligence cases. There is excellent consistent communication with experts throughout a lengthy case, creating a supportive working atmosphere and ensuring long-term engagement of expert. She has a very intelligent and insightful approach to learning from experts, enabling sharing of detailed specialist information and findings with confidence, and she is excellent in multi-professional meetings with solicitors and barristers, enhancing communication in exceptionally complex cases; very high level of sensitivity demonstrated towards the needs of client throughout the case, consistently focusing on the multifactorial needs of the client, over and above the monetary compensation."
Legal 500 UK 2021
"Janine Collier has been amazing to work with. She is always quick to respond to queries, always takes time to make sure we fully understand the process and supports us to make decisions, i.e. switching from Legal Aid to no-win no-fee, with well reasoned and researched information to support us."
Legal 500 UK 2021
‘It has always been a rewarding experience working with Janine Collier and I would commend her very highly to lead on medical negligence cases.‘
The Fisher family
Janine works with empathy, understanding and compassion. She handled our mother's inquest with skill and sensitivity and guided us expertly. She kept us informed continually via email and multiple meetings and phone calls. Janine completely took the sting and the stress out of our case.
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