news

Patient receives hospital pay-out after life expectancy cut by failed heart op

Peter Phillips' received a five-figure damages settlement after the failed operation at St Thomas' Hospital in 2011

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has paid a five-figure damages settlement to Mr Phillips(Image: Getty Images)

A man has been warned his life expectancy has been shortened following a operation which was intended to improve blood flow to his heart and his life quality.

Peter Phillips went under the knife at St Thomas’ Hospital in 2011 to correct long-standing issues relating to the thinning of his heart valves, which had led to increasing chest pains and shortness of breath.

But 10 months later he suffered he shortness of breath and chest discomfort when walking his dog and was told at his local hospital that he was ‘back to where he was pre-operatively’.

As a result, underwent several more operations and was awarded a five-figure damages settlement by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, despite the trust insisting it did not accept breach of duty.

Mr Phillip, now 75, was referred to St Thomas’, at the foot of Westminster Bridge, by his local hospital in the Rochester area for a coronary artery bypass graft.

The operation was intended to divert blood around his narrowed arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart. However, the surgery proved unsuccessful as the surgeon mistakenly attached an internal mammary artery to a cardiac vein instead of an artery as required, meaning Mr Phillips’ blood flow was not improved.

St Thomas' Hospital, on Werstminster Bridge Road(Image: Mirrorpix)

After tests discovered the errors, Mr Phillips had to undergo three procedures to help his blood flow, in which stents were used to widen his arteries, as the initial operation is not one which can be re-attempted.

He is now unable to undergo any more procedures, leaving pain management his only option for managing his pain and discomfort for the rest of his life.

He has been warned by doctors that as a result of being able to further improve his blood flow, his life expectancy could also be affected.

Following legal representation by medical negligence specialists Hudgell Solicitors, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust admitted that had the initial operation been a success in July 2011, Mr Phillips would not have required further intervention for 10 to 15 years.

St Thomas’ Hospital sits on Westminster Bridge Road, separated by the Thames from Parliament(Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

It was alleged that the hospital treatment was negligent, as an independent consultant cardiac surgeon, consulted as part of the legal case, concluded that as there was no noted difficulty in locating the parts of the heart in the operation notes, the operation should have been successfully completed.

Solicitor Sarah Scully, a medical negligence claims specialist, said: “We feel it was only right that Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust compensated Mr Phillips for the impact of the unsuccessful coronary artery bypass graft.

“That procedure was intended to have a long-term positive impact on his health but instead resulted in him having to undergo a further three procedures, and he still continues to suffer with chest pains and breathlessness on mild exertion.

“Furthermore, he was subsequently told by experts that due to gradual deterioration in left ventricular function, his life expectancy will be effected.”

Mr Phillips said: “There is nothing that can be done now. It wasn’t an option to do the main operation again, and I can no longer have stents in place because my arteries aren’t strong enough.

“Had they got the first operation right, all would have been fine for at least 10 years.

“It was a shock to learn it had been done wrong.

“Obviously the money can’t do anything to improve my health but it has helped greatly for me and my wife.”

A spokesperson for the Trust said: “We are glad that a settlement has been reached and wish Mr Phillips well.”

Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app.

You can even set it to receive push notifications for all the breaking news in your area.

Available to download from the App Store or Google Play for Android now!

View full mobile page