A Worcestershire woman who suffered irreparable liver damage after a botched gall bladder operation has received a six-figure sum in compensation.
Carole George, of Church Hill, Redditch, was admitted to Droitwich Spa Hospital on May 31, 2001 for a routine procedure to remove her gall bladder after she was diagnosed with gall stones.
But the 57-year-old was left in terrible pain after clinical director of surgery Richard Tudor wrongly cut through the main bile duct, which caused it to leak the waste processed by the liver.
His error remained undetected by medical staff for nearly a month, as Mrs George developed peritonitis, jaundice and a series of serious complications. To date she has had eight corrective operations and may need a liver transplant in the future.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust accepted liability for the medical failures, as Mrs George was an NHS patient who had been sent to the private hospital for surgery by the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.
The award, made by the High Court in Birmingham in August, will entitle her to a further claim if she needs a transplant in the next ten years.
Mrs George, who lost two-and-a-half stone in less than three weeks, yesterday said she is not celebrating her undisclosed pay-out "because my life has been ruined".
She said: "The pain was terrible, I can't describe the pain, but I thought this was just normal post-operative pain.
"Hospital staff told it me it was to be expected after the operation I'd had and said I was well enough to go home. I was in so much pain I could hardly walk."
In the fortnight following surgery, Mrs George saw her district nurse and spoke to her GP on several occasions, both of whom told her the pain and vomiting she was experiencing were normal post-operative side effects.
On June 13, 2001, unable to bear the pain any longer, Mrs George's husband Roger took her to A&E at the Alexandra Hospital, where a biliary leak was diagnosed.
However it took another two weeks before she was transferred to the Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry for corrective surgery.
Mrs George said: "I didn't really know how ill I was, Roger could see it though, and he was told I only had a 50:50 chance of survival.
"When I woke up after the operation, which took about six hours, I had three bags on my stomach, tubes in my neck and nose, wires everywhere and a catheter in. I felt as if I'd been violated, this shouldn't have happened.
"What perplexes me is why I wasn't sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, which has a specialist liver unit. But I have to say Ian Fraser, my surgeon at Walsgrave, was brilliant. There's absolutely no doubt that this man saved my life."
Claire Williams, a solicitor with Birmingham-based law firm, Irwin Mitchell, who represented Mrs George, said: "The question still remains why Carole was sent more than 40 miles to Coventry's Walsgrave Hospital for emergency corrective surgery and not the QE in Birmingham."
This "catalogue of errors" has left Mrs George with low blood sugar, high cholesterol and part of her liver is shrinking.
A spokesman for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said liability was a dmitted after a "full investigation".
He added: "The trust deeply regrets the disabilities caused to Mrs George due to shortcomings in the treatment provided to her. The trust is working hard to improve the quality of its services."