After a 20 year legal battle, a young man has been awarded a six figure compensation settlement after he was left permanently brain damaged while being treated in a Bristol hospital.

In 1994, four year old Daniel Jefferies underwent an operation at Bristol Royal Infirmary to correct a congenital heart defect. Shortly afterwards he began to show signs of cognitive impairment, problems which have continued into his adult life.

His family allege the surgeon performed the operation negligently, causing Daniel’s lifelong learning difficulties. Amongst other failings, it was said that Daniel was left on heart bypass for too long, and that an obstruction in his blood-flow was not addressed.

University Hospitals Bristol Trust (UHBT) defended the claim for a number of years. But just before the case was due to be heard in court, the Trust agreed to a six figure compensation settlement. This will cover the cost of extra care Daniel (now 24) will need during his life.

Sadly Daniel’s is not an isolated case. During the 1990s, 35 babies died following surgery in the same unit, while many more were left brain damaged. Experts suggest that 170 children may have avoided injury if they had been operated on elsewhere.

The Bristol heart scandal

Concerns about infant mortality rates eventually led to one of the biggest public inquiries into the NHS. Conducted by Professor Ian Kennedy in 2001, the inquiry into the Bristol heart scandal found a series of failings, including a lax approach to safety and poor monitoring.

As a result, the surgeon who carried out Daniel’s operation, Janardan Dhasmana, was banned from operating for four years.

Thirteen years later, Professor Ian Kennedy is leading a second inquiry into paediatric cardiac services in Bristol. The city’s Royal Hospital for Children is under investigation after dozens of children died or suffered life-changing complications in recent years.

Surgical negligence

If you or your loved one has suffered as a result of surgical error, please get in touch with us to discuss your options.

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