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Woman receives £7,500 for burn she suffered following mistaken use of acetic acid

View profile for Melanie Reynolds
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Total Damages: £7,500 (£7,508.73 RPI)

Trial/settlement date: 7/10/2014

Age at trial: 77

Type of Award: Out of Court Settlement

Age at injury: 76

Sex: Female

The claimant, a 77-year-old woman, received £7,500 for the burn she suffered following the mistaken use of acetic acid during an excision of a vulval lesion in September 2013. She experienced pain, discomfort and scarring.

On 10 September 2013, the claimant attended a hospital of the defendant trust for an excision of a vulval lesion. She was discharged on the same day, but two days later she found that the operation site was still very sore and had started to bleed.

On 13 September her GP prescribed antibiotics, but those did not help. The claimant returned to her GP on 16 September and was given different antibiotics and a cream. The wounds continued to bleed and she attended the hospital's accident and emergency department. She was reviewed by the surgeon who carried out the procedure, who noted that her skin was burned. He subsequently sent a letter to the claimant, indicating that he had discovered that acetic acid had erroneously been used to clean the site.

He indicated that the acid should not have been in his theatre; he had no idea how it came to be there; and he had used it under the impression that it was a regular cleaning solution. The hospital undertook an internal investigation into the incident and identified a number of failings.

The claimant sustained injury and brought an action against the defendant alleging that it had been negligent in failing to clean the wound with due care.

Liability was not admitted.

Total injury duration: Permanent

Effects: The claimant would have a permanent scar.

Out of Court Settlement: £7,500 total damages.

Kingsley Napley LLP for the claimant. NHS Litigation Authority for the defendant.

For more information or to speak to a member of the clinical negligence department please click here.