On 19 December 2018, judgment was handed down in this clinical negligence claim arising out of the surgical management of an 8-month old child born with sagittal synostosis.
The Claimant was born with sagittal synostosis, a congenital condition involving the premature closure of the sagittal skull suture. She underwent craniofacial remodeling surgery at the age of 8 months in Newcastle. During surgery an incision was made in the scalp in order to access the anterior and posterior skull, which created a long anterior projection in the posterior scalp skin flap.
The Claimant went on to suffer necrosis of the scalp skin flap resulting in significant scarring and hair loss, which was not amenable to further cosmetic surgery. The court heard from surgeons who conducted the surgery and from expert Consultant Paediatric Neurosurgeons and Plastic Surgeons on each side.
The court found that despite the evidence of the surgeons who were present, which was that nothing went wrong intra-operatively, on the balance of probabilities the scalp skin flap necrosis arose from venous congestion probably as a result of poor intra-operative management, rather than from some congenital defect affecting arterial sufficiency to the scalp.
The court made an award of damages of £250,000 and ordered the payment of indemnity costs against the Defendant, who failed to beat a Part 36 offer made by the Claimant ahead of trial.