Pinderfields Hospital Makes a Mountain out of a Molehill

Published: 4th November 2016

In February 2013 a local man saw his GP about a mole on the centre of his forehead as he was worried that it may be cancerous.

In February 2013 a local man saw his GP about a mole on the centre of his forehead as he was worried that it may be cancerous.

Just a month later he was seen at Pinderfields hospital and was told that the mole would be cut out. To fill the hole where the mole had been, they told him that they would cut across his forehead and fold the skin which would cause quite severe scarring.  He asked if they could just take a biopsy to see if the mole was cancerous, but this suggestion was refused by the hospital.

The operation went ahead and the claimant was left with very severe scarring across his forehead which was made worse as it became infected. Afterwards, he was shocked to hear that the hospital had tested the mole and it had turned out to be none-cancerous, meaning the surgery was unnecessary.

He consulted Liddy’s Solicitors. The first thing we did was to consult a plastic surgeon to advise us as to what the hospital should have done.  His view was that no responsible plastic surgeon would have refused a biopsy of the mole. If they had have done this simple procedure they would have learned there was no need to remove the mole at all. Also, even if they had needed to cut the mole out, the hospital had taken an unnecessary amount of skin from around the margins, making the scarring much worse than it needed to be.

A letter of claim was sent to the hospital who denied liability.  Court proceedings were issued but eventually after two years of litigation, the case settled for £33,000.  These damages were for the scarring to the forehead, but also to pay for private surgery to lessen the scarring.

This case was not necessarily about whether the surgery should have been performed, or carried out to certain circumstances. Instead it was about a hospitals responsibility to discuss all the options, risk and benefits of a procedure with a patient before an informed decision can be made.

It is not acceptable for a doctor to give a twenty second explanation of the risks, push a consent form in front of the patient for signature and then get on with the operation.  Patients should be making informed decisions about what type of operation occurs or whether there should be an operation at all.

In our client’s case, if they had done the biopsy, they would have discovered that the mole was not cancerous and its removal would not have been needed and so he would have no scarring at all.

If you or a loved one have suffered clinical negligence, call us that we can discuss whether we can help.  Please call our Wakefield office on 01924 780 753.