Current Affairs
Shoulder nerve chords damaged during operation – Court orders Mater Dei to pay compensation of €90,000

The Court has ordered Mater Dei Hospital to pay Etienne Ellul €92,054.68 as compensatory damages after an operation he underwent affected his shoulder nerve chords.

The Court heard that Etienne, who works as a mechanic, had a swollen diploma in his neck and after a hospital examination was informed this had to be operated and removed.

The operation was carried out on 16th March in 2013 and supposedly went well so that no further medical attention was required. However, he had to visit hospital several times because of post-operation pains. He was informed each time such pains were normal following an operation.

However, the pain persisted and the Consultant Mark Schembri informed him the tumour had once more grown in the same place. Following further consultations and Electromyography it was confirmed that a large lymphoma tumour had grown in the same place from where it was supposed to have been removed a year earlier.

Ellul consulted with other medical experts and was informed that together with the lymphoma, the nerve chords in his shoulder blade had been damaged. He was once more operated and the lymphoma once more removed. Following the operation he was informed that the damage to his nerve chords was irreparable and he was now permanently disabled.

Testimonies stated the nerve chords were part of the lymphoma and therefore the damage caused could not be avoided. It was stated that during the first intervention carried out, a lump of fat had been left and after 18 months this began to swell again. It was stated that the fat had not been left there capriciously but because the operating surgeon had felt that its removal could cause further damage.

Judge Lawrence Mintoff stated that doctors were responsible for the damages caused to Ellul because they failed to exercise the required standard of professionalism and diligence that was expected of them.

Dr Leslie Cuschieri represented Etienne Ellul in Court.

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