Lady Wise has issued her opinion in the case of Derek Hamilton against Lanarkshire Health Board. Mr Hamilton went to Wishaw General Hospital in 2013 after he swallowed a dental plate whilst playing with his grandson. He underwent an endoscopy procedure in an unsuccessful attempt to remove the plate through his oesophagus. During the course of a second attempt to remove the plate the following day, the surgeon tore Mr Hamilton’s oesophagus after which his condition deteriorated rapidly and resulted in him spending 45 days in hospital.
Lady Wise heard evidence from a number of experts and concluded that the surgeon had been negligent in persisting with the attempt to remove the plate through the oesophagus, and that his actions caused the tear and resulting injuries to Mr Hamilton. She held that the surgeon ought to have converted to laparotomy to remove the plate through the stomach.
In so doing, she expressed the view that the surgeon took an ‘easily avoidable risk that general surgeons know is a catastrophe to be avoided.’ She further stated that ‘but for the taking of that easily avoidable risk, the patient’s oesophagus would have remained intact, as it was the act of removing the plate that caused the perforation.’
Mr Hamilton was represented by Arnot Manderson advocate Shona Haldane Q.C.