Man who swallowed his false teeth wins NHS damages

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Parliament House
Image caption,
The Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled Mr Hamilton should be awarded £195,000 damages

A man has won nearly £200,000 in damages after he became seriously ill following a hospital procedure to remove false teeth from his body.

Derek Hamilton went to Wishaw General Hospital in 2013 after he swallowed his dental plate playing with his grandson.

A surgeon removed the plate through the oesophagus but the operation caused a tear and the 64-year-old's condition deteriorated rapidly.

Mr Hamilton claimed his injuries were caused by the surgeon's negligence.

And now a judge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh has ruled in his favour after hearing evidence from a number of experts.

Lady Wise said the surgeon Martin Downey, 50, took an "easily avoidable risk that all general surgeons know is a catastrophe to be avoided".

She added 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."

Lady Wise said her conclusions in the case are "restricted to an isolated occasion on which Mr Downey breached his duty of care to a patient" and added there was evidence that in his daily work in colorectal surgery he "operates as a highly skilled and effective professional".

The court had heard that Mr Hamilton, of Cleland, North Lanarkshire, spent a total of 45 days in hospital and faced life-threatening conditions such as respiratory failure.

In the civil action against NHS Lanarkshire it was claimed that Mr Downey should not have persisted in removing the dental plate via the oesophagus using an endoscope but should instead have performed a laparotomy, which is a surgical incision to the abdomen.

Mr Hamilton had originally raised a claim for £500,000 but damages were agreed at £195,000, with interest has to be added to that.