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Ryan was a fit and healthy teenager, but when he was 16 years old he was found to have bilateral undescended testes. He was seen by a paediatric specialist at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital following which he underwent what was expected to be a routine 40 minute orchidopexy operation by keyhole surgery. During the operation a major blood vessel was punctured which led to carbon dioxide gas entering his bloodstream. Ryan suffered massive blood loss and a heart attack. Despite the best efforts of the medical staff to resuscitate Ryan, he did not recover and died in the operating theatre.
3 years after Ryan died there was a 5 day inquest during which it was revealed to the jury that a sharp instrument to view inside Ryan’s abdomen had been used accidentally rather than a blunt one. This had perforated the inferior vena cava and caused a gas embolism, resulting in significant blood loss and multi-organ failure which led to Ryan’s death.
Ryan’s mother, Sarah, was left distraught and traumatized by her only son’s death.
Following the inquest hearing the hospital Trust apologized to Sarah and stated that they would institute changes in the checking of the operating theatre equipment.
Sarah’s solicitor Richard Follis at Shoosmiths, a leading expert in clinical negligence and inquest law, represented Sarah at the inquest and stated that this tragic case highlighted how important the inquest process is for a family in providing independent and public scrutiny of unexpected deaths in hospital.
After the inquest Richard secured an out of court settlement for Sarah comprising of an award for her bereavement and psychiatric injury which had been caused by the shocking events surrounding her son’s sudden and unexpected death.