Fletchers Solicitors representing numerous women left with traumatic complications by top UK surgeon
The UK’s leading medical negligence and serious injury law firm, Fletchers Solicitors, has been instructed to handle a number of claims against Britain’s most influential pelvic surgeon, Anthony Dixon, after it’s claimed that he left hundreds of women with life changing complications.
Valerie Evans, 77, from Woolaston in Somerset, is just one of these claimants. She was referred to Mr Dixon in 2016 to treat a small internal rectal prolapse known as an intussusception (where part of the intestine folds into the section next to it).
Mr Dixon, a consultant colorectal surgeon based at both the Southmead and Spire Hospitals in Bristol, specialised in laparoscopic ventral rectopexy surgery, and recommended that this operation, together with an anterior resection, be carried out. Valerie underwent the surgery in October 2016.
But, following surgery, Valerie developed an anastomotic leak where her bowel had been rejoined, and subsequent pelvic sepsis - an infection caused by injury to organs and tissue - due to the mesh used for the rectopexy. She had to undergo further revision surgery to remove all the damaged tissue and now has to live with a permanent colostomy bag.
Valerie claims that Mr Dixon told her the issues must have been caused because her ‘insides were in the wrong place’. She said: “I felt like I was being blamed for the whole ordeal, as though there was something wrong with my body. He washed his hands of all responsibility or fault and offered no apology.
“But, the complications caused by Mr Dixon’s surgery have totally ruined my life on every level. I suffer in agonising pain every day now and I can never regain the life I had before this.”
After realising that mistakes had been made with her care, Valerie has been working with the medical negligence team at Fletchers Solicitors to bring a claim against the Trust that employed Mr Dixon.
Recognised as a pioneer of bowel repair surgery, Mr Dixon had built up a strong reputation in this field that saw patients travelling from around the UK and further afield to seek his expertise.
But complaints started to increase, with some patients claiming they were subjected to overly complicated procedures without being fully informed of all the risks.
Investigations into his practices, particularly around the mesh rectopexy and Stapled Transanal Resection of the Rectum (STARR) operations he performed are currently ongoing by NHS Bristol NHS Trust. In August 2017, the General Medical Council (GMC) also placed restrictions on his practice, preventing him from carrying out STARR procedures unitl November 2018.
In anticipation of many more legal claims being made against Mr Dixon, a novel protocol has been adopted by the NHS to co-ordinate the process. The protocol operates as a form of altnerative dispute resolution (ADR) and will see benefits on both sides. It will reduce the overall costs to the NHS of considering these claims, but will also ensure that claims are dealt with promptly, with clients expected to receive an initial decision on their case within a matter of months of notification. For claimants to take the benefit of the protocol, their claim must be notified by 4pm on 1 August 2018.
Amy Hughes, the litigation executive dealing with Valerie Evans’ case, said: “We are representing a number of clients, including Mrs Evans, in connection with treatment provided by Mr Dixon over a period of time, whilst he worked for both the NHS and as a private consultant at the Spire Bristol Hospital.
“Mr Dixon aimed to pioneer mesh rectopexy in the UK, but surgeries involving mesh have come under intense scrutiny due to the high number of complications associated with them. We are now investigating on behalf of our clients whether Mr Dixon’s recommendations to proceed to surgery, and the way his procedures were carried out, was appropriate, given the incredibly poor outcomes they have suffered.”