Blake Lapthorn, one of the leading law firms in the UK, represented the family of Gerald Kanagarasa at a hearing this week in the High Court to approve a financial settlement negotiated on behalf of Mr Kanagarasa's widow and children.
Mrs Justice Sharp approved the settlement noting what the family had been through and offering them her condolences.
The claim arose after Gerald Kanagarasa, who had been suffering from breathlessness and a cardiac murmur, was referred to the Defendant’s Harefield Hospital for heart surgery, which took place take place on 3 July 2007.
On the night before the operation Mr Kanagarasa's surgeon visited him for three minutes and informed him that he would carry out the heart surgery by minimally invasive surgery. Neither the surgeon nor his team had carried out this procedure before at Harefield and were inadequately trained and ill-prepared for it. Mr Kanagarasa was not told any of this and the defendant later accepted that the pre-operative consenting process was negligent, and the conventional method of operating should have been performed.
Further negligence occurred during the course of the operation, most likely as a result of the inexperience of the surgeon and his team. Mr Kanagarasa's heart suffered extensive damage during the operation and he sadly passed away on 7 July 2007.
It was accepted by the Defendant that if conventional open heart surgery had been performed (as it should have been), the operation would have proceeded routinely and none of the complications would have arisen. It is highly likely Mr Kanagarasa would have made an uneventful recovery. Within three months of the operation he should have been fit to return to work. His life expectancy would have been normal and he would have had a normal working life.
Instead he leaves a grieving widow and two infant sons. The pain of his loss remains keenly felt by his family.
The General Medical Council recently held an investigation into the conduct of the lead surgeon, Professor Dreyfus, and held that his conduct had been below the standard required and a caution was placed on his registration against him carrying out this type of surgery again.
Caron Heyes, head of Blake Lapthorn's Clinical Negligence team in London, represented the family.