Family spends 25 years fighting for compensation over botched surgery

A Portuguese family has finally won damages for the loss of a loved one who died 25 years ago following an operation to remove pincers that had been left in his stomach after a surgery six years previously.

The protracted legal battle came to an end with what has been described as “the declaration of an amicable solution”, involving the Portuguese State handing over 32,500 euros.

In an end-of-year marked by hospital dramas, this one goes back all the way to the late 80s when a surgeon at Porto’s São João hospital left a set of pincers in a patient’s stomach after removing a kidney.

The man complained ‘persistently’ for six years before the pincers were ‘detected’.

Once the reason for his discomfort was finally confirmed, the 69-year-old underwent surgery (with the same surgeon who had botched the first operation) to remove the pincers – dying of a hemorrhage eight hours later.

The family embarked on a legal battle for compensation which was “marked by contradictory decisions of various courts” before a final appeal to the European Court of Human Rights resulted in closure.

It’s not known if the family is pleased with the amount due to be paid, or whether they feel a 1,300 euros for every year of fighting – as a result of the loss and suffering of a loved one through medical negligence – really constitutes justice.

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