Advising with empathy and experience

Patient wrongly diagnosed with Crohn's disease had avoidable surgery, ombudsman says.


A man, who suffered internal bleeding from surgery following an incorrect diagnosis, says he still has nightmares about how he was treated.

The public services ombudsman for Wales has said that the surgery was "completely avoidable" and recommended health officials make a £10,000 compensation payment.

The man was initially referred to Cardiff University Hospital, Wales with appendicitis but, after a number of tests and scans, be was wrongly diagnosed with Crohn's disease and colon surgery, which led to a series of complications, was recommended.

The man, referred to as Mr D in the ombudsman's report, suffered internal bleeding from the initial surgery and required a stoma, despite being told the chances of that were "very, very slim.”

He also developed a hernia, which required further surgery, and a mesh to be inserted.

Mr D said: "I try and do things that wouldn't have been a problem for me years ago, and find I struggle. Sometimes I wake up still in pain from some of the scars. I sometimes have nightmares.

"I just wonder ‘why bother at all with anything’, because, if this can happen, why should I trust anyone?"

Mr D, who has Asperger's syndrome, also said it was not taken into proper consideration during consultation.

He added: "I don't think there's a lot of things where people take neurodiversity into account."

The ombudsman, Nick Bennett, described the case as "regrettable" after investigating the man's complaint.

He said: "Physicians responsible for Mr D's care should have employed a watch-and- wait approach in which his condition would probably have settled without surgical treatment.

"Instead, Mr D, a vulnerable individual, faced completely avoidable trauma of unnecessary surgery and post-treatment complications which saw him seek mental health support."

The ombudsman made several recommendations, including that those involved in Mr D's care undergo relevant training in the management of Crohn's disease and chronic appendicitis, as well as in the care and management of patients with Asperger's syndrome.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said it accepted the findings and conclusions of the report and had agreed to implement its recommendations.