December 9, 2014


I had surgical procedure to reconstruct the upper area of my left ear. The process required removing a piece of rib (effectively fracturing my rib) to re-create the upper contours on my ear. When the surgeons were conducting the rib removal they lacerated my lung causing a lung puncture (pneumothorax). I ended up in surgery for an extra 3 hours, and spent 13 hours in recovery. I had a chest drain inserted into my chest through my armpit which I will add was the most painful sensation I've ever experienced. This drain remained in my chest for 3 days. My lung has recovered by I'm still finding it slightly difficult to breathe. I've been advised a 6/8 week recovery for my lung. Can I/my family make a sort of claim? There was no mention of this on the risks in my consent.


Pneumothorax is a known risk of rib cartilage harvesting; the question is whether this was explained to you, and appropriate measures were taken to minimize this risk. The choice of rib may have been a factor. The skill of the surgeon will be a question. You potentially have a case, but we would only know after having your chart reviewed by an expert. The additional surgery and recovery time , in my opinion, would make it worth investigating.

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