A 'VULNERABLE' man who underwent extensive surgery he did not need has been awarded £10,000 compensation after a report found a litany of failures in the way he was treated.

The complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales against the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board was lodged by the patient - referred to in the complaint as ‘Mr D’ - who was unhappy with the care and treatment he received at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff during and after a scheduled admission for surgery to remove the right side of his colon.

Mr D, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, complained that his condition - at the time believed to be Crohn's Disease - was not clearly diagnosed and that clinicians were slow to identify he suffered a post-operative bleed and needed further emergency surgery.

He complained that information about his treatment and care was not provided clearly to him despite those caring for him knowing about his Asperger’s Syndrome. He was also unhappy with aspects of his care after his discharge.

Mr D’s surgery was carried out on the presumption that he had Crohn’s Disease according to the Ombudsman, but surgical findings suggested complex chronic appendicitis.

The Ombudsman found that neither of these conditions needed the extensive surgery that Mr D was given. The Ombudsman also found there was no complete record of how his condition was monitored following his surgery and that his post-operative bleed might have been detected sooner.

The Ombudsman also concluded that the clinicians were aware of the patient’s Asperger’s Syndrome but did not clearly communicate the information about his diagnosis and treatment to him. The Ombudsman also found that the patient was not seen by a mental health clinician as requested by Mr D because it was not arranged.


The Ombudsman did not uphold the complaint regarding Mr D’s care post-discharge.

Nick Bennett of Public Services Ombudsman for Wales said: “This regrettable case highlights yet again the importance of one of the key principles of prudent healthcare formulated by the Welsh Government – ‘do only what is needed and do no harm.’

“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 – a trauma which saw him seek mental health support. I anticipate that my findings will be extremely distressing for him. This is reflected in my recommendations in this case.”

The Ombudsman recommended that Cardiff and Vale University Health Board provides Mr D with a detailed apology and a redress payment of £10,000. Mr Bennett also recommended that the physicians and nurses involved in Mr D’s care have relevant training in the management of Crohn’s Disease and chronic appendicitis as well as the care and management of patients with Asperger’s Syndrome.

It was also recommended that the nursing team consider the importance of conducting and documenting post-operative observations and of preparing accurate and relevant care plans.

The Ombudsman's report says Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has accepted the findings and conclusions of the Ombudsman’s report and has agreed to implement the recommendations.

A spokesperson for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: "As a health board we would like to reiterate our sincere apologies to Mr D for the concerns identified in the report.

"We are implementing the recommendations from the Ombudsman and an improvement plan has been developed to monitor the delivery of all recommendations within the agreed timescales."