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Six-figure payout for man who developed football-sized hernia

A 60-year-old man who developed a football-sized hernia after a hospital lost his medical file has been awarded a six-figure payout.

Allan Austin, from Cookham, suffered from the hernia after a nine-month delay in treatment at Wexham Park Hospital, in Slough.

In early 2013, acute abdominal pain resulted in Mr Austin’s emergency admission to the hospital.

However, during a pre-assessment in autumn 2013 the hospital lost his file.

The delay saw the hernia grow from three to 11 inches, leaving Mr Austin unable to wash or dress himself.

Surgery eventually took place in August 2014.

Mr Austin said: “The day after I had surgery I had two heart attacks and don’t think I really knew anything for about three weeks as I was in critical care.”

He thanked the Prime Minister Theresa May, who intervened on his behalf after the hospital had originally said it did not have the money needed for a biologic mesh to repair the damage caused by the hernia.

He also had praise for the treatment he received from ward staff after his operation, but said he felt departments should communicate more.

He added that while the figure, which was paid out last month, was substantial, he was forced to take early retirement after working all of his life.

“I think hospitals should be held to account for incidents more,” said Mr Austin.

He said they ‘affect people’s lives mostly in a good way’, but need to be held accountable ‘when it goes wrong’.

A spokesman on behalf of Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, which took over the running of Wexham Park in September 2014, said: “We have apologised to Mr Austin for the unacceptable delay to his surgery in 2013 and we are pleased that compensation in this case has now been agreed between parties.”

Mr Austin ’s solicitor Oliver Thorne said: “I am extremely pleased to have achieved this settlement for Allan.

“The delay in performing the surgery was admitted at an early stage by the trust, however, it took some time to convince them that Allan’s current condition was caused by that delay.

“Allan is slowly adapting to his new life and I am hoping that this compensation will make life a little easier for both him and his wife which is the very least they both deserve.”

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