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Wednesday, 6 March, 2002, 20:49 GMT
Damages won over liposuction
Newcastle Crown Court,
The High Court sat in Newcastle-upon-Tyne
A woman who claimed she was left unable to have sex after a liposuction operation went wrong has been awarded 133,000 damages.

Stephanie O'Neill won her case against the hospital trust which admitted liability but did not accept she had suffered back problems as a result of the operation.

Miss O'Neill, of Bedlington, Northumberland, was "very emotional" after the hearing at the High Court in Newcastle, her solicitor said.

The 42-year-old had been left with scarring and only able to walk short distances with a stoop as the skin across her stomach was so tight.

If hospitals apologised a bit sooner, these things wouldn't go so far

Vanessa Ashton, solicitor

The liposuction was carried out in 1996 by a locum surgeon at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Hospital.

An earlier hearing was told that too much tissue had been taken from her stomach.

The operation also left her unable to have sex, she claimed at the hearing in January.

She told the court: "A woman likes to feel feminine while in bed and I don't.

"I cringe when my partner even puts his hand over my stomach.

"He tries to convince me it doesn't matter. I know I push him away, that's my problem to deal with."

Apology surprised

She was due to have a small amount of fat removed from her stomach along with a lump in her thigh, but a locum surgeon cut right across her abdomen in a procedure known as a full abdomino plasty.

The lumps were caused by her having to inject herself with insulin as a result of her diabetes.

Miss O'Neill was particularly pleased with the apology offered by Gregory Chambers, who represented Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust.

Her solicitor Vanessa Ashton told PA News: "She was very emotional and appreciative of the apology.

"The judge was also very kind with her and sympathetic at the end of the case."

Mrs Ashton said her client's payout was largely to cover her loss of earnings and the cost of care that has been provided by her teenage daughter.

She added: "If hospitals apologised a bit sooner, these things wouldn't go so far."

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24 Jan 02 | England
Damages sought after liposuction
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