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Mum claims operation left her little girl unable to smile.

Byline: Alison Sanders Reporter

AMOTHER whose daughter was left unable to smile following an operation to remove a growth from her neck is seeking up to PS100,000 in damages from a Welsh health board.

Caitlin Gaylard, now 11, cannot smile after an operation at Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales (UHW) when she was five months old severed a vital nerve.

A claim has been submitted to the High Court on Caitlin's behalf by her mother Kim Gaylard.

The family, who are now believed to be living in America, are seeking damages of between PS50,000 and PS100,000 from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board for what they describe as "negligence" in the treatment of Caitlin. The claim form says within weeks of her birth she developed a growth to the right side of her neck below the jaw line.

It said this growth was diagnosed as a haemangioma at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport and that it was advised that she should have to surgery.

The form said this took place at the University Hospital of Wales on April 29, 2003, but that while removing the growth the surgeon damaged the seventh nerve known as the smiling nerve and said this led to Caitlin suffering a facial palsy to the right side of her face.

The family claim Caitlin was referred to a plastic surgeon in 2006. Two operations then took place when Caitlin was four and then six-years-old.

But it said that by 2011 it became evident that the surgery had not been successful yet the family were advised further surgery in the future could help. The form states: "The claimant [Caitlin] currently still has a right sided facial palsy and has suffered psychologically and has been bullied at school because of her disfigurement."

It also claims she is "exceedingly body consious" because of her scarring and receives counselling.

It said she has been "extremely reluctant" to have further surgery and now intends to do so but will still have scarring.

The family claim the nerve was severed during the 2003 operation, staff failed to carry out appropripate treatment to try to repair it and failed to try to repair it in a reasonable time.

It claims that earlier surgical intervention could have been carried out which it said would have provided "a more positive result".

The form also states that in a letter from the health board's solicitors on June 20 this year, a breach of duty was admitted in terms that Caitlain's seventh nerve was damaged during the operation.

The High Court said no hearings have taken place.

A spokesperson for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: "The details of this case date back more than a decade to the former Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust.

"As such, and given the legal process currently under way, it would be inappropriate for the UHB to comment further."
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 12, 2013
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