A former warrant officer in the British Army Air Corps received a £1.5 million ($2.36 million) award from a judge for injuries sustained as a result of snoring surgery gone wrong. Richard Downing suffered a severe infection following surgery that has made him “effectively a prisoner” in his own home. And investigations into the incident reveal that the surgery would likely not have cured his snoring anyway.

Bright Prospects Ruined

Woman covering her ears with a pillow to avoid hearing her husband's snoring.Downing was 37 when he decided it was time to do something about his severe snoring. He decided on surgery and in November 2006, he went into Peterborough Hospital for the procedure. The surgery was performed, but it made little difference to his snoring. Shortly after, though, he developed a severe infection.

The infection resulted in reactive arthritis, a condition in which an overactive immune response to infection causes inflammation to spread to joints unaffected by the infection. This is different from rheumatoid arthritis, a related type of arthritis that is caused by the body actually attacking joint tissues.

The court decided on the compensation based on a number of factors, including that he wouldn’t be able to achieve the rank of major, which he likely would have without the infection, and the loss of potential earnings of £60,000 ($94,000) a year after leaving the army because he is now unlikely to ever work again. Past and future care, the need for supportive accommodations (he often needs a wheelchair to get around), and pain and suffering.

Downing’s settlement only reflects the hospital’s share of responsibility for the incident, which the judge determined was about 63%, and it’s likely that Downing’s total financial losses are somewhere in the order of $4 million.

The judge said, however, that, “Money is never going to compensate adequately” for Downing’s life, including the possibility of rewarding work.

Surgery Should Be Last Resort

Most snoring surgeries are accomplished without any complications, and severe complications like in this case are very, very rare. Nonetheless, they do happen, and it’s important to keep that in mind when trying to decide on a snoring treatment.

If surgery were the only snoring treatment, it might be an acceptable risk, but with so many other choices, it should be considered only after other treatments have been tried unsuccessfully.

If you are looking for a nonsurgical and effective snoring treatment, please call (303) 691-0267 for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado.