UK & World News
Belcuore Knee Death: Compensation For Widow
The widow of a man who died during a botched knee operation more than three years ago has been awarded an undisclosed amount by a High Court judge.
Luigi Belcuore, known as Louis to his friends, agreed to take part in a clinical trial testing new techniques for treating knee cartilage problems in October 2009.
But the 43-year-old died during surgery when the operation went drastically wrong as air got into his blood vessels, causing an embolism.
His widow, Penny Belcuore, discovered weeks later that she was expecting the couple's third child, now a two-year-old boy. They also had two daughters, now aged five and six.
Speaking after the hearing at the High Court in Birmingham, Mrs Belcuore said it had been "a long slog", adding: "I'm relieved today is over and it's finally come to an end."
In a statement, she said: "For the past three-and-a-half years I have felt in a state of limbo, trying to find out exactly what happened and why Louis died suddenly during what should have been a routine knee operation.
"Whilst today's approval hearing brings the civil action to an end and I am grateful that my children's future is now at least financially secure, it remains an ongoing struggle to carry on without Louis by my side.
"I know that he would want me to stay strong and I do this for the sake of our two daughters and our baby boy.
"However, it's incredibly hard knowing that both they, and the son he never even got to see, will now grow up without their Dad and at every milestone in their lives he will sadly not be there to share in their happiness.
"To be able to fully come to terms with this we need full answers about exactly what went wrong and proof the same errors can never happen again."
Victoria Blankstone from Irwin Mitchell, the law firm which represented Mrs Belcuore, said: "Today is a difficult day for Louis' family.
"Whilst Penny is relieved that the approval hearing means that their three young children will be properly provided for financially, nothing can turn back the clock and the fact remains that Louis' death remains the most appalling and needless tragedy.
"What marks out this particular case is how difficult it has been to get to the truth of what happened and whilst it is a testimony to Penny that she has remained resolutely determined in her search for answers, she is deeply upset that it has taken so long to discover the full facts of what occurred the day her husband died."
The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry, which was ordered to pay the undisclosed sum, made an early admission of liability and had previously apologised to the family.
In a statement a spokesman for the hospital trust said: "The Trust deeply regrets the tragic loss of Mr Belcuore's life and offers its sincere apologies to Mrs Belcuore and her family and would like to wish them well for the future."