CASE STUDY 7: A man in mid-life underwent a mastoid exploration for cholesteatoma. Following the surgery the ear was totally deaf, he was dizzy, and he had a facial paralysis. The ear was re-explored by another surgeon of great experience, who found that the facial nerve had been divided and that the lateral semi-circular canal and the vestibule of the inner ear had been opened with the drill. This clearly implied complete loss of control of surgical anatomy. Repair of the facial nerve produced partial return of function. The litigation case was settled at the door of the court for approximately £11,000.