Archive for November 2016

Woman Awarded Compensation for the Failure to Diagnose Viral Encephalitis

A woman from Gloucestershire has been awarded compensation for the failure to diagnose viral encephalitis that led to her suffering permanent brain damage.

The unnamed woman attended her local hospital in June 2009 complaining of severe headaches and was kept in overnight for observation. Doctors sent her home the following day after failing to identify the symptoms of viral encephalitis – an inflammation of the brain – but she was re-admitted the following morning as an emergency.

Even though the condition was correctly diagnosed on her re-admission, the woman was not administered the correct drugs for forty-eight hours and her condition deteriorated – causing her to sustain permanent brain damage. She now needs around the clock care and suffers from acute amnesia – effectively living in a world of her own.

The woman´s family claimed compensation for the failure to diagnose viral encephalitis on her behalf. The Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust admitted medical negligence and, at the High Court in London, the woman was awarded a £1.1 lump sum of compensation for the failure to diagnose viral encephalitis plus index-linked annual payments for the rest of her life.

At the hearing, Judge Sir Ian Dove commented: “Money can never fully correct what has happened to the claimant in this case, but unfortunately it is the best that the law can do. She will be now be comfortable and secure for the remainder of her life, will be able to stay in her own home and to have carers around her so that she can live the fullest life she can.”

Speaking on behalf of the Gloucester Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Barrister Alexander Hutton QC said: “We are extremely sorry for the failings that happened in relation to the care of this claimant. The consequences for her have been very grave. I would like to pay tribute to her family. They have been unstinting in their support of the claimant in very difficult circumstances. We do hope that this compensation helps and we do wish the claimant and her family all the best for the future.”

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Hospital Admits Mistakes Were Made in Claim for Negligent Prolapse Treatment

A hospital has admitted mistakes were made and made an interim compensation payment in partial settlement of a claim for negligent prolapse treatment.

In November 2012, Diana Birch (69) – a former paediatrician and charity director – attended the Royal Free Hospital in London to undergo a rectoplasty procedure to treat a prolapsed bowel. Unfortunately the procedure was not entirely successful and, in December 2013, Diana was readmitted to the hospital for a key-hole rectoplexy.

On recovering from the second procedure, Diana found she had lost feeling in her lower back and left leg, and was unable to stand. An MRI scan revealed that her left femoral nerve had been damaged during the rectoplexy procedure, but the hospital failed to respond to the injury – resulting in Diana suffering further damage to her ureter and having to have one of her kidneys removed.

After seeking legal advice, Diana made a claim for negligent prolapse treatment against the Royal Free London NHA Foundation Trust, alleging that her injury was caused by surgical negligence and exacerbated by the hospital´s failure to act once the injury was discovered. Diana claimed that with earlier intervention, she may have recovered from the paralysis, but due to a second instance of medical negligence that opportunity has now passed.

The Royal Free Hospital investigated Diana´s claim for negligent prolapse treatment and has now admitted mistakes were made and liability for her injury. An interim payment of compensation has been made in partial settlement of her claim for negligent prolapse treatment while reports are being compiled into her future needs. The final settlement should allow Diana to complete rehabilitation therapy and provide her with the equipment she needs to live as independently as possible.

Diana told newspaper reporters: “This has changed my life completely and three years on I am still trying to come to terms with what has happened to me and what could have been done to prevent it or correct it before it was too late. My greatest wish now is that lessons can be learned from what has happened to me so that no one else has their life turned upside-down as I have.”

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