All posts by medicalnews

Liability Admitted in Claim for the Negligent Treatment of a Broken Leg

An NHS Trust has admitted liability in a claim for the negligent treatment of a broken leg made by a woman who suffered years of unnecessary pain.

In August 2012, twenty-five year old Sally Marsh from Diglis in Worcestershire broke two bones in her right leg when landing awkwardly while playing soccer for her local women´s football team. Sally was taken by ambulance to Worcester Royal Hospital, where her leg was put into a full leg cast.

Sally was discharged being told it was okay for her to put weight on her right leg. The full leg cast was replaced with a half leg cast after eight weeks, and then Sally wore the half leg cast for a further six weeks. When the half leg cast was removed, it became apparent that Sally´s broken leg had not healed properly.

Sally went to see an orthopaedic specialist who informed her that the bone in her leg had set at a nineteen degree angle. The specialist said that Sally would need an operation to align her bones properly but, due the NHS Trust constantly postponing the operation, Sally did not undergo surgery until nine months later.

In the intervening period, Sally experienced a lot of pain from her leg. She had to take time off from work and was unable to pursue her usual pastimes and hobbies. When the operation to realign the bone in her leg eventually took place, Sally had a metal cage fitted to her leg to help support it, but the cage led to the development of an infection and Sally had to take repeated doses of antibiotics.

After seeking legal advice, Sally made a compensation claim for the negligent treatment of a broken leg against the Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. Sally alleged in her claim that she should not have been discharged so early after being admitted to hospital, that there was a failure by the hospital to appreciate the need for prompt surgical intervention, and that the failing of the hospital led to avoidable nerve damage and a deformity in her right leg.

After conducting an investigation, the Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust acknowledged failings in the standard of care Sally had received. The NHS trust admitted liability for Sally´s injuries and her solicitors are now negotiating a settlement of her claim for the negligent treatment of a broken leg.

After the admission of liability had been received, Sally commented: “It’s a relief that at least now the NHS Trust has admitted that it made mistakes and my legal case can move to the next stage. I just hope that no one else has to suffer as I have in the future.”

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Regulator Ban Could Lead to Silimed Implant Compensation Claims

The ban on sales of Silimed silicone implants could result in Silimed implant compensation claims if contamination found in Brazil is also found in Europe.

Earlier today, it was reported by Reuters that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has suspended sales of Silimend silicone implants following the discovery of contamination in the company´s Rio de Janeiro manufacturing plant.

The MHRA and other European regulators are testing products already in Europe to determine whether the contamination is a recent event or if has affected the quality of implants already shipped from Brazil. The MHRA has advised the UK healthcare industry not to use Silimed implants until further notice.

The suspension of Silimed implant sales comes five years after French authorities discovered that Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP) was not using medical-grade silicone in its breast implants – a discovery that led to the closure of the company and a jail sentence for its president, Jean-Claude Mas, in 2013.

The MHRA´s suspension of Silimed sales may ultimately be unfounded, but the regulator is taking no chances after being criticised by the Commons Health Committee in 2012 for failings in the way that the PIP breast implant scandal was handled and for a lack of communication.

No Evidence Yet to Support Silimed Implant Compensation Claims

As the investigation into possible contamination is only a few hours old, there is no evidence yet to support Silimed implant compensation claims. The MHRA is advising people who have concerns about their Silimed implants is to contact their implanting surgeon or clinic.

According to the manufacturers, any potential health issues will be limited to the European Union; for, although products manufactured by Silimed are also sold under license in the US by Sientra Inc, an ongoing clinical trial in the US has yet to disclose any problems with the implants.

People who have already been diagnosed with an injury or a health condition due to a Silimed implant should speak with a solicitor about making Silimed implant compensation claims. Your solicitor will be able to advise you of the latest situation regarding the MHRA´s suspension of Silimed sales and the ongoing investigation into the safety of the implants.

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Complaints about NHS Staff Levels in Scotland Pass 7,000 in Two Years

More than 7,000 complaints about NHS staff levels in Scotland have been made in the last two years according to figures released by the Scottish Liberal Democrat Party.

Data released by the Scottish Liberal Democrat Party – acquired under the Freedom of Information Act – shows that 7,253 complaints about NHS staff levels have been made to management in the NHS Scotland – the majority of them coming from concerned healthcare professionals.

The data also shows that the number of vacancies for consultants has more than trebled in the past three years from 128 to 447.5; and, at the same time, the number of vacancies for nursing and midwifery positions had increased by more than a fifth from 1,865 to 2,256.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Jim Hume used the figures as ammunition for an attack on his opponents in the Scottish National Party (SNP). He said: “These stark figures underline the pressure that NHS staff are under as a result of the failure of the SNP government to get to grips with the challenges facing our health service.”

However, SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison defended the political attack with some figures of her own. Ms Robinson said: “[The complaints about NHS staff levels] are critically important. Under this government, NHS staff numbers have risen by over 10,000, with more doctors and nurses now delivering care for the people of Scotland”.

Ms Robinson added: “We also have record high numbers of GPs – including the most GPs per head of the population in the UK. To give people the high quality healthcare they deserve, we are investing in and supporting a highly skilled NHS workforce. Over the past year alone, this includes an additional 600 nurses and midwives.”

Aside from the political arguments, the fact that there has been more than 7,000 complaints about NHS staff levels in Scotland is a major concern – particularly as the complaints are being made by employees concerned about safety issues in hospitals. When staffing levels are low, healthcare professionals are placed under more strain, meaning that mistakes are made with more frequency and patients suffer avoidable injuries or the unnecessary deterioration of an existing condition as a result.

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Widow Makes Claim for a Wrongful Death due to an Ambulance Delay

The widow of a man who died from meningitis after waiting six hours for her husband to be taken to hospital is making a claim for a wrongful death due to an ambulance delay.

On 5th January this year, Lisa Armitage called the NHS 111 service worried about the condition of her husband Mthuthuzeli Mpongwana (37), who was complaining of a headache, fever and difficulty focusing in bright lights.

The 111 clinician recognised that Mthuthuzeli may be displaying the symptoms of meningitis and summoned an ambulance. However, the rapid response unit took three hours to arrive, during which time Mthuthuzeli became confused and delirious, and his skin turned grey.

The paramedic failed to recognise the symptoms of meningitis and downgraded the ambulance response to the lowest priority – meaning that an ambulance to take Mthuthuzeli from the couple´s home in Bedminster to the Bristol Royal Infirmary failed to arrive for another three hours.

When Mthuthuzeli was eventually admitted to hospital, his eyes were bulging and he had lost control of his limbs. He was taken straight to the resuscitation room, where he suffered a stroke and his brain began to swell. Lisa was told there was nothing more that could be done to save her husband, and Mthuthuzeli died when he was taken off life support on January 7th.

The inquest into Mthuthuzeli´s death found that he had died from natural causes “contributed to by a failure to take appropriate action”. The coroner said that a priority one back up ambulance should have been summoned when the rapid response unit had first arrived at the family home, and that benzo penicillin should have been administered. According to the coroner, the inappropriate level of care “resulted in a missed opportunity to render medical treatment”.

Following the inquest and a the results of a Serious Incident Report, in which failings were identified in the standard of care provided by the South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Lisa contacted solicitors and made a claim for a wrongful death due to an ambulance delay. It is not yet known whether the NHS Trust will accept liability without further legal action.

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Compensation for Brain Damage due to Hospital Negligence Approved at Court

The High Court in Ireland has approved a €1.75 million settlement of compensation for brain damage due to hospital negligence after a four-week hearing.

On 6th September 1996, Thomas O´Connor was born at the Sligo General Hospital showing no signs of life due to being deprived of oxygen in the womb. Thomas was resuscitated and rushed to the hospital´s intensive care unit, but he suffered a heart attack on his way from the delivery theatre and his brain was deprived of oxygen for a second time until he was resuscitated again.

Thomas suffered terrible brain damage due to the lack of oxygen. Now eighteen years of age, Thomas is a spastic quadriplegic, blind, and has to be fed through a tube. He is cared for full-time in a residential facility close to his family´s home in Collooney in County Sligo, where his mother can visit him every day.

Through his mother – Ann O´Connor – Thomas claimed compensation for brain damage due to hospital negligence against the Sligo General Hospital and the Health Service Executive. It was alleged in the legal action that staff had failed to monitor the foetal heartrate prior to his birth, and that the heart attack was attributable to ineffective ventilation after the first time he was resuscitated.

The Sligo General Hospital and the Health Service Executive both denied negligence and contested the allegations. Consequently, the claim for compensation for brain damage due to hospital negligence went to the Dublin High Court where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

During the course of the four-week hearing, Judge Cross was told by an expert witness that the CTG trace monitoring Thomas´ foetal heartrate had been discontinued on the morning of his birth despite there being evidence of foetal distress. It was claimed that the failure to monitor his condition properly delayed Thomas´ birth by up to four hours and, had the foetal distress been identified and acted upon sooner, Thomas may have been spared his devastating birth injuries.

The judge also heard expert testimony that the tube used to ventilate Thomas had been inserted to a depth of 14cms. The depth it should have been inserted to was between 9cms and 10cms and the consequence of this alleged negligence was that Thomas was not ventilated effectively – causing the heart attack which exacerbated the degree of brain damage sustained by Thomas.

At the end of the hearing, the Health Service Executive agreed to a €1.75 million settlement of compensation for brain damage due to hospital negligence without an admission of liability. After being told that the settlement will be used to pay for Thomas´ continued care at the residential home in Collooney, Judge Cross approved the settlement – commenting he was delighted the legal ordeal had come to an end for the O´Connor family.

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Nursing Home Ordered to Pay Compensation for the Failure to Act on a Broken Hip

A nursing home, a local council and a GP have each been ordered to pay compensation for the failure to act on a broken hip by the Local Government Ombudsman.

In February 2012, seventy-seven year old Monica O´Donnell fell at the Parkview House Nursing Home in Uxbridge and broke her hip. Staff at the care home failed to call a doctor immediately, and it was only when Monica complained of a pain in her right thigh and being unable to walk that medical help was sought.

However, when Monica´s GP attended her, he was only told of her symptoms and not that care home staff had found her unable to move on the floor. As Monica suffers from Alzheimer´s disease, she was unable to remember that she had fallen, and it was not until thirty-two days after her accident that she was admitted to Hillingdon Hospital where the broken hip was diagnosed.

Monica underwent a hip replacement operation but, because of her frail condition, she died six weeks later. Medical staff at Hillingdon Hospital raised a safeguarding alert, recommending that Hillingdon Council investigate the standard of care provided at the Parkview Nursing Home. However, due to the nursing home doctoring its records, the council´s investigation concluded that the nursing home acted appropriately.

Dissatisfied with this conclusion, Monica´s daughter – Angela Kelly – went to great lengths to find out why her mother´s care had been below standard. Angela approached NHS England, the Quality Care Commission, the council and her MP Sir John Randall before finally finding that the Local Government Ombudsman was willing to investigate her claim of nursing home neglect.

Following their investigation – in which the conflicting nursing home records were uncovered – the Local Government Ombudsman found the Parkview House Nursing Home in breach of its duty of care and ordered it to pay £1,000 compensation for the failure to act on a broken hip. The Ombudsman also found that the council´s investigation into the incident was inadequate and ordered it to pay Angela £500 compensation for the failure to act on a broken hip.

Finally, Monica´s GP – the Oakland Medical Centre in Uxbridge – was ordered to pay £750 compensation for the failure to act on a broken hip after it was found to have kept inadequate records and failing to be suspicious about the circumstance in which Monica acquired her injury. All three parties were also ordered to send Angela a written apology for the substandard care her mother had received at the nursing home.

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Terminally Ill Mum Settles Claim for the Misdiagnosis of Bowel Cancer

A terminally ill mother of three has settled her claim for the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer against the estate of her former consultant surgeon.

Emma Cook (41) from Stanbridge in Bedfordshire, emigrated to Australia with her husband Jonathan in 2010; months after being discharged by her former consultant surgeon – Dr James Tweedie – without the doctor completing the full range of investigations into a mass that had been identified close to Emma´s appendix.

Emma had first attended her GP in November 2009, complaining of intermittent abdominal pain. Her GP diagnosed her with a urinary tract infection and prescribed antibiotics. However, her symptoms developed into fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, and she was referred to the A&E Department at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

At Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Emma was examined by consultant surgeon Dr James Tweedie, who suspected that her symptoms could either be caused by a urinary tract infection, an ovarian cyst or appendicitis. He arranged for an ultrasound that identified a mass around the appendix, and Emma was put on intravenous antibiotic treatment ahead of a planned appendectomy.

However, the antibiotic treatment eased Emma´s symptoms and she was discharged from hospital on 1st December 2009 without the appendectomy being conducted. Emma was reviewed by Dr Tweedie on 8th December and 5th January 2010 before being discharged from his care, but with no follow-up treatment advised.

After Emma and her young family moved to Australia, Emma started experiencing the intermittent abdominal pain again. She visited her GP, who conducted more thorough tests than Dr Tweedie, and was diagnosed with the advanced stages of bowel cancer in February 2011. Emma sought legal advice and made a claim for the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer against Dr Tweedie.

In the claim for the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer it was alleged that, as it is impossible to differentiate between an infection of the lower abdomen and bowel cancer, Dr Tweedie should have conducted a colonoscopy to eliminate the possibility of the latter. Had a colonoscopy revealed that Emma was suffering from bowel cancer, she could have received treatment that would have prevented the cancer spreading to the rest of her body.

Before the legal action could commence, Dr Tweedie himself succumbed to cancer and died in July 2011. The claim for the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer was then made against the former consultant surgeon´s estate and recently settled for £125,000; after which Emma said: “We wouldn’t have moved our young family to the other side of the world, thousands of miles away from our parents and friends, had Dr Tweedie correctly diagnosed me”.

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Couple Seek Legal Advice over Missed Diagnosis of Cancer of the Womb

A couple from Sunderland have been in contact with a solicitor following an alleged missed diagnosis of cancer of the womb that will prove to be terminal.

Jeanette Scully (47) from Castletown in Tyne and Wear attended the A&E Department of the Sunderland Royal Hospital earlier this year with terrible pains in her lower stomach. A scan revealed that she had a mass in her abdomen, which doctors diagnosed as an infected fibroid. Jeanette was given antibiotics and discharged.

When the pain continued, Jeanette attended her GP. Allegedly the GP told her that the power of positive thought would help her cope with the pain; but, on Good Friday this year, Jeanette was screaming with pain and her partner of twenty-two years took her back to Sunderland A&E – where she was eventually admitted for pain management treatment after being initially discharged.

Consultants at the Sunderland Royal Hospital said they could not find any reason for her pain, but a scan conducted in May after a further visit to the A&E Department revealed that Jeanette had a soft tissue sarcoma in her womb. The following month, Jeanette and David were given the devastating news that Jeanette had cancer of the womb that was so far advanced it was unlikely to respond to chemotherapy.

On receipt of the news, the couple sought legal advice about the possible missed diagnosis of cancer of the womb. Their solicitor has initiated an investigation into the standard of care Jeanette received at the Sunderland Royal Hospital and from her GP – Dr Weatherhead and Associates of Southwick, Tyne and Wear.

Speaking to her local press, Jeanette said: “I just want to know that what happened to me will be properly investigated and something will be done about it as I would never want anyone else to go through what we have. I really believe that if I had been properly investigated when I first reported symptoms things would have been very different.”

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Claim for Tetraplegic Birth Injuries Resolved after Delay in Court

The High Court in Ireland has approved the €9 million settlement of a claim for tetraplegic birth injuries after an unprecedented delay in reaching an agreement.

Alex Butler from East Dunmore in County Waterford was born “blue and lifeless” at the Waterford Regional Hospital in April 2005, after a locum doctor covering the vacation of her mother´s consultant obstetrician failed to act on complications with her delivery.

Alex´s birth was avoidably delayed by ten minutes and, due to being starved of oxygen in the womb, is severely brain damaged. Although Alex is described as having a “bright personality with a huge intelligence”, her tetraplegic birth injuries mean that she will need around the clock care for the rest of her life.

Sonya Butler – Alex´s mother – made a compensation claim for tetraplegic birth injuries against the Health Service Executive (HSE) – the equivalent in Ireland of the National Health Service. The HSE acknowledged liability for Alex´s avoidable brain damage and a €1.4 million interim payment of compensation was made in 2013 in lieu of a structured settlement system being introduced.

The 2013 case was adjourned for two years so that proposed legislation could be passed to enable a structured compensation payment system. As that legislation has not yet been presented to the Irish parliament, but with the necessary legislation not yet passed, the claim for tetraplegic birth injuries was heard at the High Court in Dublin by Mr Justice Anthony Barr.

The hearing commenced with a representative of Waterford Regional Hospital saying that the hospital “sincerely regrets the tragic consequences their failings have caused to both Alex and to her parents John and Sonya Butler”. Thereafter, the judge heard that there were still issues with the settlement and a series of witnesses were called protracting the hearing.

Negotiations continued for an unprecedented eighteen days until the agreement of a €9 million settlement was reached. Approving the settlement of Alex´s claim for tetraplegic birth injuries, Mr Justice Anthony Barr said the settlement was reasonable and sensible – but, outside the High Court, Alex´s parents said they were shocked that negotiations had taken so long.

Sonya Butler criticised the State Claims Agency´s approach to negotiations and told reporters “They fought tooth and nail. They basically want Alex to have an existence, not a life. They want her to scrape by with the bare minimum rather than her having the life that she should have had.” Sonya claimed that they only conceded to the parent´s demands because “their costs [for the protracted court case] were going to be astronomical”.

The State Claims Agency responded by issuing a statement “The State Claims Agency recognises that clinical negligence cases involve patients who have suffered enormous trauma and pain. The Agency is acutely conscious that it has a duty to act fairly, ethically and with compassion in all its dealings with these patients and their families.”

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Daughter Receives Compensation for a Lack of Care in a Nursing Home

The daughter of a woman, who died shortly after sustaining pressure sores on her legs, has received compensation for a lack of care in a nursing home.

Ninety-eight year old Ivy Jones was moved into the Carshalton Nursing Home in November 2012 due to falling several times in her home in Mitcham, Surrey. Ivy suffered from dry skin on her legs; but, shortly after moving into the nursing home, pressure sores developed on both of her calves which caused Ivy significant distress and a substantial amount of pain when the dressings on her legs were changed.

Visiting relatives complained to staff at the nursing home about the deterioration in Ivy´s condition; however, Ivy´s condition deteriorated further. Eventually Ivy´s family complained to her social worker, who arranged for Ivy to be moved to a different nursing home in January 2013. Tragically Ivy died just one month later in February 2013.

Sutton Council conducted an investigation into the standard of care at the nursing home after receiving complaints from Ivy´s family and found that the “the quality of care fell below the acceptable standard”. The local authority placed an embargo on the nursing home until November 2014, when a new manager was employed and improvements made to how the operation was run.

The council´s investigation also concluded that more should have been done to prevent the development and deterioration of Ivy´s pressure sores and that the nursing home staff could have made a greater effort to obtain medical attention for her.

Subsequently, Ivy´s daughter – Shirley Dell – sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a lack of care in a nursing home. The owners of Carshalton Nursing Home denied liability for Ivy´s injuries, but agreed to an out-of-court settlement of £12,000 without an admission of liability.

Speaking after the settlement of compensation for a lack of care in a nursing home had become public, Shirley was reported in her local press as saying: “I just wanted some form of justice for my mum. When they changed her dressings she used to scream in agony. It wasn’t right for her to suffer like she did.”

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