UK Medical Negligence News

Two Million Pounds Compensation Award for Brain Damaged Twin

A young boy, who with his sister suffered irreversible brain damage when they were born, has been awarded 2 million pounds in compensation in the High Court.

Thomas Hartley (now 11 years old) of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, was born with his twin sister, Rachel, at the Hemel Hempstead Hospital in October 1999. However, due to alleged negligence by the hospital staff, both children are now confined to a wheelchair whenever they go out and will need one permanently once they reach full adulthood.

Judge Peter Ralls QC in the High Court heard that the twins’ mother, Joanna, had been admitted to the hospital earlier in October with pregnancy complications, but doctors failed to realise that she was giving birth prematurely. Instead, they prescribed her with drugs to strengthen the babies’ lungs and delayed the birth.

The parents claimed in their court action that this oversight caused the children to suffer brain damage while in the womb – damage which lead to both children suffering from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and which could have been avoided had the correct diagnosis been made.

The West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust on behalf of Hemel Hempstead Hospital denied that the children’s’ conditions resulted from any negligence on its part, but agreed to pay £2m in compensation to Thomas, and a yet-to-be-agreed sum to his sister – both amounts to into a trust to cover the costs of the lifetime care and support they will need.

Approving the settlements, Judge Peter Ralls QC commented “I express my sympathy to Mr and Mrs Hartley who have been through what must have been a very anxious time… I wish you well for the future, and for your delightful children.”

Read More

Birth Injury Jessica Awarded 400,000 Pounds in Compensation

The family of Jessica Taylor, 6, who suffers from Erb’s Palsy due to a mismanaged delivery, expressed their relief and gratitude after a compensation settlement of 400,000 pounds was approved in the High Court.

Concerns were raised by Jessica’s parents during mother Christine’s pregnancy that the birth might be complicated due to baby Jessica’s size. However, in August 2004, staff at Kings College Hospital, South London, proceeded with a normal delivery procedure under the impression that 11.4lb Jessica was of average size.

In the claim for medical negligence against the hospital, it was alleged that staff should have realised Christine’s prolonged second stage of labour indicated an obstruction (Jessica’s size), and that a normal delivery would result in complications.

Christine’s request for a Caesarean section was ignored and during the delivery Jessica’s should got trapped, leading to further complications. After the birth, Jessica was immediately taken to a special care baby unit where she was diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy.

Erb’s Palsy is a condition which affects the movement of the arm, and Jessica will always need assistance with day-to-day tasks such as dressing, despite intense therapy, specialist equipment and rehabilitation.

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability and in a statement wished Jessica and her family the best for the future.

Read More

Five Figure Compensation for Stillborn Birth Error

Parents of a stillborn child have received an undisclosed out-of-court five figure compensation payment and an apology from the Worcestershire Royal Hospital following the stillbirth of their son in October, 2009.

Katie Page of Droitwich, Worcestershire, was identified as having a “high risk” pregnancy due to a family medical history of thrombosis, and herself suffering from Factor V Leiden thrombophilia. However, her pregnancy had progressed normally and was only 10 days overdue when she experienced mild contractions during the night and noticed a subsequent reduction in her baby’s movements.

On telephoning the Day Assessment Unit (DAU) at the hospital, she was told to drink ice cold water and contact them in a few hours if she was still concerned. During that afternoon, Katie experienced further contractions and telephoned the hospital again to tell them that she had not felt her baby move for several hours. She was advised not to attend the hospital, but to call back later with an update.

Shortly after midnight on October 7, 2009, Robert Page telephoned the hospital to let them know that his wife was not coping with the pain and requested to come into hospital. At 2.00am, Katie was assessed by a midwife rather than an obstetrician, who listened to the foetal heart and performed a vaginal examination but not a CT scan trace. Katie was sent home again even though an induction had been originally booked for the previous day.

At 9.00am Katie telephoned the DAU again to ask about the inducement of her baby, but was told that no beds were available. Further calls throughout the day proved fruitless and, at 7.00pm, Katie attended the antenatal ward at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital requesting admission. It was not until 9.45pm that she was eventually admitted onto a labour ward.

Further delays occurred in assessing Katie’s condition, and it was not until 11.15pm that a midwife attempted to check the foetal heart rate. When the heart beat could not be found, an obstetric registrar was summoned and ultrasound scans performed which confirmed that Katie and Robert’s son – Harry – had died. Katie was induced the following morning and had to endure a prolonged labour to deliver her stillborn son, some ten hours after his death had already been confirmed.

The Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust accepted liability.

Read More

FDA Updates Warning for Metal on Metal Hip Devices

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – the United States agency responsible for the regulation of medical products – has issued an update to its warning for patients implanted with metal on metal hip devices.

Although primarily focusing on issues known to exist with the recalled DePuy hip replacement systems, the FDA has identified all metal on metal hip devices as having similar risks due to microscopic metallic particles released into the blood stream when friction occurs between the metal ball and cup of the implant.

In addition to the friction wearing down the metal on metal hip devices – necessitating the requirement for revision surgery when the hip replacement system becomes loose or starts to cause pain – the FDA has advised on “adverse reactions to metal debris” which manifest when particles of chromium and cobalt cause symptoms or illnesses in other parts of the body.

These symptoms and illnesses can relate to the heart, nervous system, thyroid gland or the bone and/or tissue surrounding the metal on metal hip device. It has already been established that tissue necrosis can lead to more complicated revision surgery with an extended rehabilitation period when further hip replacement surgery is required, and due to this possibility, the FDA have recommended that recipients of metal on metal hip devices pay close attention to their general health, with particular focus on any changes in the following areas:-

  • The heart (chest pains or shortage of breath)
  • The nerves (numbness, weakness and changes in vision or hearing)
  • The thyroid (fatigue, feeling cold and weight gain)
  • The kidneys (a change in urination habits)

The FDA has advised that people will react to the presence of metal particles in the blood in different ways and has recommended that if recipients of metal on metal hip devices experience any changes in their health which are not directly related to their replacement hip system they should consult a doctor at the first possible opportunity.

Although it will be necessary for an orthopaedic surgeon to confirm that irregularities in the blood are directly attributable to metal particles released from metal on metal hip devices, the FDA has recommended several tests to evaluate the symptoms including:-

  • Special imaging tests (MRIs, Cat Scans and X-rays)
  • Blood tests (to determine the volume of metal ions in the blood)
  • Joint aspiration (where a needle removes fluid from around the hip replacement system for analysis)

In the UK, similar recommendations have been in place for almost a year. In April 2010 – four months prior to the worldwide DePuy hip replacement recall – the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a medical device alert which highlighted concerns with metal on metal hip devices and recommended that recipients of all such hip replacement systems should have annual check-ups for a period of five years to determine whether metallic ions had entered the blood stream.

For those who have suffered an adverse reaction or injury due to a faulty metal on metal hip device, the possibility exists to make a personal injury compensation claim on the grounds of product liability. However, in much the same way as the FDA acknowledges that people will suffer different reactions to the presence of metal particles in the blood; people in dissimilar situations will be entitled to varying amounts of failed metal on metal hip device compensation depending on their personal circumstances.

Read More

8 Million Pounds Compensation Package for Hospital Infection

A 13 year old girl, who sustained brain damage after her premature birth due to a hospital “superbug”, has been awarded a compensation package worth in excess of 8 million pounds at the Royal Court of Justice in London.

The court heard how Ayesha Canning-Kishver from Coventry, West Midlands, was delivered at 25 weeks and 3 days at Birmingham City Hospital in July 1997. Being only 1lb and 12 ounces, and suffering from mild periventricular leukomalcia, she was immediately transferred to a special neonatal care unit where she appeared to improve over the following seven days.

However, Ayesha contracted a double infection of staphylococcus epidermidis and klebsiella due to bacteria associated with medical devices – such as indwelling catheters – and almost died. The resuscitation process lead to Ayesha sustaining brain damage, and she will require around the clock care for the rest of her life.

The claim of medical negligence was brought against Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust by Ayesha’s mother, Shahana Kishver, on the grounds that a breach in the hospital’s duty of care led to delay in the infections being diagnosed and treated.

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust had initially denied the claim, stating that their staff were blameless and Ayesha’s condition was due to her premature birth. However, a High Court hearing in 2008 found Birmingham City Hospital liable.

Announcing the compensation package at the Royal Court of Justice, the Honourable Mr. Justice Neil Butterfield stated that “This should not be viewed as a ‘lottery win’ – rather it will be used to fund the lifetime of care which Ayesha will need.”

Ayesha’s compensation package consists of an immediate lump sum payment of 1.3 million pounds, with annual payments of 70,000 pounds a year until Ayesha reaches the age of 18, with payments increasing thereafter to 90,000 pounds a year for the rest of her life.

In response to the settlement, the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust commented that they regretted the delay to respond to Ayesha’s symptoms.

Read More

33 Year Old Man Wins Birth Injury Claim

An incredible 33 years after his birth, an Oxfordshire man you suffered catastrophic injuries during his birth, has been awarded a 5.7 million pounds package in compensation.

Ian Murphy from Oxford was born in the city’s John Radcliffe Hospital in 1977. During his delivery his brain was starved of oxygen, resulting in Ian sustaining a cerebral palsy injury and being confined to a wheelchair from birth.

Ian has been always been supported by his parents, who have provided day-to-day care since he was diagnosed with the condition. Ian experiences difficulties in communicating and socialising and it was only when his parents started enquiring about suitable accommodation for when they are no longer able to care for him themselves, that they discovered they were entitled to compensation.

After taking legal advice, they claimed compensation for medical negligence against the South Central Strategic Health Authority, and in the Royal Court of Justice received an apology for errors made during the delivery and approval of a 5.7 million pounds compensation package.

Read More

Delayed Brain Tumour Diagnosis Claim Settled for 4.5 Million

An NHS manager, who sustained severe brain damage after a delay in the diagnosis of her brain tumour, has had a 4.5 million pounds compensation claim settled in the High Court.

Frances Bowra (45)of Maidstone, Kent, worked as a chiropody manager, was a volunteer for the charity “Crisis Over Christmas” and a keen dancer and dressmaker when, in 2003, she was rushed to Maidstone General District Hospital Accident and Emergency Department after collapsing at home suffering from violent headaches and vomiting.

A delay in diagnosing her brain tumour, and transferring her to Kings College Hospital, London, for an emergency operation resulted in Frances’ condition deteriorating, and she now suffers from partial paralysis and visual impairment.

In the High Court, the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust acknowledged that it had breached its duty of care, and apologised to both Frances and her family for the errors they had made.

Read More

Compensation Settlement for Fatal Lack of Care

The widow of a 60 year old man, who died in hospital after a routine operation, has agreed a five figure compensation settlement after Trafford Healthcare Trust admitted a lack of care in his case.

Chris Harper (60), formerly of Salford, Manchester, was a fit and active father of three when admitted to Trafford General Hospital in March 2007 for a routine hip operation. However, after the operation Chris started to experience pains in his side and chest, and a shortness of breath. Chris died one week later from a blood clot.

In the claim for medical negligence compensation against the hospital, it was alleged that staff were slow to respond to Chris’s complaints and also that he was not given specialist stockings to prevent blood clots. It was also alleged that Chris was not given any physiotherapy until three days after the operation, whereas post-operative support of this nature normally starts on the same day.

After a coroner’s inquest had returned a verdict of misadventure, Mrs. Harper sought legal advice and subsequently filed a claim for medical negligence. Trafford Healthcare Trust admitted that their lack of care had resulted in Chris’s death and the five figure settlement was agreed.

Read More

Birth Injury Teenager Compensation Approved

A teenager, whose birth was allegedly mismanaged resulting in oxygen starvation and brain injuries, has had her multi-million pounds compensation package approved in court.

Georgia Eloise Hunt of Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire was born at the city’s hospital in 1992 suffering from cerebral palsy and epilepsy caused – it was claimed by her parents – by the delay of her birth due to insufficient monitoring.

Mrs Justice Swift at the High Court heard how Georgia Eloise, who is now eighteen years of age, was allegedly starved of oxygen during her delivery and suffered “hypoxic insult” which has now left her with mobility problems and requiring 24 hour care.

In a case brought through Georgia Eloise’s father, Grahame Hunt, it was claimed that if the birth had been properly monitored, the injuries to her brain could have been avoided or contained so that Georgia Eloise could have led a more normal life.

The settlement package, which consists of a 1.4 million pounds lump sum payment and annual index-linked payments of 110,000 pounds was agreed by the NHS trust without admission of liability.

Read More

Addenbrooke’s to Pay 2 Million Pounds for Brain Injury

The world-famous Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridgeshire has settled a medical negligence compensation claim worth approximately 2 million pounds after a patient in its care suffered traumatic brain injury.

Neal Allen, 42, had a known medical history of hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia – a condition which results in abnormal blood vessel development – and carried a “medic alert card” at all times. Despite his condition, he led a full and active life until he was admitted to the hospital in May 2003.

On his admission to Addenbrookes, Neal had given the card to a paramedic, who subsequently wrote on the patient’s notes in large capital letters that he was predisposed to cerebral abscesses. However, and despite the warning of this potential complication, the medical staff at Addenbrookes diagnosed Neal as suffering from a stroke and discharged him from hospital one week later.

Neal’s condition deteriorated due to undetected brain abscesses, and he was re-admitted two days later – by which time he was very poorly, and a number of operations were subsequently required to remove the growths.

Neal was left severely brain damaged as a result of the delay in diagnosis and treatment of the brain abscesses, and now experiences cognitive and decision making difficulties as well as requiring care for 15 hours a day. Neal has been assessed as not safe to live alone and no longer capable of employment.

Addenbrookes at first denied the allegations of medical negligence, and then admitted partial responsibility. However, immediately before a scheduled High Court trial was about to commence, they admitted 100% liability and agreed the compensation package.

The compensation package is comprised of an immediate payment of 1.03 million pounds, followed by annual payments starting at 35,000 pounds per year and rising to a ceiling of 44,477 pounds per annum for the rest of Neal’s life.

Read More