Clinical Negligence Success Stories

Failure to monitor Lupus left client needing kidney dialysis

Our client had suffered from a variety of autoimmune disorders for several years, and until the birth of her second child, had been undergoing ongoing monitoring of her health. Prior to an emergency caesarean delivery, she was diagnosed with having Autoimmune Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP), Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE), renal impairment and pre-eclampsia, and would need to be kept under review by haematologists, who wrote to her GP to explain this. Despite this our client was not monitored either by the Haematologists or her GP.

Our client then returned to her GP practice nine times during the course of 2011, as she had developed a rash and swollen ankles. She saw various GPs during this time, each of whom failed to check her previous history, and instead provided various hydrocortisone skin creams. In late June of that year, she saw a different GP who noted that the rash had worsened, and advised that the potency of her steroids should be increased, with a referral to the local dermatology unit if there was no improvement.

Just over a week later, our client collapsed while at home. After seeing the same GP as during her last visit, she was then diagnosed with ITP, and urgently admitted to hospital, where a renal biopsy diagnosed her with Class IV Lupus nephritis. She underwent dialysis and fortunately made a full recovery, and has no increased risk of further problems.

However, she felt tired and unwell, and frustrated that she could not help her husband around the home and with their young children, and was reliant on him during her recovery which went on for several months. It was felt that this was a factor in her husband's  redundancy. It took a long time for our client to feel healthy again.

Ceri-Ann Taylor, a solicitor who specialises in complex clinical negligence claims, acted for our client  and thanks to her hard work in March 2015 the defendants agreed to settle for £30,000. 

If you or anyone you know has concerns regarding a similar issue and would like some specialist legal advice please call us on 0800 694 0441, email at: injury@footanstey.com or click here to complete an online enquiry form. We have offices in Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton and Truro.

Careless use of drill leaves client scarred

Our client was admitted to Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital for the removal of four wisdom teeth under general anaesthetic on 15 April 2011. Three of the wisdom teeth were removed without problem but during the removal of the fourth she sustained an injury to the corner of her mouth. During the procedure, the drill that was being used by the surgeon was rested on our client's lip. The treating surgeon was unaware that the drill had overheated, and was causing a burning injury to our client’s lip and cheek. As a result she sustained multiple burns to her inner and outer lip, and some nerve damage too.

Our client received follow up treatment for the burns at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and was subsequently referred to the Burns Unit at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol. Immediately following the accident she became extremely self-conscious of the burn and subsequent scarring. This had a significant impact on her social life and ability to return to work as a full-time Beauty Therapist. 

She subsequently developed a psychiatric reaction to her injury and she sustained permanent scarring which is now healing well and should fade with time.  She had time off work and was unable to pursue an opportunity for promotion available to her around the time of her injury.  She required a great deal of care and support to help her deal with her injury and it was recommended that she undergo a course of therapy treatment too.

Acting for the claimant, Helen Horswell was able to achieve a settlement of £17,000, which give our client the opportunity to re-train for a new career, or potentially start her own business. 

Failure to discontinue Warfarin before operation left client with severe disability

Our client was an active 85 year old who had suffered strokes in 2003 and 2009. Subsequently a pace maker was inserted and he was prescribed warfarin, but otherwise was fit and well, working as a glider pilot and also volunteering for various charities. He was also a keen cyclist, usually cycling three or four times a week for approximately 10 or 12 miles. 

He had developed arthritis in his knee several years ago and in 2011 had a right total knee replacement. At his pre-operative assessment with the Consultant Surgeon it was explained that there was no need for our client to discontinue taking warfarin prior to being admitted to hospital.

Immediately following the surgery our client found himself in severe pain, which did not appear to improve. He struggled to mobilise and was eventually transferred to a Community Hospital for recuperation and mobilisation, where it was eventually identified that he had a large haematoma which had become infected.  His condition deteriorated and he required further surgery to treat the infection and perform a muscle transfer and skin graft operation.

Our client was eventually discharged from hospital 4 months later but required daily attendance by a District Nurse to dress his wounds. Unfortunately he required a further seven operations including skin grafts and revision surgery in addition to the original total knee replacement before the wound eventually healed in 2014. 

The surgery and subsequent treatment has left our client very disabled, and unable to walk any distance or to walk upstairs due to pain.  He has never been able to return to gliding although he was advised prior to the original surgery that he would be able to fly within a few months. This has left him feeling frustrated and very upset.

Frances Letchford was able to establish that the issue which caused the damage was the failure to discontinue the Warfarin, which caused the haematoma, rather than a wound infection secondary to the surgery, and successfully negotiated damages of £75,000 for our client, which will support the need for ongoing support with his disability.

If you or anyone you know has concerns regarding this or a similar issue and would like some specialist legal advice please call us on 0800 694 0441, email at: injury@footanstey.com or click here to complete an online enquiry form. We have offices in Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton and Truro.

Failure to carry out surgery risked client's life

Mrs H, a retired lady was rushed to hospital with a perforated bowel which had in turn caused peritonitis, an inflammation of the tissue that lines the abdomen. Peritonitis is a life threatening condition that requires urgent surgery to repair the damage to the bowel and wash out of the abdomen.  Unfortunately, despite presenting at Accident and Emergency with symptoms strongly indicating that Mrs H was suffering with peritonitis, the diagnosis was missed, and Mrs H's condition deteriorated in hospital over the next couple of days.  Her consultant eventually identified the need for urgent surgery but despite concerns raised to him by junior doctors, intended to perform surgery that was inappropriate for Mrs H and her condition.  The surgery has subsequently been described by the surgeon's colleague as "a disaster waiting to happen".

Inevitably, Mrs H's condition deteriorated further, increasing the risk to her life.  The hospital reacted to the concerns raised regarding the surgeon's competency.  The surgeon in question was then dismissed and he was referred to the General Medical Council to carry out a review of his fitness to practice.

A new consultant was appointed to look after Mrs H and she attempted to remedy the damage that the previous surgeon had caused.  Unfortunately, the damage was largely irreparable due to the delay in making the correct diagnosis followed by inappropriate and sub-standard surgery.  Mrs H has suffered with extreme pain and suffering, distress, hair loss, multiple operations and delayed partial recovery.  Unfortunately, she also suffered with a heart attack caused by the prolonged sepsis and has been left with a permanent stoma which is distressing, embarrassing and restricts her daily activities and hobbies. 

Despite procedural difficulties caused by the case's proximity to the date of limitation, Ceri-Ann Taylor was able to achieve a settlement in the sum of £90,000 for Mrs H, who feels reassured that the surgeon was dismissed and has since been struck off the register for not being fit to practice. Mrs H is satisfied that he is therefore prevented from repeating his mistakes and putting more lives at risk.

If you or anyone you know has concerns regarding this or a similar issue and would like some specialist legal advice please call us on 0800 694 0441, email at: injury@footanstey.com or click here to complete an online enquiry form. We have offices in Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton and Truro.

 

Delayed heart surgery man awarded £120,000

Nigel, a 54 year old man visited his GP with chest pains and breathlessness, but despite his having several risk factors for a heart condition, the GP misdiagnosed them as merely acid reflux. Unfortunately Nigel suffered a major heart attack some days later, and his heart condition was serious enough to need major surgery, which was delayed by the GP's error.

Liability was denied on the basis that the late diagnosis had made no difference to the overall outcome regarding Nigel's health.

His life expectancy has been reduced and he suffers from shortness of breath, general weakness and depression. He is unable to work save in a very sheltered environment. He is still demotivated and undergoing treatment for depression.

The expert evidence was evenly balanced and there was a significant risk that the claim might fail were it to get to court.

Stephen Trahair represented Nigel and secured a negotiated settlement of £120,000 which reflected this risk. This will help Nigel to pay for the aids which he needs at home, and with his lost earnings.

If you or anyone you know have been affected by similar circumstances and would like some specialist legal advice please contact us on 0800 694 044, email us at: injury@footanstey.com or click here to contact us by other means.


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