Negotiations Resolve Cancer Misdiagnosis Clai

Out-of-court negotiations between an allegedly negligent doctor and a patient whose cancer was misdiagnosed have resulted in a six-figure settlement of compensation.

The patient, a woman whose anonymity has been preserved throughout proceedings, visited her GP with concerns over a mole on her foot. The mole had recently changed shape and began to irritate the woman, though the GP assured her that it was nothing to worry about and sent her home.

Dissatisfied with the doctor’s conclusion, the woman sought a second opinion from another doctor in the same surgery. The second GP also refused to refer her to a dermatologist, telling her again that the mole was not something with which to concern herself and sent her home. In neither consultation was the size of the mole checked.

The woman was still concerned over the changes she perceived in the growth and visited a third GP. This doctor notified the patient that she would not be able to remove the mole, though offered to take the top off of it. When the patient refused, the GP referred her to a dermatologist at a nearby hospital.

The dermatologist conducted a biopsy and sent part of the mole away for diagnostics. Unfortunately the results came back to say that the mole was cancerous, and the woman underwent emergency surgery to remove the rest of the growth. However, further diagnostics showed that the cancer had metastasised and the woman is currently undergoing treatment for secondary cancers.

Upon receiving the cancer diagnosis, the woman consulted a medical negligence solicitor and proceeded to make a claim against the first GP and their surgery for the misdiagnosis of her cancer. In the claim, she alleged that if the diagnosis had been made in a timely manner her prognosis would be better.

However, both the GP and the surgery contested the claim for compensation, denying that they were involved in medical negligence. Yet once court action was threatened, the insurance company of the two parties settled with the woman for an undisclosed six-figure settlement.

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Family Initiates Claim for Misdiagnosis of Neck Fracture

The family of a man who died because of an undiagnosed neck fracture has indicated their intent to claim compensation for his suffering.

The causative accident occurred on the 23rd May 2015, when eighty-seven year-old Patrick Byrne fell at his home in Melksham. He was quickly admitted to the Royal United Hospital in Bath, where his condition deteriorated and the pain dropped beneath his chest. Patrick was subsequently unable to move his neck.

Though his family persistently asked medical staff to investigate Patrick’s pain, he was moved to the Chippenham Community Hospital a few days later. After another fall, he returned to the Royal United Hospital.

Eventually, a scan was conducted on Patrick’s neck and it was revealed that the initial fall had caused his spinal cord to be compressed. Patrick never recovered from the resultant paralysis and died in hospital on the 21st October 2015.

Avon Coroner’s Court heard a two-day inquest into the death and ruled that Patrick died from natural causes. This is in spite of the opinions of Peter Harrowing, a coroner who claimed that Patrick was let down by medical staff who failed to identify his condition when it first presented.

Patrick’s family have expressed their discontent with the verdict, labelling it as “bizarre” and expressing intent to pursue a claim for misdiagnosis compensation. Elizabeth, Patrick’s daughter, commented to the Wiltshire Times that “The standard of care my father received fell well below what should have been expected and, if the neck fracture had been diagnosed earlier, he could have had treatment which would have avoided the paralysis and his last months would not have been as distressing. The evidence was there. There were a lot of failures.”
A spokesperson for the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust has also issued a statement, claiming that “We would once again like to offer our deepest condolences to Mr Byrne’s family at this difficult time. We acknowledge that we did not always meet our own high standards of care on this occasion and for this we apologise.”

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HSE Settles Claim for the Avoidable Death of Savita Halappanavar

The Irish Health Service Executive has settled a claim for the avoidable death of Savita Halappanavar, who died from sepsis after being refused an abortion.

On the morning of Sunday October 21st 2012, Savita Halappanavar (31) attended the Galway University Hospital complaining of back pain. Unaware that Savita was suffering contractions prior to the miscarriage of her first child, doctors at the hospital sent her home.

Savita returned later that day, when doctors identified that her membranes were bulging and ordered blood tests. Savita was admitted for observation, but was told by the hospital registrar that the loss of her child was inevitable. Anti-biotics were prescribed to prevent an infection.

The following morning, Savita´s waters broke. An “await events” approach was adopted by the hospital, and when Savita asked for a termination on the Tuesday morning, her request was refused because a foetal heartbeat was still present.

By Wednesday, Savita´s condition had deteriorated significantly. She was diagnosed with sepsis and prescribed stronger anti-biotics but, when her condition deteriorated further, the decision was made to terminate the pregnancy. At this point it was discovered that the foetal heartbeat had stopped.

During surgery to remove the foetus, Savita spontaneously delivered her dead child. She was transferred to the hospital´s intensive care unit suffering septic shock, but she became critically ill and suffered a fatal cardiac arrest due to severe sepsis on Sunday October 28th.

Savita´s husband – Praveen – took his wife´s body back to India for burial and, on his return to Ireland, made a claim against the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) for the avoidable death of his wife, alleging that had an abortion been performed when it was first requested, Savita would still be alive.

The claim for the avoidable death of Savita Halappanavar attracted interest from all over the world due to Ireland´s abortion laws that acknowledge the right to life of an unborn child with equal right to life of the mother.

Two investigations were launched into the circumstances that led to Savita´s death – both finding significant failings in the standard of care provided by Galway University Hospital. In April 2013, the jury at the inquest into Savita´s death returned a unanimous verdict of death by medical misadventure.

Praveen subsequently left Ireland to pursue his career in the United States and, on his behalf, Praveen´s solicitor made an application for the claim for the avoidable death of Savita Halappanavar to be heard at the High Court.

A court date was set for March 10th but, days before the hearing was due to commence, it was announced that the claim for the avoidable death of Savita Halappanavar had been settled for an undisclosed six-figure amount.

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Woman Recovers Compensation for the Late Diagnosis of Cancer

A mother of two has recovered £50,000 compensation for the late diagnosis of cancer which resulted in her unnecessarily having chemotherapy treatment.

The unnamed woman from Swindon in Wiltshire visited her GP in March 2009 complaining of a persistent dry cough, a hoarse voice and a lump on the side of her neck. The woman – who had successfully been treated for breast cancer before in 2000 – was referred to the Ear, Nose and Throat Department of the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

At the hospital, the woman underwent a CT scan that indicated she may have cancer of the lymph nodes. However, a biopsy taken after the scan was too small for the preliminary diagnosis to be confirmed and, following a subsequent MRI on her neck, the woman was diagnosed with “idiopathic vocal chord palsy”.

The woman again visited her GP in July 2011 – this time with a larger lump on the left side of her neck, the same persistent dry cough and hoarse voice as before and pins and needles in her left arm. The GP arranged for his patient to have an urgent chest X-ray. The X-ray revealed breast cancer that had metastasised into the woman´s throat and left shoulder.

Six courses of chemotherapy managed to halt the spread of the cancer and resolve the pins and needles in the woman´s left arm, but such was her distress at having to unnecessarily undergo the invasive treatment, that she complained to the Royal University Hospital about the standard of care that she had received.

After the hospital denied that the standard of care she had received fell below an acceptable level, the woman sought legal advice and claimed compensation for the late diagnosis of cancer. An investigation commissioned by her solicitor found abnormalities in the 2009 MRI scan that “at the time and in the circumstances” should have prompted a second biopsy that would have enabled a correct diagnosis.

Despite legal action being threatened, the Royal United Hospital continued to deny its liability for the woman´s unnecessary chemotherapy treatment and refused to discuss a settlement of compensation for the late diagnosis of cancer. However, as soon as court proceedings were issued, the NHS Litigation Authority agreed to settle the claim for £50,000.

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Health Service Contests Value of Burst Appendix Claim

 

The value of a claim made by a woman who was rendered infertile because the NHS failed to remove her burst appendix is being disputed by the health service.

 

In 2008, the woman in question – Sarah Marquis – experienced severe abdominal pains and visited her GP. However, she was then admitted to Homerton Hospital in East London, where she was put on a course of painkillers. It was not noticed that Ms Marquis’ appendix needed to be removed. Eventually, doctors did remove the organ, but by that stage it was already “gangrenous and perforated”, causing such a severe abdominal infection that Ms Marquis was rendered infertile.

 

Ms Marquis’ illness meant that she could not return to work at DLA Piper, a top London law firm, for three-and-a-half years after her operation. After seeking legal advice, Ms Marquis made a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, who oversee proceedings at the hospital where Ms Marquis was treated. Though the Foundation Trust admitted liability for the delay in removing Ms Marquis’ appendix – and her subsequent injuries – they contest the value for which she is making a claim. Ms Marquis is seeking compensation of £1.5 million, though the NHS say the value should be closer to £300,000.

 

The claim for medical negligence compensation proceeded to the High Court in London, where it was overseen by Judge Robert Owen QC. Ms Marquis gave evidence of how her life was changed by the burst appendix and subsequent infection, such as the missed opportunities she had to work in the United States of America, where she could have expected an increased salary. She will also never be able to conceive her own biological child.

 

The barrister for the NHS Trust, Bradley Martin, read an apology from the Trust to Ms Marquis, fully acknowledging that her injuries were their fault. However, he proceeded to say that he doubted that Ms Marquis’ “burning desire” to have children was compatible with her wish to move to the USA to advance her career, and posited that she would not have done both, choosing one over the other.
The hearing is due to continue later this month.

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Medical Negligence Claim Settled After Doctors Left Surgical Implements Inside Woman

 

The medical negligence compensation claim of a woman who had surgical material left inside her after giving birth has received a settlement of compensation.

 

Elise Cattle, aged twenty-seven, gave birth to her son Freddie in the Hull Women and Children’s Hospital in August 2012. However, for a long period after the birth, Ms Cattle complained of intense pain and bleeding, as well as repeated infections that affected her ability to act in a parental capacity. Her opportunity to bond with her son was limited by the fact her parents had to assist with tasks such as changing and washing the newborn.

 

For five months after the birth, Elise was prescribed treatment by her GP. However, when this continually failed to yield any results, the GP referred Elise to a specialist, who discovered that surgical packaging that is used to reduce bleeding in medical procedures had been left inside Elise after Freddie’s birth. Once it was removed, Elise made a full recovery.

 

Elise proceeded to get legal advice on her situation before proceeding to make a claim against the Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust for the pain she suffered as a direct result of medical negligence. After an investigation determined that the NHS Trust were completely liable for Elise’s condition, negotiations ensued between legal representatives of both parties. A settlement of £7,500 was agreed upon.

 

After the announcement of the compensation settlement, Elise told a paper that ““when I got home from hospital, the pain just got worse and worse. I couldn’t sit down for days afterwards, and had to use a rubber ring to sit on. I was laid on the sofa while my mum and dad did everything. It really affected my bond with Freddie. I felt like I’d failed him.”
Elise’s solicitor also spoke to the newspaper; “It is accepted by the NHS that these errors are being made simply because healthcare staff and providers are not following clear, simple guidelines.” However, Mike Wright – the Chief Nurse for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, also commented that “when mistakes do happen, we are committed to being open and honest about them”.

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Hearing for Delayed Spinal Abscess Treatment

The result of a medical negligence claim for treatment of a spinal access is set to be determined in London’s High Court later this month.

The anonymous patient, unnamed for legal reasons, was paralysed from the waist down because of the delay in treatment for spinal abscesses in 2009. The treatment was due to be carried out in the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, but the delay has rendered the patient wheelchair bound and reliant on twenty-four seven care.

Though the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability for the negligent treatment, no agreement has been reached concerning how much the settlement of compensation is worth. Legal representatives of the Trust argue that much of the care costs associated with the treatment of the fifty-year-old male patient are associated with teenage drug abuse, which the NHS Trust claims they should not be liable to pay.

Whilst the patient’s lawyer value the compensation settlement of the paralysed man at £3.4 million, the NHS Trust say that it should be less than £1 million, telling the court that the wheelchair has not stopped the man’s “chaotic” lifestyle. They say he still engages in the company of drug addicts and other so-called “undesirable characters”.

Lawyers for the Trust say that the patient has a duty to stop his drug habit, and that public policy states that the claim for compensation should be drastically reduced. The opposing lawyers argued that their client has a dependency disorder, and that refusing him compensation would mean he would not suitable manage his disability.
Due to the claimant’s vulnerability, the judge has ordered that nothing identifiable be published. The case is set to continue for the rest of the week.

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Claim for Laparoscopy Negligence Resolved at Court

A claim for laparoscopy negligence has been resolved at a hearing of the High Court in London with the approval of a multi-million pound compensation settlement.

In March 2010, the claimant – who wishes to remain anonymous – was admitted to the Hope Hospital in Manchester to undergo a laparoscopy procedure to remove a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. At the age of 22, the woman worked as a hairdresser, was in a serious relationship and had an active social life.

However, during the laparoscopy procedure, the woman´s aorta was punctured. The patient suffered such significant blood loss that her circulation collapsed and her heart stopped. During the medical emergency, the woman´s brain was starved of oxygen and she is now permanently brain damaged.

Due to the brain damage, the woman is unable to represent herself legally and a claim for laparoscopy negligence was made on her behalf by her mother. In 2012 the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability and a hearing was scheduled to determine how much compensation for laparoscopy negligence the woman should receive.

Before the hearing could take place, a settlement of the claim for laparoscopy negligence was negotiated. The deal involved a lump-sum payment of £2 million plus annual index-linked payments for the rest of the woman´s life. Like all claims made on behalf of claimants unable to represent themselves, before the settlement could be finalized it had to be approved by a judge.

Consequently at the High Court in London, Mrs Justice Swift was told about the circumstances that led to the woman´s catastrophic brain injury. The judge heard how the claimant depends on a wheelchair for her mobility, has severe cognitive deficits and will always require 24-hour care. An apology was also read to the court on behalf of the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.

Approving the settlement of the claim for laparoscopy negligence, Mrs Justice Swift commented that the claimant (now 27 years old) was generally cheerful and had a good sense of humour and said: “I hope that this substantial settlement will at least ensure she has the best possible quality of life in the years to come and I wish her and the other members of her family the very best for the future”.

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Several Patients Overdosed with Antibiotics during Cataract Procedure

A number of patients undergoing cataract surgery at the Mount Stuart Hospital in Torquay received an overdose of antibiotics during surgery on their cataracts, and as such will likely be entitled to a claim for compensation.

When two patients arrived at the Accident and Emergency Department at the Torbay Hospital on the same day with problems concerning their eyesight, it was noted that both patients underwent cataract surgery on the same day that July. This observation launched an investigation, where it was discovered that the patients had both been given an overdose of antibiotics during the procedure.

The hospital where the surgery occurred, Mount Stuart, immediately stopped preforming the procedure and launched an internal investigation. All nineteen individuals who had undergone the surgery on the 26th July were called in to the hospital for a review. No corrective surgery was needed, though two patients were “seriously harmed” by the overdose, and four others “showed symptoms” of damage.

It was uncovered that the antibiotic had been diluted for sub-conjuntive use (use below the clear layer over the eye), yet had been given intracamerally (into a section of the eye that was much deeper). Though the antibiotic was suitable for use in both locations, the concentration would not have been the same for both.

Human error was cited for the mix-up, and the consultant surgeon, their assistant and a circulating practitioner were all suspended from the hospital. The procedure has been resumed at Mount Stuart Hospital.

A spokesperson for the South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group has stated that “We are satisfied that the hospital has learned important lessons from this incident and that it has acted swiftly to make the necessary changes that will ensure future safety for patients.”

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Family Settle Claim for Hospital Negligence after Appendix Operation Claims Life of Daughter

The family of a young girl who died due to hyponatraemia has settled their claim for medical negligence after an appendix operation against the Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry.

In June 2001, nine-year-old Raychel Ferguson attended the Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry for what was supposed to be a straightforward operation to remove her appendix. Although the operation was successful, Raychel reacted to fluid from an intravenous drip which caused an abnormally low level of sodium in her blood to develop, and her brain cells to expand.

Raychel was rushed to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, but her reaction to the fluid was too severe for the injury to be treated and she died from hyponatraemia several hours later.

Raychel´s parents – Ray and Marie Ferguson – made a compensation claim for hospital negligence after an appendix operation against the Western Health and Social Care Trust following an investigation into Raychel´s death which revealed that she was one of four children who had died at the hospital where the incorrect administration of intravenous fluid was a contributing factor to their deaths.

Only last year did the Western Health and Social Care Trust admit liability for Raychel´s death and issue an apology to her family.

Ray and Marie Ferguson´s compensation claim for hospital negligence after an appendix operation continued, and was scheduled to be heard at the High Court in Belfast for the assessment of damages now that liability had been admitted. However, shortly before the hearing was due to get underway, it was revealed that the family had accepted an out-of-court settlement of their claim amounting to £40,000.

The relatively low settlement for the death of a child was explained as being higher than the statutory compensation limit of £11,800. Had the Fergusons pursued with their legal action, the High Court judge could have imposed the compensation limit, and therefore the offer of compensation for hospital negligence after an appendix operation was accepted by the Ferguson´s on the advice of their solicitors.

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