Compensation Claim for Perineal Tear Injury Resolved Out of Court after Two-Year Wait

A woman´s claim for a perineal tear injury has been resolved out of court after an NHS Trust denied its liability for the injury for more than two years.

In February 2010, Dalia DuMaurier gave birth to a daughter at the County Hospital in Stafford. Dalia´s pregnancy with Isabeau had been trouble-free and healthy, but unfortunately during the delivery process Dalia suffered a perineal tear.

The tear was noticed by the consultant physician attending Dalia and repaired; however, within the following months, Dalia developed complications such faecal incontinence, a rectovaginal fistula and a parastornal hernia.

Having to now wear a colostomy bag and receive regular treatment for her injuries, Dalia (30) from Rising Brook in Staffordshire was forced to give up a career in nursing. She also had to undergo therapy to help her cope with the changes in her lifestyle.

After a medical investigation, the cause of the complications was identified as an inadequate repair to the perineal tear. Dalia took legal advice and made a claim for a perineal tear injury against the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, alleging that she would not have suffered the complications had the tear been adequately repaired at the time.

The NHS Trust denied its liability for Dalia´s injuries for more than two years until an independent enquiry revealed that in all probability Dalia´s injuries were caused by the consultant physician either stitching the wrong location or failing to spot a second tear.

Negotiations began to resolve Dalia´s claim for a perineal teat injury and a settlement of £390,000 was agreed out-of-court to compensate her for her avoidable injuries. The settlement will be held in a personal injury trust to account for the cost of Dalia´s ongoing treatment.

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Health Ombudsman Criticises Hospital for Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer

The Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman has criticised St Albans Hospital in Hertfordshire for the failure to diagnose breast cancer in a forty-one year old patient.

The patient – identified in the Ombudsman´s report as “Mrs G” – was referred to the breast care unit at St Albans Hospital in May 2010 by her GP. However, according to the report, the hospital failed to conduct the appropriate tests and the woman´s breast cancer was overlooked.

When the woman returned to St Albans Hospital for a second round of tests in December 2011, tests revealed that the breast cancer had advanced to an inoperable stage and had spread into her brain, liver and bones. The woman had to give up her job because of her illness – adding considerable financial strains to the stress she was experiencing about how long she had left to share with her young son.

The Ombudsman´s investigation into the hospital´s failure to diagnose breast cancer concluded that “Mrs G was let down by the hospital” and that her life had been cut short by the hospital´s “serious failings”. The Ombudsman also claimed that the patient would have made a full recovery if the cancer had been diagnosed at an earlier stage.

The Ombudsman called for West Hertfordshire NHS Trust to make a “full and sincere apology” to their patient and to pay her £70,000 compensation for the failure to diagnose breast cancer. Author of the report – Julie Mellor – said “This is a very sad example of what can go wrong when doctors and trusts don’t carry out the necessary and proper diagnoses and tests, and the terrible impact it can have on someone’s life.”

In response, the NHS Trust´s Chief Executive Samantha Jones commented “We clearly failed Ms G and I have offered her my personal and sincerest apologies.” Ms Jones added that the NHS Trust had put mechanisms in place to prevent the same mistakes being made again, and said that consultants dealing with breast cancer referrals had been given additional training.

Last year the West Hertfordshire Hospital Trust admitted that it had failed to follow NHS guidelines for monitoring patients referred to the breast unit at St Albans Hospital. Instead of arranging second appointments for patients who missed their initial consultation – as is required under the NHS guidelines – the NHS trust had discharged them in order to remove patients from their books.

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Health Trust offers Cancer Patients Compensation for Lack of Care

The Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust is offering cancer patients compensation for a lack of care following an investigation into the standard of care provided by a consultant urologist.

Twenty-seven patients of the East Surrey Hospital in Redhill are believed to have suffered avoidable side effects related to their care, or have experienced an avoidable progression of their disease, due to a lack of care by consultant urologist Paul Miller, who worked at the hospital between 2006 and 2013.

According to the results of an internal investigation, the patients – who are all suffering from bladder cancer or prostate cancer – were not given the full range of options available to them or informed of the consequences, and subsequently they were provided with treatments that may not have been in their best interests and due to which there is a higher likelihood of the cancer returning.

The investigation into the lack of care provided by Paul Miller was launched after concerns were raised by colleagues and specialist nurses at the East Surrey hospital last November. Dr Miller was suspended the following month while an investigation into the standard of care provided to patients took place, and he was subsequently dismissed from his post earlier this year.

More than one thousand letters have been sent to patients under the care of Mr Miller, with the NHS Trust offering the twenty-seven affected cancer patients compensation for a lack of care. The NHS Trust has also established a helpline for concerned patients – 0808 168 7754 – which is manned between 11:00am and 7:00pm from Monday to Friday.

Speaking about the offer to cancer patients of compensation for a lack of care, Michael Wilson – Chief Executive of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust – said that Mr Miller had not “followed the advice of multi-disciplinary teams in carrying out established and recognised cancer treatments”. He added that the letters sent to each of the patients were “to enable compensation to be considered and paid”.

In addition to working at the East Surrey Hospital, Mr Millar was also employed at the Spire Gatwick Park Hospital in Horley. The hospital´s director – John Crisp – said that Mr Miller had not undertaken any surgery or held clinics at the hospital since his suspension in December. Mr Miller is also subject to a formal investigation by the General Medical Council.

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Faulty Eye Surgery Claims made by Patients of Somerset Hospital

A number of patients at a Somerset Hospital have made faulty eye surgery claims for compensation after a private healthcare company was brought in to conduct cataract removal operations.  

The faulty eye surgery claims started in May of this year when the Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust contracted a private company – Vanguard Healthcare – to help clear a backlog of patients waiting for cataract removal operations at the Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.

After just four days the contract was cancelled and operations halted due “technical reasons”; and, since the cancellation of the contract, thirty-one of the sixty-two patients treated by Vanguard Healthcare surgeons have reported “poor outcomes” to their operations and are seeking legal advice about making faulty eye surgery claims for compensation.

Operations to remove cataracts are usually very low risk – typically 1-in-400 results in complications – but many of the patients considering faulty eye surgery claims for compensation have complained about blurred vision, swelling and pain beyond that which would normally be associated with a cataract removal operation.

One 84-year-old patient in particular suffered permanent damage to his cornea during a cataract removal operation, and he will need a cornea transplant to restore his vision.

The Musgrove Park Hospital is treating those affected by the alleged faulty eye surgery in its own ophthalmology department, but the hospital and NHS Trust are refusing to comment on the possibility that patients may be able to recover compensation for faulty eye surgery. The Trust has announced that it is carrying out its own investigation into the allegations.

Vanguard Healthcare admitted that the company had received complaints about the standard of healthcare it had delivered and has committed to work closely with the Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust to establish the root causes of the complaints.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health commented that any compensation settlements for faulty eye surgery claims would be recovered from Vanguard Healthcare, along with the cost of repairing the damage the private healthcare company may have done to the NHS patients.

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Compensation for Childbirth Care Deficiencies Approved by Judge

A multi-million pounds settlement of compensation for childbirth care deficiencies has been approved by a High Court judge in favour of a seven-year-old boy from Nottingham.

The unnamed boy was born in November 2006 at the Queen´s Medical Centre in Nottingham after there had been complications during his birth. The boy suffered severe brain damage as a result of mismanaged attempts to resuscitate him, and he now needs around-the-clock care as he can neither walk nor talk and has acute learning difficulties.

The boy´s parents claimed compensation for childbirth care deficiencies against the Queen´s Medical Centre and the NHS Trust that has responsibility for the Centre – Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust – alleging that their son´s brain damage could have been avoided with competent post-natal care. The Trust admitted liability for the boy´s injury, and a compensation package was negotiated to provide care for the rest of his life.

At the High Court in London, Mr Justice Lewis heard the sequence of events which led to the claim for childbirth care deficiencies being made and details of the settlement that had been agreed – a £3.25 million lump sum to be paid immediately and index-linked payments each year, starting at £146,500 and rising to £230,000 when the boy reaches the age of 19. The total value of the package is calculated at between £8 million and £9 million.

The judge described the settlement as “just and appropriate” and publicly commended the boy´s parents for the support they had given him to date. As part of the agreement, an apology to the family was read by the Trust´s barrister – the apology acknowledging that there had been deficiencies in the provision of resuscitation when the boy was born, but these had been identified and rectified.

The Chief Executive of the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust Peter Homa also spoke in court, saying that the Trust hoped the settlement would provide the family with financial security for the future, although no amount of money could undo the distress they had experienced. Judge Lewis then approved the settlement of compensation for childbirth care deficiencies and closed the case.

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Claim for Failing to Act on Abnormal Heartbeat Resolved at Hearing

A claim for failing to act on an abnormal heartbeat has been resolved at the High Court after a judge approved a compensation package in favour of a seven-year-old boy from North Yorkshire.

Toby Hart from Bedale in North Yorkshire needs around-the-clock care after midwives at Friarage Hospital in Northallerton failed to act on an abnormal heartbeat reading, delaying his birth by 25 minutes and starving his brain of oxygen.

Toby was born severely disabled, and has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and learning difficulties. He is registered blind and for the first seven years of his life he has been supported by his parents – Michelle and Matthew Hart.

Michelle and Matthew made a compensation claim for failing to act on an abnormal heartbeat and, after the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust acknowledged that errors had been made at Toby´s birth, they started to receive interim payments of compensation.

Eventually a compensation package was agreed upon that will provide care and support for Toby for the rest of his life and, at the High Court in London, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies heard an apology read to the family on behalf of the NHS Foundation Trust.

In the apology, a spokesperson from the NHS Foundation Trust said that no amount of money can compensate adequately for the injury suffered by Toby but it was hoped that the agreed sum will give the family some financial security and provide for Toby’s needs now and in the future.

The family are to receive a lump sum of £2 million pounds in settlement of their claim for failing to act on an abnormal heartbeat, with annual payments of almost £500,000 thereafter. Mrs Justice Nicola Davies approved the settlement, adding “I know nothing can turn the clock back”.

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Claim for Kidney Transplant Medical Negligence Resolved Out of Court

A Merseyside man´s compensation claim for kidney transplant medical negligence has been resolved out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Robert Law from The Wirral in Merseyside developed lymphoma cancer – a type of blood cancer – following a kidney transplant operation at the Royal Liverpool Hospital in 2010.

It transpired that the infection had been missed when the kidney was screened prior to the transplant, but Robert´s immune system was too weak after the initial surgery for him to undergo a second transplant and he quickly became ill with the disease.

Robert (62) underwent a course of chemotherapy to treat the cancer and it is currently in remission. In 2012 the NHS Blood and Transplant Unit issued him with an apology, and Robert made a claim for kidney transplant medical negligence.

The NHS admitted liability for Robert´s illness, and an undisclosed settlement of medical negligence compensation was negotiated.

Lynda Hamlyn – Chief Executive of the NHS Blood and Transplant Unit – said she hoped the settlement of Robert´s kidney transplant medical negligence compensation claim would allow him to move on from the emotional and physical trauma he had experienced.

Ms Hamlyn added that new mechanisms had been put in place in order that a similar event could not happen again, but a second kidney transplant medical negligence claim is also waiting to be resolved in the case of Gillian Smart (52) from St Helens in Merseyside, who also received a kidney from the infected donor.

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Widower Awarded Compensation for Fatal Surgical Negligence

A man, whose wife died after a supposedly routine operation, has been awarded £150,000 compensation for fatal surgical negligence.

In March 2010, Helen Blyth was admitted into Northampton General Hospital for an operation to repair a large hiatus hernia located behind her heart. The “routine” operation appeared to be successful; but at 8:00pm that evening, Helen´s blood pressure started to fall and, at 1:00am the following morning she was unresponsive.

Helen was rushed back into the operating theatre, but was pronounced dead at 1:55am. The inquest into her death concluded that a rare complication had caused the fall in blood pressure and subsequent cardiac arrest; but Helen´s widower – Sydney Blyth – was not convinced and asked solicitors to look more closely into his wife´s death.

Medical experts working on behalf of the solicitor discovered that the surgeon who had conducted the surgery – Mr David Cubbon-Hunter – had used Pro Tack staples during the operation, despite a warning from the manufacturer that Pro Tack staples should not be used in situations where the hiatus hernia was located in the diaphragm.

Using this information, Sydney claimed compensation for fatal surgical negligence against Mr Cubbon-Hunter and the Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust – alleging that Mr Cubbon-Hunter was negligent for using Pro Tack staples when he should have been aware of the warning issued by the manufacturer.

After investigating the claim for compensation for fatal surgical negligence, the Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust admitted liability for the error responsible for Helen´s death. A settlement amounting to £150,000 was negotiated to compensate Sydney and his family for the tragic loss of his wife and his children´s mother.

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Hospital Misdiagnosis Compensation for Cauda Equina Syndrome Error

A Leicester hospital has admitted that the misdiagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome by a junior doctor resulted in a patient suffering a life-long disability which could have been prevented.

The patient, 45 year old Michelle Chapman from Melton in Leicestershire, visited her GP in May 2007 suffering from numbness and incontinence, and was alerted to the possibility that she was suffering from Cauda Equina Syndrome – a condition caused by the nerves being trapped between collapsed vertebrae. Michelle´s GP advised her to look out for symptoms of the condition getting worse and to summon an ambulance if necessary.

Some days later, Michelle attended the Leicester Royal Infirmary where she was advised by a junior doctor that there were no signs of the condition and was sent home. It was only when Michelle´s GP telephoned her to follow-up the initial appointment that he heard of the deterioration in her condition and immediately booked an MRI scan at the hospital. The scan revealed that serious nerve damage had already occurred and that Michelle required an operation to prevent further injury.

Michelle underwent surgery to extract part of the discs which were pressing on her nerve, but the operation was too late to prevent Michelle suffering permanent nerve damage which has left her with numbness in her legs, incontinence and requiring the lifelong use of crutches to assist her with walking.

After seeking legal guidance, Michelle made a compensation claim for the misdiagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome against the University of Leicester NHS Trust – the authority responsible for treatment at the Leicester Royal Infirmary – and an undisclosed out-of-court settlement was agreed between Michelle´s legal advisors and the Trust which will see Michelle able to move into a specially adapted home and receive specialist medical care to help her adjust to living with Cauda Equina Syndrome.

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Compensation for the Failure to Monitor a Mother during the Later Stages of Pregnancy Approved

The family of a young boy, who suffered brain damage due to alleged hospital negligence, has heard a £6 million settlement of compensation for the failure to monitor a mother during the later stages of pregnancy approved at the High Court.

Joseph O´Reggio was born at the New Cross Hospital in Birmingham on April 14, 2001, following an alleged failure by maternity staff to monitor his mother during the later stages of her pregnancy. During the period that Joseph´s mother was not being monitored, his heart rate fell and he was deprived of oxygen in the womb.

Joseph suffered brain damage due to the fall in the foetal heart rate and he was born with cerebral palsy. Joseph now needs around-the-clock care and is unable to feed himself or communicate verbally.

On Joseph´s behalf, his mother made a claim for compensation for the failure to monitor a mother during the later stages of pregnancy – alleging that a decrease in the foetal heart rate had been identified on the morning of Joseph´s birth, but a specialist had not been summoned until 10:00pm that evening.

In 2011 – ten years after Joseph´s allegedly mismanaged birth – the Royal Wolverhampton NHS trust admitted that Joseph should have been delivered earlier, but failed to accept full responsibility for his birth injuries.

An agreement was negotiated in which the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust would accept 80% liability and pay 80% of the compensation for the failure to monitor a mother during the later stages of pregnancy once it was determined how much Joseph would need for his future care.

At the Royal Court of Justice this week, the final settlement of compensation for the failure to monitor a mother during the later stages of pregnancy was approved, and comprised of a lump sum payment and annual index-linked periodic payments with a total value in excess of £6 million.

The settlement will allow Joseph´s family to move into a specially-adapted house, equipped with the rehabilitation tools Joseph will need to develop his hearing, sight, touch, taste and language skills, and eye-hand coordination.

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