Woman Compensated for Dislocated Jaw

A woman, who injured whilst undergoing surgery to remove miscarried foetuses, has been awarded a six-figure settlement of compensation after it transpired the surgical mask had severely dislocated her jaw.

The accident occurred in December 2010, just after Amanda Walker (forty-eight from Knaresborough in North Yorkshire) tragically discovered that she had miscarried twins. Shortly after hearing this news, she was scheduled to attend an operation at the Harrogate District Hospital such that the foetuses could be remove. Yet, upon awaking after the operation, Amanda discovered that she was unable to move her jaw and that she had a severe pain down the side of her face.

Doctors at the hospital attributed the pain to a pre-existing condition that Amanda had been diagnosed with ten years earlier.  However, when Amanda visited her dentist to investigate this diagnosis, she discovered that her jaw had been misaligned and that she had sustained severe tissue damage. A MRI scan revealed that Amanda’s jaw injury was comparable with those seen in car crash victims. Due to the pain and severity of the injury, Amanda has been unable to return to her job in marketing.

Once the diagnosis was made, Amanda underwent four corrective surgeries, one of which involved the insertion of an implant. Though the Harrogate District Hospital maintained that the injury was due to a pre-existing condition, Amanda chose to consult a solicitor. The solicitor, in turn, carried out an investigation which concluded that the way in which the surgical mask was applied to Amanda was the cause of her injury, and not a pre-existing condition.

Amanda proceeded to make a claim for medical negligence compensation, but the claim was contested by the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust until very recently. However, a six-figure settlement of compensation was awarded when the trust finally admitted their liability in the surgical mask injury.

The Medical Director of the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, Dr David Scullion, commented that “The Trust is pleased an agreement has been reached. We have apologised to Ms Walker for the impact this injury has had on her. We conducted an investigation into Ms Walker’s care with us in 2010 and want to give assurance that we have learned all we can from this incident.”

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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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NHS Admit Liability after Mistreating Broken Leg

 

A woman, who suffered for many years as the result of negligent treatment of her broken leg, has just heard the NHS admit liability for her mistreatment.

When Sally Marsh, aged twenty-five of Diglis in Worcestershire, was playing football in August 2012, she fell and landed awkwardly on her right leg, resulting in two fractured bones. Emergency services were called, which then took Ms Marsh to the Worcester Royal Hospital, where a full cast was put on her leg.

As Ms Marsh was discharged, she was told that it was safe to apply pressure to the leg, despite it being in a case. The cast was replaced with one that covered just half of her leg eight weeks after the incident, which Ms Marsh wore for a further six weeks. However, after this period it was clear upon removal of the half-cast that the bones had not healed properly.

Ms Marsh was then referred to an orthopaedic specialist, where it was discovered that Ms Marsh’s bones had set at a nineteen degree angle. The consultant said that Ms Marsh would require an operation to fix the alignment. However, Ms Marsh did not undergo this surgery until nine months after the operation, as the NHS consistently cancelled and postponed the procedure.

During this time, Ms Marsh was suffering from a great deal of pain in her right leg, forcing her to go on sick leave in work and preventing her from engaging in her usual hobbies. Eventually, the operation was performed, and afterwards Ms Marsh had a metal cage placed around her leg to help support the limb. This, too, had unintended consequences, as the cage caused Ms Marsh to contract a bacterial infection, forcing her to go on a series of antibiotics.

Ms Marsh sought legal counsel and subsequently made a claim for compensation against the Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, who oversee proceedings at the Worcester Royal Hospital where she was treated. She alleged that her early discharge from hospital contributed to her illness, and that the hospital did not act quickly enough to operate upon her after her casts were removed. Now, as a consequence of her negligent treatment, Ms Marsh has permanent nerve damage and deformity in her leg.

An inquest into the circumstances of the claim was conducted by the Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, after which liability was admitted for the injuries caused to Ms Marsh. Negotiations are currently underway concerning the level of compensation Ms Marsh is to receive.

Ms Marsh commented, after hearing about the admission of liability, that “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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Local Government Ombudsman orders Compensation Payment for Fractured Hip at Nursing Home

The authority have ordered a nursing home, a general practitioner and the local council to pay a compensation settlement after no action was taken to treat a broken hip at the nursing home.

The incident occurred at in February 2012 when a seventy-seven year-old resident, Monica O’Donnell broke her hip at the Parkview House Nursing Home in Uxbridge after a fall. The nursing staff at the facility failed to seek immediate medical attention for Mrs. O’Donnell, and it was only after many complaints of pain by the injured woman that her injury was brought to the attention of medical staff.

However, the doctor attending to Mrs. O’Donnell was only informed of the pain in her hip, not of the causes and the fact that the staff in the home found their patient incapacitated on the floor. Mrs. O’Donnell, who also suffers from Alzheimer’s, could not recall that she had fallen. A month after the accident, Mrs. O’Donnell still suffered from pains in her hip and was brought to Hillingdon Hospital when she was diagnosed with a fractured hip.

An operation was carried out on Mrs. O’Donnell to replace her hip, but she tragically died six weeks later due to her fragility. Medical staff at the hospital recommended to the Hillingdon Council that an investigation of the standard of care provided at the Parkview Nursing Home be carried out. Yet the review found that the home acted appropriately, based on their own records.

Mrs. O’Donnell’s daughter, Angela Kelly, was not satisfied with this conclusion and consulted the Quality Care Commission, her MP Sir John Randall, Hillingdon Council and NHS England. However, it was the Local Government Ombudsman that was willing to bring her investigation into the nursing home further.

The investigation discovered that conflicting records existed in the nursing home, and the home was fined £1,000 compensation by the Ombudsman for its failure to act on the broken hip. The council, too, was ordered to pay £500 compensation to Mrs. Kelly for their inadequate investigation into the incident. The GP attending Mrs. O’Donnell, Oakland Medical Centre, was ordered to pay £750 compensation for neglecting to act upon the fractured hip after the centre was found to keep substandard records and for their failure to be more curious of the circumstances of the injury. Each party was also told to send Mrs. Kelly a written apology for the inadequate level of care given to her mother.

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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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Cataract Surgery Suspended at Devon Hospital due to Consultant Eye Surgeon Negligence

Cataract surgery was temporarily suspended at the Mount Stuart Hospital in Torquay after consultant eye surgeon negligence was attributed to several patients being administered an overdose of antibiotics.

The consultant eye surgeon negligence was revealed after two patients – who had undergone cataract surgery at the Mount Stuart Hospital – attended the Emergency Department of nearby Torbay Hospital complaining of painful eyes.

Examinations of both patients revealed that an overdose of antibiotics had been administered during their respective procedures on July 26, and the Mount Stuart Hospital was alerted straight away.  The Mount Stuart Hospital immediately suspended cataract surgery and launched an investigation.

The results of the investigation showed that the overdose had been caused by the antibiotic having been administered intracamerally (into a chamber deeper within the eye) when the dilution of the antibiotic had been prepared for sub-conjunctive use (just underneath the clear surface of the eye).

A hospital spokesperson explained that the same antibiotic would have been use for both methods of administration but the concentration mix is much different and the stronger solution should not have been administered intracamerally.

“Process failure” and “human” error” were blamed for the consultant eye surgeon negligence and the consultant surgeon – along with the surgeon´s assistant and a circulating practitioner – was suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.

All nineteen patients who underwent cataract surgery at the hospital on July 26 were recalled for an immediate check-up. Two patients were reported as being “seriously harmed” and four others “showed symptoms” of an eye injury. None of the recalled patients required corrective eye surgery.

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) investigation was also launched into the consultant eye surgeon negligence which found that appropriate action had been taken quickly to ensure the safety of patients that had undergone cataract surgery. An apology was also issued by the hospital.

Speaking after the CQC investigation, Gill Gant – from the South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group – said: “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.”

Cataract Surgery has now been resumed at the Mount Stuart Hospital.

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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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