Medical Negligence News

Disabled Woman Compensated for Severe Brain Damage Sustained from Missed Diagnosis

Posted on: November 12th, 2016 by Medical Negligence

A patient, whose diagnosis of viral encephalitis was delayed by forty-eight hours, has been awarded a seven-figure settlement of compensation for the life-changing brain damage that resulted from the infection.

The woman in question, whose name has not been released to the press, attended her local hospital in June 2009. As she was  suffering from severe headaches, she admitted overnight on observational grounds. However, during her stay, medical staff were unable to diagnose her condition and she was discharged. In less than twenty-four hours she returned to the hospital, her condition severely deteriorated, and she was re-admitted as an emergency case.

This time around, doctors at the hospital diagnosed the cause of the pain as viral encephalitis, or swelling of the brain. But this diagnosis came too late to prevent any lasting damage. The patient sustained life-changing brain damage that has left her dependent on those around her for everything. The woman has a severely impaired memory and struggles to remember recent events.

The extent of her brain damage meant that the woman was unable to make claims for medical negligence by herself. As such, members of her family made the claim on her behalf against the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who manage the hospital where the woman was treated. The Trust admitted negligence and paid the woman a £1.1 million lump sum of compensation for their failure to diagnose. This was approved at the High Court of London.

Judge Sir Ian Dove, who oversaw proceedings at the court noted that  “Money can never fully correct what has happened to the claimant in this case, but unfortunately it is the best that the law can do. She will be now be comfortable and secure for the remainder of her life, will be able to stay in her own home and to have carers around her so that she can live the fullest life she can.”

Barrister Alexander Hutton QC, a representative for the Gloucester Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, commented that “We are extremely sorry for the failings that happened in relation to the care of this claimant. The consequences for her have been very grave. I would like to pay tribute to her family. They have been unstinting in their support of the claimant in very difficult circumstances. We do hope that this compensation helps and we do wish the claimant and her family all the best for the future.”