UK Doctor Negligence

Blinded Patient Negotiates Claim for Settlement

Posted on: August 9th, 2016 by Medical Negligence

An anonymous patient, who was rendered blind in one eye after receiving a substandard level of care at the Cheltenham General Hospital, has entered negotiations to resolve his claim for compensation.

The negligent treatment was administered in December 2015, when the patient attended the Ophthalmic Department of the Cheltenham General Hospital such that medication could be delivered to his retina. This entailed what is described as a “routine procedure” in which medication is injected into the humour of the eye, a gelatinous substance that gives the shape to the eyeball.

However, shortly after his discharge from hospital, the patient began experiencing pain in his eye. It transpired that he had developed an infection. This severe complication, known as endopthalmitis and affecting the internal layers of the eye, is associated with intraocular surgery. For this patient, it gradually worsened until it tragically resulted in the loss of sight in the affected eye.

The patient alleges that the infection was the direct result of unclean conditions in the theatre in which the procedure was carried out. An investigation ensued, which revealed that there were many failings in the sanitation of the room. The sink was described as cluttered, and that dust had collected on surfaces all over the room, including the operating lamp. Additionally, the medical staff at the facility were found to have contributed to the patient’s injury, as it was discovered that they failed to adhere to established guidelines for the treatment. For example, they failed to apply antiseptic to the surface of the eye for at least three minutes before injection.

Upon discovering the results of the investigation, the patient sought legal counsel and proceeded to make a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Gloucester Royal NHS Foundation Trust for his blindness due to unsanitary conditions. The trust have since conceded liability and entered negotiations with the patient.

Couple Settles Claim for Newborn’s Death

Posted on: December 18th, 2015 by Medical Negligence

A couple’s claim for the death of their newborn son has been settled for €70,000 after a case in the High Court.

Fiona Watters was admitted to the Cavan General Hospital on the 20th November 2015 whilst heavily pregnant with her first baby. A short while later her waters broke and, in an attempt to speed up the delivery process, she was administered increasingly high levels of Prostaglandin.

In the evening of the 22nd November, medical staff at the hospital made an effort to deliver the baby naturally. However, after an hour the midwives sought advice from Dr Salah Aziz, a consultant obstetrician, as there were some signs that the baby was suffering from foetal distress.

When Dr Aziz arrived at the hospital’s Labour Ward, he discovered that the only out-of-hours operating theatre was already occupied by another Caesarean Section. In light of this, Dr Azizz attempted a vacuum delivery and a forceps delivery on the baby, yet neither worked. As soon as the operating theatre was available, the baby – a boy named Jamie – was delivered in poor condition.

Soon after his birth Jamie was transferred to a Special Babies Unit in the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin. He sadly died a short while after his admittance, just days old in his mother’s arms. A subsequent investigation was launched into Jamie’s death, yet was stopped by the High Court in 2013 when Dr Aziz pointed out that the investigators that were appointed by the HSE did not undertake proper procedures.

Ms Watters and the baby’s father, her partner Francis Flynn, had received a copy of the report constructed by investigators and sought legal counsel after the termination of the investigation. They then proceeded to make a claim for compensation against the Cavan General Hospital and the HSE.

Though the HSE did not concede full liability for Jamie’s death for a year after the claim was made, they did commission another investigation. They brought in an independent team of investigators after the deaths of two more children in the same ward.

It was not until December of last year that the cause of Jamie’s death was determined to be medical misadventure, with the large doses of Prostaglandin, the failure of Dr Aziz to notify the registrar of Jamie’s imminent delivery and the lack of available operating theatres all acting as contributory factors.

After this report, the State Claims Agency negotiated a €70,000 settlement for Jamie’s parents, with the case proceeding to the High Court for approval of the package. Mr Justice Richard Humphreys oversaw proceedings, and heard that the settlement hoped to reflect the degree of suffering sustained by Jamie’s parents. Judge Humphreys approved the figure, adding that €5,000 of the sum should be paid into court funds for the benefits of the couple’s daughter.

Widow Wins Costs in Claim for the Misdiagnosis of Cancer against the NHS

Posted on: April 8th, 2015 by Medical Negligence

A widow has avoided bankruptcy after pursuing a claim for the misdiagnosis of cancer against the NHS over a nine-year period – from Australia.

In November 2006, Dr David O´Reilly (55) died from metastatic colorectal cancer three years after being diagnosed with the disease. However, two years prior to the diagnosis being made, Dr O´Reilly – who was living in Chichester, Sussex, at the time – had undergone an endoscopy to detect the cause of the symptoms he was experiencing.

The consultant who conducted the endoscopy procedure failed to notice a lesion in David´s colon and, when David sought a second medical opinion, he was misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. Following David´s death, his widow – Sue – made a claim for the misdiagnosis of cancer against the NHS, claiming that David would have survived much longer had the correct diagnosis been made at an earlier stage.

Sue subsequently moved back to Australia, as she had a severely disabled son – Shane – who suffered from cerebral palsy, and Sue needed the support of her family to care for him. As tort laws in Australia are similar to those in the UK, Sue applied for the claim for the misdiagnosis of cancer against the NHS to be heard in Australia. The NHS objected but, in 2010, the New South Wales Supreme Court agreed to Sue´s request and hearings began.

Unfortunately, within a year of Sue´s claim for the misdiagnosis of cancer against the NHS getting underway, Shane died unexpectedly due to complications related to his cerebral palsy. The judge hearing the claim, Mr Justice Peter Garling, heard a motion from the NHS to transfer the case to the UK. He agreed that Sue no longer had the commitment of caring for her son to prevent her from travelling to a location where it would be more cost-effective to hear evidence from witnesses.

Judge Garling was appointed as a temporary examiner by the Royal Court of Justice in order that he could continue hearing evidence in the claim for the misdiagnosis of cancer against the NHS; and, earlier this year he found the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in breach of its duty of care, and awarded Sue £91,300 compensation for her husband´s premature death.

A parallel claim for emotional distress was dismissed on the basis that David would have lived just a few more years had his condition been correctly identified at the time of the original endoscopy. Of more concern to Sue was a motion brought by the NHS that it should only be liable for 25% of Sue´s legal costs. The NHS argued that Sue´s legal cost were disproportionately high in comparison to the award of compensation, and that they should not be liable for the full amount.

The costs of pursuing the claim for the misdiagnosis of cancer against the NHS had run into millions in the nine years since David´s death and, if the NHS´ motion was agreed, the amount of debt Sue had accrued would force her into bankruptcy. Fortunately for Sue, Judge Garling dismissed the NHS´ motion and awarded Sue the full amount of her legal costs.

Hospitals Offer Compensation for Errors in Treatment to Twenty-Seven Cancer Patients

Posted on: October 17th, 2014 by Medical Negligence

Two NHS hospitals are offering compensation for errors in treatment to twenty-seven cancer patients, whose health was compromised by a consultant urologist who failed to carry out established and recognised cancer treatments.

The Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has made the offer of compensation for errors in treatment to twenty-seven patients who attended the East Surrey Hospital in Redhill and the Spire Gatwick Park Hospital in Horley between 2006 and 2013.

The offer follows an investigation into consultant urologist Paul Millar and more than 1,200 patients he treated while employed by the two hospitals. The investigation was launched after fellow consultants and specialist nurses voiced concerns to hospital authorities.

The investigation concluded that Miller had not “followed the advice of multi-disciplinary teams in carrying out established and recognised cancer treatments” and a review was initiated into the healthcare he had provided to patients suffering from bladder and prostate cancer.

The review found twenty-seven cases in which patients had suffered avoidable side effects or the unnecessary progression of their disease due to the treatments they were given and Millar´s contract of employment was terminated. There is also a high likelihood of the cancer returning for these patients.

All of the patients whose cases were reviewed in the investigation are being sent letters informing them that their medical records were included in the investigation, but those to the twenty-seven affected by Mr Millar´s negligence include a request to get in touch with the NHS Trust “to enable compensation to be considered and paid”.

The Trust´s Medical Director – Des Holden – acknowledged that the letters will be deeply distressing to the twenty-seven patients and their families. He said that the care provided by the consultant urologist was below the hospital´s standards and he apologised to those who had suffered an avoidable injury or the deterioration of their condition.

The Trust´s Chief Executive – Michael Wilson – added “Without a shadow of a doubt we apologise unreservedly for the care these patients experienced”. He added a helpline had been set up for concerned patients and their families (0808 168 7754) and that the telephone lines will be open from Monday to Friday between 11:00am and 7:00pm.

Patients and their families who have questions about how much compensation for errors in treatment they might be entitled to should call our 24-hour medical negligence claims assessment service.

Widow Resolves Claim for the Misdiagnosis of Bowel Cancer

Posted on: June 3rd, 2014 by Medical Negligence

A widow is to receive £50.000 in compensation for the death of her husband after her claim for the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer was resolved at a court hearing.

Christopher Goodhead from Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire died in 2009 aged 41, four years after his GP had misdiagnosed his bowel cancer as piles. It was two years later that his condition was correctly diagnosed, by which time the cancer was terminal and nothing could be done to save Christopher´s life.

Christopher´s widow – Melissa Cutting – made a compensation claim for the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer against the GP who had misdiagnosed her husband´s condition – Dr Asim Islam of the Stanstead Surgery in Essex – alleging that a correct diagnosis in 2005 would have enabled Christopher to receive treatment that would have saved his life.

Dr Islam contested the claim, arguing that Christopher would have died “on exactly the same day or not significantly later” had he been referred for specialist treatment on the date of his first consultation. However, Melissa´s legal representatives claimed that Christopher´s exceptional fitness would have given him a good chance of survival had the cancer been identified years earlier.

The claim for the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer went to the Royal Courts of Justice, where it was heard by Mrs Justice Patterson. After hearing evidence from medical experts representing both parties, the judge ruled that Dr Islam´s failure to diagnose Christopher correctly had cut short his life, but found that he would have died from the cancer regardless of when it was diagnosed.

Stating that Dr Islam´s sub-standard care had deprived Christopher of four more months of life, Mrs Justice Patterson awarded Melissa £50,000 compensation for the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer.