In a case of severe medical negligence, earlier this year in April 2008, a woman had a sore throat and high temperature, both of which she had been experiencing for four days, so went to see her general practitioner who prescribed ibuprofen and sent her home. When she began to feel worse with severe pains in her right knee, an ambulance was called and she was taken to A&E.
A senior house officer examined her, requested some blood tests and X-rays and for the orthopaedic team to look into the pain in her knee. As there were no abnormalities with the X-rays, she was sent home again early the next day, and advised to continue with the ibuprofen.
That morning she returned to the general practitioner as she vomiting and still in a great deal of pain. She was then readmitted to hospital in the intensive care department after a diagnosis of septic shock. She developed organ failure six days later and passed away. She was just 37 years old and the mother two children, ages five and 21 months.
The medical negligence solicitor reviewed the case and remarked that the NHS Trust involved had been negligent in its care in that the woman should have been admitted to the hospital to stay rather than being discharged the next day. Specialists in emergency medicine, orthopaedics and microbiology noted that had she been properly examined on her initial visit, she would have been treated with the appropriate antibiotics and would most likely have survived.
The Trust admitted a breach of their duty of care by not admitting the woman to the hospital on her visit but disputed causation by claiming that giving her antibiotics would not have prevented her death. This lack of agreement started a debate between the Trust and the medical experts about the precise time that the antibiotics should have been administered so as to have treated the woman’s condition properly.
The Trust made an initial offer of £200,000 to settle the claim, admitting breach of duty but still disputing causation. A subsequent meeting failed to reach an amicable agreement so a revised schedule of loss was submitted with a counter offer to which the Trust came back with an offer of £225,000. The final settlement amount was increased to £250,000 which the woman’s husband’s accepted in April 2014 so he could get some closure on the issue which had very much disrupted his life at the time.
Sadly severe medical negligence is something that is becoming common. If you have been a victim, make sure to claim the compensation you deserve.