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UK Medical Negligence Claims

Settlement of Compensation for the Failure to Diagnose Encephalitis Approved

April 29, 2017

The High Court has approved a multi-million pounds settlement of compensation for the failure to diagnose encephalitis in favour of a fifty-year-old woman.

On February 10th 2005, the woman – who was referred to only as “CBR” during the approval hearing – had felt unwell throughout the day. The High Court heard that, later that evening, she passed out and suffered a seizure. An ambulance was summoned and the woman was taken to hospital where, despite her rising temperature and disorientation, no diagnosis of her condition was made.

It was not until three days after her admission that the woman was diagnosed with encephalitis – an inflammation of the brain caused by a viral infection. However, due to the delay in diagnosing and administering treatment for the condition, the woman suffered severe neurological damage and now requires full-time supervision and support with domestic activities such as washing and dressing.

After seeking legal advice, the woman´s husband made a claim for compensation for the failure to diagnose encephalitis on his wife´s behalf. The claim against the East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust was made on the grounds that, if CBR had been diagnosed and treatment administered within sixteen hours, she would not have suffered such devastating brain injury and may have made a full recovery.

The East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust conducted an investigation and admitted liability. An interim settlement of compensation for the failure to diagnose encephalitis was agreed so the family could make suitable changes to its home, provide specialist rehabilitation, care and support. A report was then compiled into the woman´s future needs so that a final settlement could be agreed.

At the High Court, the court heard that a final multi-million settlement had been negotiated. The settlement consists of a £1.85 million lump sum and annual tax-free, index-linked payments of £113,000 per year. After hearing that the woman´s life expectancy had been reduced due to the negligent of the NHS Trust, the settlement of compensation for the failure to diagnose encephalitis was approved.

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Compensation for the Side Effects of Epilim and Depakote

April 24, 2017

French families are seeking compensation for the side effects of Epilim and Depakote after a link was established between the drugs and child birth defects.

The drugs Epilim and Depakote were first introduced in France in 1967 under the brand name Depakine. Due to a natural nerve-calming agent called GABA that could stabilize electrical activity in the brain, the drug was originally used to treat epilepsy. Later, the drug was also prescribed for the treatment of bipolar disorder and, more informally, given to treat migraine and other chronic pain conditions.

Over the years, claims have been made that the drug´s active ingredients – sodium valproate and valproic acid – can cause birth defects when taken by pregnant women. Studies conducted in the 1980s found that babies born to mothers who had taken the drug had a 10% risk of suffering from heart, kidney or spine defects, and a 30% – 40% risk of being affected by delayed development or autism.

Now an extensive study by the France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) has confirmed the claims after tracking the medical history of 14,000 women known to have taken Depakine during pregnancy between 2007 and 2014. The study found up to 4,100 children were suffering the side effects of Epilim and Depakote and hundreds more had died in the womb.

Parents of the affected children are claiming that the manufacturers – Sanofi – failed to warn expectant mothers about the potential consequences of taking the drug and have formed a class action to claim compensation for the side effects of Epilim and Depakote. The ANSM may also be facing legal action for failing to adequately advise the medical profession of the side effects of Epilim and Depakote.

In the UK, Epilim was first introduced in 1973. It was not until 2006 that warnings were first issued to doctors about prescribing Epilim and Depakote to expectant mothers. Those warnings have now been extended to include all women of childbearing age unless administration is initiated and supervised by a specialist after all other medications have found to ineffective.

If a member of your family has suffered an injury due to the consequences of taking sodium valproate during pregnancy, there are currently several avenues open to claim compensation for the side effects of Epilim and Depakote. It is in your best interests to speak with a solicitor and seek professional legal advice about claiming compensation for the side effects of Epilim and Depakote while these avenues remain open.

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Widow Settles Claim for the Misdiagnosis of a Heart Disease

March 28, 2017

A widow from Bridgend in South Wales has settled her claim for the misdiagnosis of a heart disease that resulted in the death of her forty-seven year old husband.

Father of three, Andrew Jones, had suffered from high blood pressure and chest pains since 2002, but in July 2011 he felt particularly unwell and attended his GP, who referred him to the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend for tests. Andrew was admitted for a short time for the tests, and then returned regularly to the hospital as an outpatient.

Irregularities in Andrew´s heart were identified by doctors at the Princess of Wales, but they were attributed to an enlarged heart and his health problems were diagnosed as acid reflux. Tragically Andrew collapsed at his home on 17th March 2012 and died in hospital the following day.

The hospital´s error was not identified until the inquest into Andrew´s death; following which his widow – Jacqueline – sought legal advice and made a claim for the misdiagnosis of a heart disease against Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board. In her claim, Jacqueline alleged the hospital was aware Andrew had a history of heart trouble and failed to make a correct diagnosis due to negligence.

The Health Board contested the claim for the misdiagnosis of a heart disease but, after a period of negotiation, it agreed to six-figure settlement of the claim without an admission of liability. Speaking with her local newspaper after the claim had been settled, Jacqueline said:

“We remain devastated by the nature of his death, considering that he had been receiving ongoing treatment for his cardiac problems yet the issues which led to his death were not identified. While nothing will ever bring Andrew back, we truly hope that steps have been taken to ensure that no other family faces the loss and the subsequent ordeal we have been through.”

When asked for a comment, a spokesperson for the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board said: “We are committed to learning from cases to improve practice. We have reviewed this case to determine if any lessons could be learnt from it or changes made to processes.”

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Mother to Receive Compensation for Brain Damage during Surgery

March 3, 2017

The mother of a woman who died ten years after undergoing a routine operation is to receive £430,000 compensation for brain damage during surgery.

In September 2003, nine-year-old Carrie Wright from Hull in Yorkshire attended Leeds Royal Infirmary to undergo elective surgery to repair a heart defect. In order to prevent brain damage while her heart was being repaired, Carrie was put into Deep Hypothermic Circulatory Arrest. However, rather than limiting the period of circulatory arrest to the recommended forty-five minutes, the surgeon kept Carrie in this condition for more than two hours.

As a result of the surgeon´s negligence, Carrie sustained significant brain damage. She was unable to walk or stand without help, she needed assistance with practically every aspect of her daily live and had very limited speech. Until her death in December 2013, Carrie attended a specialist college in Nottinghamshire during the week and was cared for by her parents at weekends.

While she was still alive, Carrie´s mother – Dawn Clayton – claimed compensation for brain damage during surgery on her daughter´s behalf, alleging there was no justifiable reason for Carrie´s surgeon keeping her in circulatory arrest for so long. Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust initially denied liability for Carrie´s injury until the surgeon – Dr Nihal Weerasena – was referred to the General Medical Council to answer charges of gross misconduct.

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust finally admitted liability for Carrie´s injuries last year – just months before a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service found Dr Weerasena guilty of eight charges of gross misconduct. A settlement of compensation for brain damage during surgery was subsequently agreed with the NHS Litigation Authority. Speaking after the claim has been resolved, Carrie´s mother told her local newspaper:

“Prior to the operation, Carrie was just like any other active nine-year old girl. She left me early on the day of the operation and came back from surgery that evening changed forever. I only received a letter of apology last year, some 13 years after the operation. I have always felt that they wanted to sweep this matter under the carpet. It has been horrendous for our family to lose Carrie in the way that we did. This has been exacerbated by the long battle we have had with the hospital to get recognition of their failings.”

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Solicitors Investigate Medical Negligence at Manchester Royal Infirmary

January 10, 2017

Solicitors are investigating a claim of medical negligence at Manchester Royal Infirmary after a woman had a leg amputated due to a misdiagnosis of cancer.

The unnamed woman was admitted to Manchester Royal Infirmary in January 2016 with a fracture of her left femur. Due to a medical history of underlying malignancy, she was given an X-ray and a scan, and her blood was tested for diseases such as osteoporosis that might have caused a weakness of her bone structure.

The scan and blood test showed no sign of a disease, and the woman underwent surgery to insert a metal rod into the cavity of the femur to strengthen it. She was subsequently discharged from the Emergency Surgical Trauma Unit, but readmitted to the hospital the following month to receive treatment for deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

During the surgery, a bone sample had been taken and sent away for testing. The test revealed a cancerous tumour, but the woman only found out about it when she read her discharge notes after her DVT treatment. She raised her concerns with doctors at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, but the diagnosis of cancer was not officially confirmed until one week later.

An internal investigation into the woman´s situation found the reason the tumour was not discovered during an inspection of the scan was that the scan did not cover the area of the thigh in which the tumour was located. It also found that, due to having the metal rod inserted in the femur, the usual options for treating the cancer were not available.

The woman subsequently had to have her left leg amputated above the knee to stop the cancer spreading and, after seeking legal advice, has instructed solicitors to investigate the level of care provided for her at the Central Manchester University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Her solicitors believe she may have a viable claim for medical negligence at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

One of the solicitors commented: “The swift, and more importantly, accurate diagnosis of cancer is absolutely crucial as early treatment can often provide the best possible chances of recovery and to prevent long-term health complications. Sadly, in this case, the NHS’ own investigation suggests that the staff who treated the woman at the NHS Trust in question failed to carry out the correct tests, meaning her cancer was not diagnosed as early as it could have been.”

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Claim for Clinical Negligence Compensation Unresolved after Eighteen Years

December 1, 2016

A Teesside newspaper is reporting that a local family has waited eighteen years for a claim for clinical negligence compensation to be resolved.

According to GazetteLive.co.uk, the unnamed Teesside family has been waiting since 1998 for a claim for clinical negligence compensation to be resolved. The claim relates to alleged avoidable birth injuries suffered by their child during his delivery at a hospital within the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.

The paper states that this claim for clinical negligence compensation is the second-longest on record since the Clinical Negligence Scheme was set up for incidents that occurred since 1995, and that the NHS Trust has a contender for the third-longest claim on record – as another claim for clinical negligence compensation is still unresolved sixteen years after the alleged negligent event.

Mitigating circumstances for the delay are offered by the newspaper. It suggests that the extent of the child´s birth injuries and their future needs may not be fully apparent, and that the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) – the body responsible for settling clinical negligence claims – may have been making interim compensation payments while the claim remains unresolved.

However, the news of such a lengthy delay in settling the claim comes less than two months after the NHSLA was criticised for defending claims for clinical negligence longer than necessary. Stephen Webber – chair of the Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers – said that the unnecessary delays caused the victims´ families preventable upset and inflated legal costs increased the burden on the taxpayer.

In respect of the delay experienced by the Teesside family, Deepak Dwarakanath – the Medical Director at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust – told GazetteLive: “Claims are managed by the NHSLA on our behalf and their focus is on bringing resolution as quickly as possible to support families. Some birth injury claims may not be received for many years and can be extremely complex”.

He continued: “Payments and settlements for birth injuries generally have a lump sum payment followed by annual periodical payments over the life of the child. Once settled those cases with periodical payments are not closed down by the NHSLA until all payments are completed, which is why they continue to appear on the information shared.”

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Settlement of Claim for the Delayed Diagnosis of an Infection

November 18, 2016

A multi-million pounds care package, negotiated in settlement of a claim for the delayed diagnosis of an infection, has been approved at the High Court.

On 16th December 2008, Martha Richardson-Rudd was born at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford with a Group B strep infection – a potentially serious disease in new born children even when it is identified at an early stage.

Unfortunately, Martha´s infection was not diagnosed until the following day, as a result of which she developed meningitis, cerebral palsy and severe brain damage. Her condition was so severe that Martha was put into an induced coma and spent the first two months of her life in a hospital incubator.

An investigation into how Martha´s infection had been overlooked for so long concluded that it had developed during pregnancy and could have been prevented altogether had Martha´s mother – Helen – had been given a Group B strep screening during her third trimester and prescribed antibiotics.

Helen and her husband – Adam – sought legal advice and made a claim for the delayed diagnosis of an infection against the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, alleging that if Martha´s condition had been identified and treated in a timely manner she would not have suffered such devastating injuries.

The NHS Trust admitted liability in 2010, and negotiations started to settle the claim for the delayed diagnosis of an infection. At the High Court last week, judges heard how Martha is now a life-limited child who will need full-time care for the rest of her life. The judges also heard that the settlement package includes care, aids and equipment, suitable accommodation and therapy.

At the hearing a statement was also read to the family by a spokesperson for the NHS Trust. He said: “Royal Surrey County Hospital apologises unreservedly for delays in the diagnosis and treatment of Martha Richardson-Rudd following her birth in December 2008. “We hope that the compensation agreed at the High Court will go some way to assisting Martha’s family secure her future needs.”

Speaking after the settlement had been approved, Helen told her local newspaper that now the claim for the late diagnosis of an infection had been resolved, the family no longer have to worry about how they will be able to support Martha´s needs, can purchase suitable accommodation and put a full care package in place. “However”, Helen added “we will continue to worry about her every day that she lives and we cry for the person she will never be.”

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NHS Clinical Negligence Claims Defended “Too Long”

October 18, 2016

The NHS Litigation Authority has been criticised for defending clinical negligence claims for too long and increasing the legal costs paid by taxpayers.

The criticism was directed at the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) by Stephen Webber – chair of the Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers – after a freedom of information request revealed that 43% of clinical negligence claims only settle once court proceedings have been issued.

According to data in the freedom of information request, 5,795 clinical negligence claims were settled by the NHSLA in 2015/16 – 3,281 before court proceedings were issued and 2,514 after. However, the 43% of clinical negligence claims that settled after court proceedings had been issued accounted for 76% of the NHSLA´s legal costs.

Mr Webber told the Law Society Gazette that the NHSLA´s failure to provide prompt disclosure or to make early admissions of liability was causing cases to be settled late in the litigation process. “The NHSLA is defending cases too long and increasing costs”, he said. “They are either being given bad advice or they are ignoring good advice.”

Mr Webber´s criticism of the length of time it takes to settle clinical negligence claims against the NHS comes a week after several national newspapers launched an attack on “grossly inflated and morally questionable” legal fees paid by the NHSLA. Several newspapers reported that the NHSLA´s legal fees are costing the taxpayer £1.5 billion per year (in 2015/16 they amounted to £418 million).

The NHSLA has also defended itself against the criticism levied by Mr Webber. A spokesperson told the Law Society Gazette that the figures quoted in the freedom of information data did not tell the full story. He said that court proceedings can be issued for clinical negligence claims to avoid a claim being time-barred by the Statute of Limitations or because a negotiated settlement requires court approval.

The debate over the alleged extended defence of clinical negligence claims is set to continue in the near future. Sources suggest that the government is close to publishing a long-awaited consultation on fixed recoverable costs for clinical negligence claims against the NHS.

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Claim for the Misdiagnosis of a Cancerous Mole Settled

September 29, 2016

A woman´s claim for the misdiagnosis of a cancerous mole has been settled for an undisclosed six-figure amount after her GP was threatened with court action.

The unnamed woman made her claim for the misdiagnosis of a cancerous mole after attending her GP surgery and expressing concerns that a mole on her foot had changed in appearance and was itchy. The doctor she saw on her first visit told her there was nothing to be concerned about and, when she returned to the surgery requesting she be referred to a specialist, she was given the same advice by a second doctor. Neither doctor measured the mole.

After several months had passed – during which time the mole had continued to itch – the woman returned to her GP surgery again asking to be referred to a specialist. The third doctor she saw suggested slicing the top off of the mole after deciding she could not remove it. The woman declined and was on this occasion referred to her local hospital.

At the hospital, the woman was seen by a dermatologist. The dermatologist removed part of the mole and sent it for a biopsy. The tests showed the mole was cancerous and the woman underwent surgery to have the whole of the mole removed. Later tests revealed that the cancer had metastasised, and she is now undergoing further treatment for secondary cancer.

After seeking legal advice, the woman made a claim for the misdiagnosis of a cancerous mole against her GP surgery and the doctor that had first seen her. In her claim, she alleged – with the backing of expert opinion – that if the care she had received when she first attended the GP surgery had been appropriate, the mole would have been removed sooner, the cancer treated earlier and her prognosis better.

The GP surgery and the doctor denied negligence and contested the claim. However, once court proceedings were brought, the defendants agreed to settle the claim for the misdiagnosis of a cancerous mole for an undisclosed six-figure amount.

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Claim for a Dislocated Jaw due to Hospital Negligence Resolved

September 6, 2016

A woman´s claim for a dislocated jaw due to hospital negligence has been resolved for a six-figure settlement following a five-year legal battle.

Forty-three year old Amanda Walker from Knaresborough in North Yorkshire was twelve weeks pregnant with twins when, in December 2010, she received the tragic news she had miscarried. Amanda was admitted into Harrogate District Hospital for an operation to remove the foetuses but, when she come round after the procedure, she experienced a severe pain down the right side of her face.

Doctors at the hospital attributed the pain to a condition Amanda had developed ten years previously. However, on a later visit to her dentist, Amanda was told that her jaw was misaligned and that the tendons, ligaments and nerves on the right side of her face had been badly damaged. An MRI scan revealed the misalignment was due to her jaw having been dislocated.

Amanda underwent four corrective surgeries, including one to insert a prosthetic jaw. Doctors at Harrogate District Hospital maintained the misalignment was due to a historic condition but, unconvinced, Amanda sought legal advice., Amanda´s solicitor´s found that the dislocation of her jaw was due to the way in which a surgical mask had been put on to keep Amanda´s airways open during the December 2010 operation.

Amanda made a claim for a dislocated jaw due to hospital negligence against the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, alleging that her injuries had forced her to give up her job in PR and advertising, and had contributed to the breakdown of her marriage. The NHS Trust conducted its own investigation and admitted liability for Amanda´s injuries.

The exact amount of the settlement of Amanda´s claim for a dislocated jaw due to hospital negligence has not been revealed, but is believed to be in six figures. Speaking with her local newspaper, Amanda (now 48 years of age) said: “I am smiling again and it feels like a huge weight has been lifted. When my solicitor told me I had won, I think I was in shock.”

Dr David Scullion – Medical Director for the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust – said: “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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BUPA Fined for Care Home Resident Death in Fall from Bed Accident

May 31, 2016

Healthcare company BUPA has been fined £400,000 for failings in the standard of care that led to the death of a care home resident in a fall from bed accident.

On September 24th 2013, ninety-one year old Josephine Millard was found dead on the floor in her room at the BUPA-owned Beacon Edge residential care home in Penrith. An investigation into Josephine´s death by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that although the care home had a policy on bedrail management, a sensor pad that would have alerted staff to her fall had not been activated.

According to the HSE´s report into Josephine´s death, staff at the care home were not trained on bedrail safety and assessments not conducted or reviewed as required. HSE inspectors also found that there had been a failure by BUPA to provide appropriate “care and support for people with dementia type illnesses” that resulted in Josephine´s fall from bed accident.

The HSE prosecuted BUPA Care Homes (CFC Homes) Ltd with breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 9 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Earlier this year at Carlisle Magistrates´ Court, BUPA pleaded guilty to the charges and the case was referred to Carlisle Crown Court for sentencing.

At the sentencing hearing last week, BUPA was fined £400,000 for failings in the standard of care that led to Josephine´s fatal fall from bed accident. The healthcare company was also ordered to pay £15,206 costs. Following the hearing, HSE Inspector Carol Forster had the following words to say:

“The need for adequate risk assessment and management of third party bedrails has been recognised in the healthcare sector for a number of years. In this case there was a lack of appropriate assessment of the residents’ changing needs and review of the control measures in place to protect her. The measures that were in place were not used correctly in that the sensor pad which would have alerted staff to the resident’s being out of bed was not switched on”.

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Family Settle Claim for Negligent Care in a Nursing Home

March 21, 2016

A family has settled its compensation claim for negligent care in a nursing home which, it was alleged, led to the death of a County Durham man.

In March 2011, John Blenkiron was placed at the Lindisfarne Care Home in Chester-le-Street on a two weeks stay to give his wife some respite from caring from him after she had injured her leg. John (63) suffered from dementia and was on medication for Parkinson´s disease.

After visiting their father, John´s sons suspected that he was not receiving an adequate standard of care or being kept up-to-date with his medication. They removed him from the nursing home and subsequently noticed pressure sores on his back and heels.

The following morning, John was unresponsive and an ambulance was summoned. John was taken to the University Hospital of North Durham by ambulance men, who were so shocked by his condition that they reported the matter as a safeguarding issue.

John remained in hospital for five weeks. He died in May 2011, having never gained his mobility.

Shocked by the rapid deterioration in John´s health, his widow – Christine – and her two sons sought legal advice and made a compensation claim for negligent care in a nursing home against Gainford Care Homes Ltd trading as the Lindisfarne Care Home.

Despite an investigation into John´s death revealing failings in the standard of care John had received at the nursing home, Gainford Care Homes Ltd denied medical negligence or any contribution towards his death due to negligence.

The family´s solicitor issued court proceedings and, just before a court hearing was about to get underway, Gainford Care Homes Ltd agreed to an undisclosed out-of-court settlement of the compensation claim for negligent care in a nursing home.

Speaking after the compensation claim for negligent care in a nursing home had been resolved, John´s son told the Sunderland Echo: “I think it is important that what happened to my dad doesn’t happen to anyone else and that other families don’t have to go through what we have in the last four years. I hope by taking legal action we will ensure care homes are reminded that elderly people should be treated with dignity and respect.”

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Family to Receive Compensation for Fatal Surgical Complications

December 16, 2015

A family is to receive a six-figure settlement of compensation for fatal surgical complications that could have been avoided if surgery had been rescheduled.

Thirty-eight year old Tracy Hall from Castleford in West Yorkshire underwent elective surgery for the reversal of a stoma on 28th April 2009 at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield. The procedure took more than nine hours to complete, after which Tracy – who was diagnosed with Crohn´s disease in 1996 – contracted an infection and suffered from internal bleeding.

Tracy´s condition continued to deteriorate and, on 4th May, medical staff identified blood in her stoma bag. Tracy underwent investigative surgery to establish the reason for the blood, when it was found that her abdominal wall had burst. Tracy was transferred to a High Dependency Unit, where she was put on a life support machine. Tragically she died eight days later from multiple organ failure caused by sepsis.

Tracy´s husband – who had watched his wife suffer with abdominal pain and lose nearly three stones in weight in the months prior to the surgery – sought legal advice. After discovering that Tracy´s surgery should have been delayed because her Crohn´s disease was active at the time, he claimed compensation for fatal surgical complications on the grounds that they could have been avoided if Tracy´s surgery had been rescheduled.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust admitted that the surgery should have been rescheduled, and that Tracy would have probably survived the fatal surgical complications if her condition had been more stable. The NHS Trust agreed to a six-figure settlement of compensation for fatal surgical complications, after which the family´s solicitor said:

“Tracy’s family have been left completely devastated by her sudden death and are still coming to terms with what has happened. Her surgery should have been delayed as she was not stable enough to have an operation. The NHS Trust has admitted if the surgery had been delayed, she would have survived. We hope that lessons can be learned by staff at the hospital to ensure critical mistakes like this when treating people with Crohn’s disease do not happen again to any other families.”

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Family Recover Compensation for the Failure to Notice Burns

November 11, 2015

Two sisters from Rotherham have recovered compensation for the failure to notice burns sustained by their elderly mother after she fell in her bathroom.

Despite suffering from dementia, ninety-year-old Jessie King lived as independent a life as possible in her home in Rotherham. She was visited regularly by her daughters and a District Nurse, and two carers visited her every morning to help her get out of bed and showered.

On 15th February 2012, Jessie was visited as usual by the two carers but – on this particular day – Jessie fell while she was in the bathroom and landed with her back against a radiator. The two carers called in a specialist home care services provider – Rothercare – to assist them after Jessie´s fall, but failed to realise that the radiator against which Jessie was leaning was still turned on.

When the home care specialists arrived, Jessie was helped to her feet. Nobody noticed the severe burns on Jessie´s back and she was left to finish showering while the two carers prepared her breakfast. It was not until four hours later, when Jessie was visited by her daughter Denise and the District Nurse that the injury was noticed.

The District Nurse arranged for Jessie to be taken by ambulance to the Northern General Hospital, where she was referred to the Burns Unit. Due to the extent of the burns on her back, Jessie had to undergo skin graft surgery and was in pain for the next four months.

Due to not being able to represent herself, a claim for compensation for the failure to notice burns was made by another of Jessie´s daughters – Jean. The claim against Nestor Primecare Services Ltd trading as Saga Home Care alleged that the level of care provided for Jessie by the two carers was negligent and directly led to her burns injuries.

Nestor Primecare Services Ltd denied responsibility for Jessie´s burns injuries but, after solicitors got involved, the company agreed to an undisclosed settlement of compensation for the failure to notice burns. Sadly Jessie passed away in May 2013.

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Legal Action Started to Recover Compensation for Negligent Prostate Treatment

October 22, 2015

Up to 180 patients could be entitled to compensation for negligent prostate treatment following the suspension Dr Arackal Narayan Manu Nair by the GMC.

A group of male patients have started legal action against Heartlands Hospital and the Spire Parkway Private Hospital in Birmingham after being informed that their consultant urologist – Dr Arackal Narayan Manu Nair – has been suspended by the General Medical Council (GMC) and that a review of their care is being conducted.

Several men have already discovered that they underwent prostate cancer treatment or surgery unnecessarily, while others were given a treatment yet to be approved by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence. In total, Dr Manu Nair is known to have treated 180 patients – all of whom could be entitled to compensation for negligent prostate treatment.

One of the claims for compensation for negligent prostate treatment concerns a patient who was left infertile and suffering from incontinence after undergoing a high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) treatment for which he was advised by Dr Manu Nair to pay for privately. He was later advised that he had “been misled to some extent that this was aggressive cancer”.

A second patient is claiming compensation for negligent prostate treatment after having his prostate surgically removed by Dr Manu Nair in 2009. An independent medical expert consequently studied the patient´s medical files and found that his prostate gland was pre-malignant, and that he should have been offered active surveillance rather than surgery.

Solicitors representing the patients known to have undergone negligent prostate treatment have said that, as well as receiving treatment that had not yet been approved and undergoing unnecessary surgery, some of the claims for compensation for negligent prostate treatment concern cases in which Dr Manu Nair´s treatment has potentially resulted in the spread of their prostate cancer.

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Family to Receive Compensation for Fatal Brain Injury in Hospital

October 20, 2015

A family from the West Midlands is to receive an undisclosed settlement of compensation for a fatal brain injury in hospital following the death of a son.

On New Year´s Day in 2010, Ross Askew from Selly Oak in the West Midlands attended the Selly Oak Hospital, having started complaining of abdominal pains the previous evening. He was diagnosed with severe necrotising pancreatitis and transferred to Birmingham´s Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment.

During his admission to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Ross (33) – who was already receiving treatment for a recurring brain tumour – started to vomit bile. The vile blocked his respirator and, unable to breath, Ross suffered acute respiratory failure and went into cardiac arrest.

The lack of oxygen also caused Ross to sustain a significant brain injury. He remained in a specialist rehabilitation unit until August 2010, when he was discharged into the care of his family. Sadly Ross died in October 2011 after being readmitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital following the return of his brain tumour.

After seeking legal advice, Ross´s mother – Carol – claimed compensation for a fatal brain injury in hospital; alleging that there had been a lack of care when Ross was being admitted to the hospital in January 2010 and that the lack of care had caused her son to suffer the cardiac arrest and subsequent brain injury.

The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust contested the claim for compensation for a fatal brain injury in hospital – arguing that the treatment Ross received during the admissions process was unrelated to the cause of his death. However, after a period of negotiation, an undisclosed settlement of compensation for a fatal brain injury in hospital was agreed without an admission of liability.

Speaking after the family´s claim had been resolved, Carol Askew told her local newspaper: “We are bitterly disappointed that the Trust did not accept responsibility for the failings in his treatment. After he suffered the brain injury in early 2010, Ross needed 24-hour care as he wasn’t able to move independently or look after himself. We are devastated that he was taken away from us so suddenly and it is incredibly difficult for us to come to terms with.”

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NHS Admits Liability in Broken Leg Medical Negligence Claim

October 4, 2015

The NHS has admitted liability in a broken leg medical negligence claim made by a woman who had to undergo multiple surgeries because of hospital errors.

In August 2012, Sally Marsh from Diglis in Worcestershire broke her leg while playing soccer for her local women´s team. Sally (25) was taken to Worcester Royal Hospital for X-rays and had her leg put into a cast.

After eight weeks the full leg cast was replaced with a half leg cast, which Sally wore for a further six weeks. When the half leg cast was removed, Sally´s leg appeared to be bent and she went to see an orthopaedic specialist.

The specialist informed Sally that her bones had not healed in alignment, and had set at a nineteen degree angle. Sally was told that she would need an operation to align her bones properly, but rather than undergo surgery within six weeks as she expected, the operation did not take place until nine months later.

During the intervening period, Sally experienced a lot of pain. She had to take time off from work and was unable to pursue her regular hobbies and pastimes. When the surgery to realign her bones was completed, Sally had a metal cage fitted to her leg to help it heal, but she developed an infection and had to take repeated doses of antibiotics.

After seeking legal advice, Sally made a broken leg medical negligence claim against the Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. In her action against the NHS Trust, Sally alleged that she should not have been discharged so early in her treatment, that there was a failure to recognise that Sally required surgical intervention, and that the failing led to a deformity in her bones and avoidable nerve damage.

After conducting its own investigation, the Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust acknowledged liability for Sally´s injuries. Her solicitors are now negotiating a settlement of the broken leg medical negligence claim, and Sally commented: “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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Govt Criticised for Challenging Pandemrix Compensation Claims

September 25, 2015

The Government has been criticised for challenging Pandemrix compensation claims made by claimants suffering from the devastating sleep disorder, narcolepsy.

During the winter of 2009-2010, six million people in the UK were administered Pandemrix to protect them against the H1N1 “swine flu” pandemic. The drug was withdrawn when doctors noticed a rise in narcolepsy among those who received the jab.

Narcolepsy is a permanent condition that can cause people to fall asleep dozens of times a day. It is caused by the Pandemrix vaccine destroying the hypocretin “wakefulness” hormones in the brain, and can leave victims suffering from night terrors or collapsing on the spot due to a muscular control problem called cataplexy.

In June, a twelve-year-old boy was awarded £120,000 compensation for narcolepsy caused by Pandemrix after a three year legal battle. His victory was expected to open the door for up to one hundred more Pandemrix compensation claims, but now the Department of Health has asked the Court of Appeal for permission to challenge the award.

The Department of Health is arguing that the narcolepsy condition is not serious enough to warrant compensation – even though the boy has developed behavioural difficulties because of his condition, can never shower unattended or take a bus on his own in case he falls asleep, and may never be able to drive.

Government officials claim that the settlement of Pandemrix compensation claims should be calculated on the immediate, rather than the future, impact of the vaccine-related injury. In the boy´s case, this would mean comparing the quality of life of a twelve-year-old boy with narcolepsy with a healthy boy the same age without taking into consideration his ability to work in the future.

The solicitor who represented the family of the young boy has commented that the government´s challenge to the value of Pandemrix compensation claims is outrageous. “It is causing tremendous delay in getting compensation to those in dire need of help and who are entirely innocent and blameless people,” he said.

“If their interpretation was accepted by the court of appeal,” he continued, “it would virtually abolish the prospects of anybody ever getting any vaccine injury compensation in the UK, because vaccines are mainly given to children and usually very young children.”

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