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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.