Recent Cases - Clinical Negligence
Failure to diagnose deep seated infection in right ankle
We acted for a client (now aged 65) who was unhappy with treatment which he received at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon during December 2009. Briefly, he fractured his right ankle in an accident at work during November 2009. He was treated for this injury at the hospital and required surgery when some metalwork was fitted to help fix the fracture. He was then discharged home. He re-attended the hospital during December 2009 complaining of pain, a swollen ankle and an inability to weight-bear. It was our case that the hospital should have considered that he was suffering from a deep seated infection in his ankle and if this had been treated in December 2009 it would have eradicated the infection. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen and the infection was not diagnosed and treated by the hospital until the end of January 2010. Antibiotics were commenced at this time but unfortunately for our client he was given a very high dosage of Gentamicin for a 4 week period (which we say was far too long) and this mistake resulted in induced hearing loss in both his ears.
As a consequence of this sub-standard care, our client is now left with additional pain in his right ankle, a significant reduction in his mobility and an unnecessary hearing loss in both ears. He had been unable to return to work and he had planned to work beyond retirement age so there was a claim for loss of earnings. A formal letter of claim was sent to the Hospital Trust but in their response they denied any liability. Proceedings had to be issued at Court and in their Defence, they reconsidered their position and accepted liability. Their solicitors made an early offer to settle our client’s claim for £100,000.00 which we advised him to reject. We continued with our negotiations and we were eventually able to achieve a much improved settlement for him.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £175,000.00 for this client during 2013
Skin graft error
We acted for a delightful client (aged 77) who was unhappy with medical treatment which she received at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, West Sussex during September 2012. Briefly, she had been admitted to this hospital following an accident at home when she injured her left shin causing her to suffer a nasty laceration. Shortly afterwards, she underwent a debridement and skin graft operation on her shin at the hospital. During the course of the surgery, an excessive thick skin graft was raised from her left lateral thigh and had to be re-stitched. This was due to faulty equipment. The new skin graft then had to be harvested from another part of her thigh and applied to the wound on her shin. Unfortunately, the original skin graft became infected and was slow to heal and has left her with some intermittent pain. She also had another unnecessary scar on her leg which will now be permanent. A letter of claim was submitted to the hospital and they accepted liability in full for what happened. There was a dispute on quantum but the parties were eventually able to agree upon a settlement.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £6,250.00 for this client during 2013
Failure to repair a hernia
We acted for a client (aged 52) who was unhappy with treatment which he received from Shepton Mallet Treatment Centre (SMTC) during April 2009. Briefly, he had become aware of a lump in his right groin. He was told by his GP that he had a right inguinal hernia and was referred to the SMTC for its repair. On the 30 April 2009, he underwent an operation, which involved the fitting of a piece of mesh to repair the hernia. Later, he became aware of a lump in his right groin and he was advised that the hernia had returned. He was reluctant to undergo further surgery to the hernia and so he lived with his symptoms until March 2012, when at the Bath Clinic he underwent a further surgical procedure to repair his hernia. The original operation note was not entirely legible but it suggested that the original repair mesh had not been applied correctly. After writing to SMTC they accepted that our client had not received treatment to an acceptable standard. We then agreed a settlement figure.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £10,000.00 for this client during 2013
Injury to the middle finger
We acted for a client (aged 55) who was unhappy with treatment which she received at the Great Western Hospital during 2011. Briefly, she had been complaining of swelling on her left middle finger and was on the waiting list for a mucus cyst excision. During February 2011, she underwent day surgery to remove the cyst under a local anaesthetic. This procedure was performed by a registrar and during it some damage was caused to one of her tendons and she then needed a K-wire to be inserted into the finger. This resulted in her being left with a stiff finger which was now drooping downwards at its end. Fortunately, this injury did not impact upon on her ability to work but it did stop her from doing some of the heavier household chores at home. It was our case that the excision procedure had been sub-standard and a letter of claim was sent to the Hospital Trust. They denied liability and argued that his type of damage was a rare but recognised and non negligent complication of this surgery. We disagreed and we issued proceedings on behalf of our client at Swindon County Court. Once solicitors were appointed by the Hospital Trust, we were able to agree upon a settlement for our client which took into account the litigation risk.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £8,500.00 for this client during 2013
Plastic Surgeon’s negligence
One of our clients (now aged 39) was unhappy with private treatment which she received from a plastic surgeon in London. Briefly, she had agreed to undergo a bilateral breast reduction operation during August 2010. She was told that both her breasts would be lifted and reduced in size. Following this procedure, there was no real evidence that she had in fact had a breast reduction. The photographs available made it fairly clear that there was very little difference in their size. Our independent expert was very critical of her plastic surgeon who seemed to be in denial about his failure to carry out the reduction. A letter of claim was sent to him and this was passed to his Medical Defence Union who, in turn, appointed solicitors. Eventually, we were able to agree a settlement whereby our client received damages which included a sum of money to enable the correct breast reduction surgery to be performed.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £25,000.00 for this client during 2013
Unnecessary partial amputation of a 4th toe
We acted for our client (now aged 51) who had been unhappy with treatment which he received at Great Western Hospital in Swindon. He had an underlying medical condition of rheumatoid arthritis which afflicted both his feet. During January 2010, he underwent an operation on his left foot at the hospital. His 4th toe then became ischaemic, gangrenous and subsequently required a partial amputation. Our independent orthopaedic expert was very critical of the treatment which he had received. A number of allegations of negligence were made which included the surgery being inappropriate and unnecessary and it had been poor technique on the part of the surgeon which resulted in the blood supply to the 4th toe becoming compromised. When this problem had been identified, it was too late to save his toe. A letter of claim was sent to the Hospital Trust and liability was disputed. Proceedings had to be issued at Swindon County Court and shortly after the Hospital Trust had appointed solicitors, the parties were able to reach a compromise.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £20,000.00 for this client during 2013
We acted for a client who was unhappy with the medical treatment which she received during June 2008 when he was aged 53. Briefly, he had been complaining of ongoing back and sciatic pain since May 2008 and his GP referred him to the Back Clinic at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon where he was examined by a Clinical Physiotherapist employed by Swindon PCT. Our client had been systematically unwell and in particular, was complaining of a number of “red flag” symptoms which included poor appetite, dramatic weight loss, dark urine and an inability to sit for long periods. It was our case that he should have been referred immediately at this time to a doctor for further investigation. The physiotherapist referred him for an MRI scan to be arranged later on.
During August 2008, he suffered a stroke which was found to be secondary to a condition called streptococcal mitral valve endocarditis. This has now left him with a significant disability and he had a substantial claim for loss of earnings, care, equipment, therapies and accommodation. It was our case that:-
- if he had been referred to a doctor immediately during June 2008 this would have resulted in an early diagnosis of endocarditis;
- this condition could then have been treated with antibiotics which, in turn, would have avoided his stroke during August 2008.
A letter of claim was sent to Swindon PCT who initially denied liability. Proceedings had to be issued in the High Court. On filing a Defence, they admitted liability and shortly before this matter had been listed for trial, a settlement was reached between the parties.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £835,000.00 for this client during 2013
We acted for a woman (aged 70) who was unhappy with treatment which she received from her dentist in Cheltenham. She had been one of his patients from 1997 up until 2010. She was critical of her dentist in that she believed she was subject to a very poor standard of dental care during this period and as a consequence 22 of her teeth were damaged. It was our case that if she had been treated correctly this damage could have been avoided. A letter of claim was sent to her dentist and after some correspondence with his Dental Defence Union we were able to settle her claim.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £33,000.00 for this client during 2013
ENT Surgeon’s negligence
One of our clients (aged 54 at the time) was unhappy with medical treatment which she received at the Shepton Mallett Treatment Centre (SMTC) during May 2011. The treatment was a bilateral endoscopic sinus surgery with a nasal polypectomy and septoplasty. It is standard practice to have a CT scan prior to such surgery to assess the pathology and get a clearer understanding of the patient’s bone anatomy. In this particular case, our client was in a vulnerable position, as she had left sided amblyopia (or a lazy eye) which left her particularly dependent upon her right sided vision.
Following this surgery, our client had significant impairment of her right sided vision. This was investigated with a further CT scan in June 2011 which showed an obvious dehiscence of the lamina papyracea and entrapment of the medical rectus muscle. This damage had not been present on the pre-operative CT scan. Following a letter of claim from our firm, SMTC accepted:-
- the damage had occurred during the surgery and
- to cause this damage had been negligent.
This negligence now caused a number of problems for our client’s right good eye in that there was restriction in its movement, it was painful and she no longer felt it was safe to drive. As a consequence, she had to change jobs at work and do something which accommodated her disability. Her right eye was also unsightly.
Although, liability was conceded at an early stage, there was a significant difference between the parties in our valuation of our client’s claim. The solicitors acting for SMTC initially only offered to settle her claim for £26,000.00 which we advised her to reject. Subsequent protracted negotiations resulted in a much improved offer.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £145,000.00 for this client during 2013
Failure to renew a repeat prescription
We acted for a client (aged 32) who was unhappy with treatment which he received from a locum GP at his GP surgery in Swindon. Briefly, he had been diagnosed with epilepsy in 1999. In April 2008, his medication to help control this condition was changed. During August 2010, he e-mailed his GP surgery with a request for a repeat prescription of his medication. This was his usual method of obtaining his prescriptions. He was then contacted by a receptionist at the GP surgery who stated that a locum GP had refused to write a prescription as there were no records of his anti-epileptic medication. He would have to make an appointment with his GP but the earliest appointment available was not until after his stock of medicine had run out. Before he saw his GP he suffered an epileptic fit. Unfortunately, this resulted in him losing his driving licence and caused him to change jobs. His mental state also deteriorated. The solicitors acting for the locum GP denied liability. It was only when we threatened to issue proceedings on behalf of our client that the parties were able to reach a settlement.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £10,000.00 for this client during 2013
We acted for a client (aged 41 at the time) who was admitted to the Royal United Hospital in Bath for an appendicectomy in 2009. During her anaesthetic induction, she was administered a muscle relaxant in error instead of a minor tranquiliser. This caused her to become temporarily paralysed but at all times remained conscious. She was unable to move and felt she was unable to breath. She was able to see and hear the activities of the medical staff who initially thought that she had a suffered a seizure and was unconscious. She thought she was going to die. Gradually she regained the ability to move and to speak. Her appendicectomy had to be postponed. As a consequence of these events, she suffered from a very severe post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Notwithstanding intensive counselling, her PTSD continues and is likely to continue for many years, possibily for the rest of her normal working life. She leads a very restrictive lifestyle consistent with the pattern of avoidance behaviour seen in PTSD. She had to give up her job as a teacher and she may never be fit enough to work again. Although the Hospital Trust accepted liability at an early stage there was a dispute on the quantum of this claim. Proceedings had to be issued at Court and the parties were then able to reach a settlement.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £675,000.00 for this client during 2012
Infected kidney transplant
In this very sad case, we acted for the husband of a young woman (only aged 37) who during 2009 underwent a donor renal transplant at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford. Due to a transcription error, she was given an infected kidney. The error did not come to light until much later and by now the deceased had caught this infection and became resistant to anti-viral therapy. The transplant failed altogether and had to be removed. Sadly, her health continued to deteriorate and she died at the beginning of 2010. This had been caused by the infected kidney. As well leaving a husband, she left 2 young children without a mother. We represented the family at the Inquest into her death and later in the civil claim for damages. Following their receipt of our letter of claim, the Hospital Trust admitted liability and after protracted negotiations we were able to reach a settlement. As part of the agreed damages were going to be paid to the two dependent children, this settlement was approved by the Judge at Court.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £300,000.00 for this client during 2012