Recent Cases - Clinical Negligence
Delay in diagnosing and treating a stroke
We have been acting for a client who was unhappy with treatment which he received at Great Western Hospital. During February 2012 (when he was only aged 48) he was admitted to the hospital complaining of a number of neurological symptoms (headache, dizziness and general unsteadiness). He was however advised that he was suffering with a migraine only and was discharged. About 2 weeks later, he was readmitted and a diagnosis of a stroke secondary to vertebral artery dissection (VAD) was made. It was our case that on his first attendance at the hospital, he had early stages of a stroke and if this had been diagnosed and treated promptly, the outcome for him would have been much improved. He is fortunate that he has a very understanding employer so he was able to return to work but he has now been left with long term neurological problems which could have been avoided with earlier treatment. The hospital accepted liability and we were able to settle this case without the need to issue proceedings.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £318,000.00 for this client during 2016
Delay in diagnosing a pulmonary embolism
In a very sad case, we have been acting for the wife and widow of a man (aged 63) who died during August 2011 following bad care at the Royal Cornwall Hospital. Briefly, he had undergone surgery for bowel cancer at the hospital which had been successful. Shortly before he was due to have chemotherapy, he began to complain of breathlessness. There was then a delay in him having a CT scan and treatment and he then died of a pulmonary embolism. It is our case that with an earlier diagnosis and treatment, his death would have been avoided. Liability was not disputed by the hospital. Unfortunately, we were unable to agree a settlement of our client's claim and we had to issue proceedings. Shortly afterwards a compromise was reached.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £110,000.00 for this client during 2016
We have been acting for a client (now aged 40) who is unhappy with treatment she received at Great Western Hospital during 2012. Briefly, she had an orthodontic brace fitted to her mouth in readiness for surgery to reposition her jaw. During the surgery, a hook from the brace came away and became embedded in the surgical wound. The surgeon did not realise that this had happened and took no steps to retrieve the missing hook. Following the operation, it was our case that our client suffered an adverse reaction to the metal in her mouth and this caused her a number of problems including severe facial swelling. She had to undergo a second surgical procedure in an attempt to remove the orthodontic hook but this was unsuccessful. It now remains embedded in her jaw. She has now gone onto develop a somatisation disorder which may have been caused or contributed to by the alleged negligence. The hospital denied liability and our client had no option but to issue proceedings. She was understandably anxious that the case was concluded as soon as possible and following negotiations between the parties, we were able to reach a satisfactory settlement. Her loss of earnings claim was minimal. Fortunately, her job is secure.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £35,000.00 for this client during 2015
Secondary victim claim
We acted for a client (now aged 43) who arrived at Great Western Hospital to visit her father who was in poor health. She was told by the nursing staff that her father’s condition was serious and that the IC team were working on him. She was not told that he was highly likely to die and had suffered a cardiac arrest or warned about his condition. On attending his bedside, she witnessed the resuscitation attempts being carried out on her father and this was very distressing for her and caused her to suffer from a psychiatric injury. Unfortunately, her father died. It was our case that she satisfied the legal criteria for a “secondary victim” and as such was entitled to be compensated for her injury. She had now been left with intrusive memories of what she had witnessed at the hospital but with counselling the prognosis for a full recovery was encouraging. The hospital denied liability and we had to issue proceedings at Court. Once lawyers were appointed by the hospital, we were able to negotiate an early settlement on behalf of our client.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £5,000.00 for this client during 2015
Partial amputation of finger
We have been acting for a client (aged 52) a diabetic, who was unhappy with treatment which he received at Great Western Hospital. Briefly, during September 2012, he hurt his right hand middle finger on some work equipment. This finger was already being treated as a “trigger finger”. On the day of his accident, by chance he had to see one of the physiotherapists at hospital who injected a steroid into his injured finger to treat his underlying condition despite the fact that he had cut it earlier that day. It subsequently became infected and eventually the distal tip had to be amputated. He is a carpenter by occupation and although he has been able to continue working, the amputation has made life more difficult for him. Correspondence was exchanged between our firm and the hospital and we were able to negotiate a settlement of his claim without the need to issue proceedings.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £25,000.00 for this client during 2015
Delayed diagnosis of periodontal disease
Our client (now aged 42) regularly attended the same dentist from adolescence. She had always been fully compliant with treatment recommendations. During a routine check up she was told that she needed to be referred to a Periodontist for a specialist opinion. The Periodontist informed her that she had severe gum disease which was a result of not being detected or treated at an earlier date by her dentist and this had caused extensive bone loss. As a result of this neglect, our client risked losing up to five teeth and she required substantial restorative treatment.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £47,500 for this client during 2015
Negligent chiropodist cut toe during nail trimming
One of our clients (now aged 75) was having her toenails trimmed at a foot care centre when the Chiropodist accidentally cut her big toe. The cut was wiped with a sterile swab, but was not dressed and no wound care advice was given. Our client bathed her toe, applied Savlon and fresh sterile dressings morning and evening but the wound remained very sore. A week later, her toe had become more painful and inflamed so she visited her GP and was seen by the practice nurse. She was given antibiotics, which consequently made her very sick and so had to be changed. Over the following month he was unable to wear closed-toe shoes, which was particular uncomfortable as it was winter. After two months, our client’s symptoms failed to resolve and she had to undergo nail avulsion surgery. It was a number of weeks before this healed fully and she is now self conscious of her missing toenail when exposing her feet.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £3,250 for this client during 2015
Incorrectly fitted crown to tooth
We acted for a client (now aged 25) who, as a result of a childhood injury to her left front tooth, required an implant. The crown that was fitted to the implant was too large, resulting in gum recession and bone loss around the implant and also an infection. This caused the adjacent right front tooth to die and require root canal treatment. The dentist who originally fitted the crown and implant did not admit liability at first and offered to reimburse our client £900 of the cost of her original treatment. Our client rejected this offer and sought our help to ensure that she recovered sufficient compensation to enable her to have the damage put right.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £7,000 for this client during 2015
Delay in diagnosis of retinal detachment
We have been acting for a client (now aged 39) who was unhappy with treatment that she received from an optician during April 2012. Briefly, she had been experiencing symptoms of flashing in her right eye which continued intermittently and she attended the opticians who advised her that she only had slight conjunctivitis and told her to start a course of eye drops. Her symptoms worsened and she eventually attended Great Western Hospital in Swindon where the on-call registrar made a diagnosis of retinal detachment in her right eye and she was transferred to Bristol Eye Hospital where she underwent surgery. Unfortunately, she has now been left with permanently impaired vision impacting on her ability to continue working and her life generally at home caused by the opticians’ negligence. Fortunately, she runs her own cleaning company and this injury has not greatly impacted on her business. It was our case that the optician should have referred our client to hospital immediately for investigation/treatment and if this had happened, her injury would have been avoided. Proceedings had to be issued at Court and eventually the parties were able to agree upon a settlement.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £70,000.00 for this client during 2015
Injury to a paraplegic patient
We acted for a client (aged 42) who was involved in a serious road traffic accident during December 2009. This caused him to be paralysed from the chest down and he suffered a below knee amputation of his right leg. He was eventually transferred to Salisbury District Hospital (for rehabilitation) and once discharged he was under the care of district nurses. Unfortunately, shortly before and after he was discharged, he was allowed to develop a sacral pressure sore which led to a fistula and he had to be readmitted to hospital and undergo extensive surgery to remedy this problem. Although, he would have been reliant on a wheelchair and others for care in any event because of his original accident, this negligent treatment now required him to have additional help and he was at risk of further medical complications in the future. Proceedings had to be issued in this case and eventually the parties were able to agree upon a settlement.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £140,000.00 for this client during 2015
Bad care in an A & E department
One of our clients (aged 58) developed knee/leg pain whilst out jogging during April 2014. He attended the A & E department at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital but they only x-rayed his knee and he was told that he had a ligament problem. Due to severe leg pain he re-attended the A & E department again during May 2014 and was simply put on the waiting list as an outpatient to see a consultant. Some four weeks later, he saw a doctor privately who arranged for him to have an MRI scan/x-ray of his leg and he was told that he had in fact fractured his shin. Once the correct diagnosis was made and with appropriate treatment, he made a speedy recovery. It was our case that there had been a delay of 2 months in the correct diagnosis being made and if this had happened the pain and suffering our client experienced would have been reduced. A formal letter of claim was sent to the Hospital Trust and they agreed to compensate our client accordingly.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £2,000.00 for this client during 2015
Wrong Skin Lesion Removed
Our client (aged 44) was referred to the Dermatology Clinic by her GP to have a suspicious lesion (mole) on her right forearm removed. The procedure was carried out by the dermatology nurse practitioner. When our client removed the dressing a couple of days later she found that the wrong skin lesion had been removed. She went back to the clinic to report the error and to have the correct lesion removed. As a result of this negligence she underwent an additional unnecessary procedure, causing avoidable pain and suffering which has left her with a small residual scar on her forearm. Liability was admitted.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £4,000.00 for this client during 2015
Administrative error leads to deterioration in eyesight
Our client (now aged 67) was unhappy with treatment she received at hospital. There was an administrative delay in providing a three month follow up appointment which caused damage to her eye resulting in deterioration of her eyesight. As a result of the delay, her pre-existing viteromacular traction in her right eye progressed to a full thickness macular hole requiring a vitrectomy. It was our case that her final visual outcome was worse than it would have been as a result of this delay. The hospital accepted that the care fell below an acceptable standard but disputed the level of harm caused.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £20,000.00 for this client during 2015
Dentist’s failure to recognise and treat periodontal disease
Our Client (aged 48) had been using the same dentist for an 11 year period. During that time, she developed severe gum disease but this was not recognised or adequately treated by her dentist nor was she referred on for more specialist treatment until it was too late. As a result of the delay, she required the extraction of upto five teeth, upto five dental implants (to replace the lost teeth) and maintenance treatment at three month intervals for the remainder of her lifetime. The Dentist admitted that the care had fallen below an acceptable standard but alleged that our client would not lose all five teeth and that, as an ex-smoker, she would have suffered some periodontal disease in any event. Court proceedings were issued, but we were able to settle the claim out of Court.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £47,500.00 for this client during 2014
Fragment of a surgical instrument left in a patient
We acted for a client (aged 59) who underwent a bilateral knee arthroscopy during August 2006 at Great Western Hospital in Swindon. During the course of the surgery, the tip of a surgical blade broke off and migrated into the back of his left knee joint. The surgeon was unable to retrieve this tip and it was then left in his knee until 2012 when another doctor said that it should be removed as it presented a potential danger. Following surgery to remove the fragment, he made a full recovery from this episode. It was our case that the surgical blade should not have broken in the first place without there being negligence on the part of the surgeon and it should have been removed in 2006 and not 2012. We felt that breaking a surgical instrument and leaving a fragment behind within a patient amounted to a “never event”. The Hospital disagreed and denied liability and also argued that our client’s claim was time barred in that he should have issued proceedings by no later than 2009 ie. the 3 year anniversary of the alleged negligence. Proceedings were issued and a Defence was filed by the Hospital Trust which maintained their earlier position. Nevertheless, their solicitors made an early offer to settle our client’s claim which he was happy with.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £10,000.00 for this client during 2014
Bad care at hospital resulting in a DVT
Another client of ours (aged 42) was unhappy with treatment which he received at the Royal United Hospital in Bath during 2009 and 2012. His complaint can be summarised as follows:-
- Firstly, during a routine varicose vein surgery in February 2009, adequate precautions were not taken to prevent him from later developing a deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and a pulmonary embolus (PE);
- and secondly, on his further admission during 2012 with back and leg pain following an accident at work, once again, adequate precautions to counter deep venous thrombosis were not taken and he developed a second DVT.
He now suffers from a post thrombotic syndrome of the left leg characterised by swelling, secondary varicose veins and well established skin changes of chronic venous insufficiency. He is at significantly greater risk of further DVT’s (and PE’s). He will also need to wear knee length stockings every day. He has had to stop work as a lorry driver. He will find it difficult to find sedentary office type work.
This was a complicated case to value as our client also had an unrelated serious back problem caused by his accident at work which also prevented him from returning to work. A letter of claim was submitted to the Hospital Trust and liability was disputed. Proceedings had to be issued and in a Defence filed by their solicitors, they disputed liability for the alleged 2009 negligence but accepted liability for the 2012 negligence.
Our client was understandably anxious to resolve this case and after discussions with the Hospital Trust’s solicitors, we were able to agree upon a settlement figure which he was happy with.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £50,000.00 for this client during 2014
Loss of a husband
We acted for a client following the death of her husband whilst an inpatient at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon. Her husband (aged 71) had been admitted to the hospital for a laparoscopic right hemi-colectomy. Following that surgery, in December 2011, he was then transferred to ICU. There was then a failure to monitor him appropriately, and he suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of an internal bleed to the duodenal ulcer. It was our case that the bleeding should have been detected with competent management and treated with blood transfusion before the cause of the bleeding was found and treated. If this had happened we believe that her husband would have survived. The Health Service Ombudsman looked into what happened at the hospital and in their report had highlighted a number of “service failures” in how the deceased had been treated. A letter of claim was submitted on behalf of our client to the Hospital Trust and they accepted liability for his death. Shortly afterwards, we were able to negotiate a settlement on her behalf which included a claim for loss of financial dependency (as a consequence of his death her state pension would now be less).
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £41,250.00 for this client during 2014
On the 16 October 2011, one of our clients was gardening with his parents at their home when a thorn went into his right ring finger. He attended the A & E department at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire. Due to his ongoing pain in this finger he was later referred by the hospital to their Fracture Clinic. He saw one of the Associates in Trauma and Orthopaedics on the 9 November 2011. He returned to the A & E department on the 8 December 2011 as the pain in his finger was continuing. He had an x-ray and scan which showed that he had a lesion in this finger caused by a foreign body. He underwent surgery on the 9 February 2012 to remove this foreign body but the surgeon inadvertently operated on his right middle finger by mistake. On realising his error, he stopped and then proceeded to operate on the injured right ring finger. Our client was critical of the care which he received at the hospital in that he was left with avoidable ongoing residual symptoms in his right middle finger which impacted on his life for a period of time. This was a strong case on its merits as this type of injury should not occur (ie. it is what doctors call a “never event”). Our independent expert agreed and in his opinion by about April 2014, he should be fully recovered from this episode. A letter of claim was submitted to the Hospital Trust and after protracted negotiations, we were able to agree upon a settlement figure for our client which included a claim for partial loss of earnings.
S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £15,000.00 for this client during 2014