Case Studies

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Case Study - Sepsis

 

Compensation Awarded for Lithium Toxicity Case 

We acted for a client after a catalogue of errors and failure to recognise the signs of raised lithium levels resulted in chronic lithium toxicity and irreversible brain injuries.

Steven Berry suffered significant neurological damage as a result of the failure to provide appropriate treatment and is now confined to a wheelchair with limited mobility.

Pearson Solicitors, who acted for him said a series of mismanaged hospital visits and a lack of testing resulted in raised lithium levels, which in time became toxic leading to life changing disability.

His significant award represents a future life time of care and the adaptions he and his family will have to make to their lives.  Thanks to a generous settlement he and his wife were able to move into a bungalow which was adapted to suit his needs..

The claim was brought against his GP, the Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and recognises a breach of duty of care and causation.

Compensation means a lifetime of care.  It’s not just about compensation it’s about looking after a client when he needs you the most.  

Kidney donation leads to complications and £42,000 compensation 

A women who donated a kidney to her husband and went on to have severe post-operative complications received a major compensation award of £42,000 when Pearson Solicitors took up her case.

Mrs A, 68, from Droylsden, Tameside pursued a clinical negligence claim against the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust after a catalogue of errors led to complications including a perforated colon, the development of a hernia, wound infections, severe peritonitis, sepsis, and respiratory and renal failure.

Mrs A accepted that there might have been risks with the initial transplant surgery. It was noted that a diathermy hook used in the operation perforated her colon and the injury went unnoticed at the time of the operation. It was alleged that, whilst perforation was a recognised risk of the procedure, the Trust’s employees were negligent in their care, management, assessment and treatment of Mrs A afterwards. It was argued that the post-operative care and delays in scanning and treatment were in breach of duty of care and that her deteriorating condition should have been noted and actioned sooner.

Mrs A had to stay in hospital for two months after the initial kidney donation surgery took place at Manchester Royal Infirmary, including a prolonged stay on the Intensive Care Unit. Whilst her husband made a fully recovery, Mrs A has been left with debilitating symptoms including severe abdominal scarring, chronic pain, breathlessness, bloating and discomfort. Mrs A also faces surgery in the future to address the resultant hernia.

Specialist clinical negligence solicitor Kenneth Lees said:

“My client was in good health prior to the transplant surgery and she was very pleased when she was assessed as being a suitable donor for her husband. She accepted that there were risks involved with the transplant surgery, but was seriously let down by the medical staff who were responsible for a catalogue of errors in her post-operative management.

"My client should have enjoyed recovery from the procedure within three or four days, but she instead endured months of pain and has been left with problems that will impact the rest of her life. I am pleased that we have recovered compensation that recognises the extent of the negligent medical treatment that she received.”

Double Dose Dispensing Error 

A patient whose Christmas was ruined has won £1,500 compensation after a local chemist gave him the wrong prescription dosage.

Our client, Mr L, was looking forward to spending Christmas 2014 in the Cotswolds with his partner and family when he fell ill with sinusitis. Mr L attended his GP to seek medical advice and was prescribed Clarithromycin 500mg (one to be taken twice daily).

His local Pharmacy then dispensed Clarithromycin 500mg (two to be taken twice daily).

He presumed the instructions on the box were correct and took two tablets, however, only 30 minutes later he began to feel very unwell and was violently sick. Mr L took two more tablets later in the day and again began vomiting and had sudden onset chronic head ache. Mr L was also suffering with dizziness and nausea. At this point Mr and Mrs L were very worried and called an ambulance.

Mr L was taken to hospital where he was carefully monitored and discharged home the following day. He was fortunately prescribed a fresh pack of correctly labelled antibiotics on his discharge from hospital and made a full recovery from all symptoms within 3 weeks.

Mr L recovered £1,500 including the cost of his missed Christmas holiday.

Kendyl Moore, Trainee Medical Negligence Solicitor, who handled the case said: “It’s scary to think how just one too many antibiotics can affect the body. Mr L and his wife had a very traumatic experience due to a simple typing error.

“His misfortune really does highlight the importance of reading the information leaflet enclosed in the box before taking any medication and double-checking the prescription against the dosage given by the pharmacist,” she added.

Compensation Recovered for Impact of Avoidable Pressure Ulcer Sores 

We recently pursued a claim on behalf of a family when their relative suffered deteriorating health after a catalogue of errors in her hospital care. The relative had sadly died, but the family made a claim against the hospital and secured £34,000 compensation.

Mrs J was admitted to Selly Oak Hospital in January 2010 complaining of right leg pain following a fall a few days earlier. She was assessed and x-rays revealed no bone fracture. Following a further review, including a mobility assessment, she was transferred to West Heath Hospital for rehabilitation, with a view to improving her mobility before she went home.

On admission to West Heath Hospital Mrs J underwent nursing and clinical assessments including a Waterlow pressure ulcer risk assessment. The resultant score suggested she was not at risk of pressure ulcers. No account was taken of her lower limbs being dry and oedematous, her restricted mobility arising from her fall or to reflect that she was taking cytotoxic medication to treat a urinary tract infection. The only step planned was to carry out a 12-hourly skin inspection, which medical records subsequently revealed were not carried out for at least ten days.

During her time at West Heath Hospital Mrs J was continually reassessed by the nursing and clinical staff. It was noted that her mobility was decreasing, she had markers of infection, and she had developed sores on her ankles and calves. The Defendant asserted that two days after admission a further Waterlow assessment was carried out which placed Mrs J at very high risk of developing pressure sores. Despite this, no action was taken to reduce the perceived pressure ulcer risk in any way.

The hospital breached its own policy of reassessing pressure ulcer risks on a weekly basis by failing to carry out another Waterlow assessment for a further fifteen days. A further Waterlow assessment was completed on the seventeenth day post-admission, but this significantly underestimated Mrs J’s condition in light of her clinical circumstances. Some steps were finally taken to alleviate the sores, but a planned referral to a tissue viability nurse was not actioned for a further four days, and no referral was made to a dietician. A turning regime was planned on a regular two-hourly basis but not commenced for a further two days, and once started was intermittent at best.

During this period Mrs J’s condition deteriorated even further. Her existing pressure ulcers intensified and she developed new sores on her legs and lower back which caused infection, immobility, loss of appetite and significant weight loss all of which ultimately led to sepsis, acute renal failure pulmonary embolism and pneumonia.

Mrs J remained seriously ill when she was transferred back to Selly Oak Hospital in March 2010. On admission Mrs J was noted to have substantial pressure sores on her lower back, right calf, heels, left foot, and right shin which required surgical debridement and washout. This procedure caused Mrs J to develop acute pulmonary oedema and required admission to the Critical Care Unit. Thankfully she recovered from the procedure and was cared for on the Elderly Care Ward until she was transferred to the Sheldon Unit for rehabilitation in June 2010.

Sadly Mrs J died in August 2011 having never recovered from the pressure sores that she developed at West Heath Hospital.

Pearson Solicitors investigated these events and obtained expert evidence from a physician and geriatrician, a nurse and a plastic surgeon. A claim was issued against The Department of Health which led to a settlement being reached in the sum of £34,000.

Kenneth Lees, Medical Negligence Solicitor, who handled the case said: “This is an extremely sad case where an independent and mobile lady developed painful pressure ulcers and deteriorating health as a result of a catalogue of errors in her hospital care.

“Mrs J’s family took issue with the inadequate treatment that she received and raised a number of complaints with West Heath Hospital on her behalf. Whilst monetary compensation cannot make up for the experiences faced by Mrs J and her family I believe that the financial settlement that we have secured will prompt a review of pressure sore management policies”.

The Sadness of a Still Birth 

Our client was expecting her first baby and had initially experienced a straightforward pregnancy. At around 27 weeks gestation our client began vomiting blood and noticed reduced foetal movement.

When Mrs T presented at St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester she was given medication to stop the vomiting and was sent home. Approximately four weeks later Mrs T experienced the same symptoms. When she retuned to St Mary’s Hospital she was seen by a midwife who took a urine sample but failed to carry out an ultrasound scan.

Mrs T returned a week later with lower abdominal pains, a high temperature, rapid pulse, and high blood pressure. Mrs T was admitted. A CTG showed a reducing foetal heart rate and a doctor advised delivery but Mrs T was not then prioritised. Obstetric doctors could not be contacted because they were engaged with another patient in theatre and they failed to respond to their pagers.

The baby’s heart rate continued to decline and reached a dangerously low level. Mrs T was eventually transferred to a delivery suite, a doctor attended and commenced the delivery but, sadly, her baby was stillborn.

Pearson Solicitors investigated Mrs T’s claim and secured early admissions in relation to breach of duty of care from Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The investigation involved obtaining expert input from a psychologist who diagnosed persistent complex grieving reaction and associated major depressive episodes.

Our specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors secured a settlement of £40,000.

Kenneth Lees, Medical Negligence Solicitor, who handled the case said: “This was an extremely sad case involving the loss of a baby through missed opportunities to investigate Mrs T’s symptoms and the failure to prioritise the delivery of her baby. This understandably had a devastating impact on Mrs T and impacted on her day to day life leading to the breakdown of her relationship with her husband. St Mary’s Hospital does valuable work but on this occasion they missed key opportunities to investigate and intervene to avoid the stillbirth and I am pleased that we secured a settlement for Mrs T”.

Missed Cancer Diagnosis and Delayed Treatment 

Pearson’s specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors recently acted for a client in the case of a missed cancer diagnosis.

Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust admitted a breach of duty of care and made a £12,500 settlement after it was found that, had a ‘timely diagnosis’ been made, alternative treatments could have been implemented which would have improved the patient’s quality of life.

Mrs D first visited her GP complaining of shortness of breath. The GP arranged an x-ray which showed a loss of lung volume. Mrs D continued to lose weight and developed pains in her ribs. Her GP referred her for a CT scan which showed lesions in her right lung. Mrs D was consulted at Tameside Hospital and was assured that the lesions were not serious, that there were no other issues, and that she should return for a review in six months.

However Mrs D’s symptoms continued to develop. Mrs D developed a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath and arm and shoulder pains. She was sent for another x-ray eight months later and it was found that she had lung cancer. Further scans at The Christie Hospital confirmed that the cancer had also spread to the liver. Radiotherapy was commenced but Mrs D’s condition deteriorated and she eventually died.

Commenting on the case, Medical Negligence Solicitor, Kenneth Lees, said: “A misinterpretation of the earlier CT scan led to a delayed diagnosis. Earlier treatment would have certainly meant an improved quality of life and may have meant that Mrs D would have lived longer.”