Medical negligence cases address very sensitive and complex issues. Most clients want a full investigation of events, answers to their many questions and an explanation of why things happened as they did.
The cases summarised below illustrate some of the cases and situations in which Attwaters Jameson Hill’s Medical Negligence team has achieved some degree of justice for clients, often in distressing circumstances.
FAILINGS IN CARE DURING LABOUR
An 11-year-old girl who was left with dyskinetic cerebral palsy after suffering serious brain injury at birth has been awarded more than £14 million in damages. The girl, who cannot be named but is referred to as MXX in legal documents, suffered the injuries as a result of failings in care during her birth at The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel in May 2007.
At the Royal Courts of Justice in London on 29 January 2019, Her Honour Judge Walden-Smith approved a settlement of £14.4 million. This encompasses a lump sum payment of £4.4 million plus annual payments to cover the cost of care, support, specialist therapies and accommodation throughout MXX’s lifetime.
DELAYED CANCER DIAGNOSIS
We recently secured significant damages for a patient who was referred to hospital by their GP in relation to throat problems, but the hospital team failed to identify the client was suffering from extensive high-grade non-Hodgkins lymphoma. This caused a delay of several months before the disease was eventually diagnosed, by which time our client had to undergo extensive surgery to remove the cancer, with an accompanying course of chemotherapy, and has been left with significant post-operative problems, including a palatal defect.
DEATH OF PATIENT FROM UNDIAGNOSED DVT
We recently acted for the bereaved family of a lady who was admitted to hospital for treatment of a urinary tract infection. Unfortunately during this admission she suffered a DVT, which was not diagnosed promptly by the hospital staff, causing her death. We assisted the family with the Inquest, and subsequently a clinical negligence claim, which we managed to settle despite the Defendant NHS Trust initially denying liability for the lady’s death.
SIX-FIGURE SETTLEMENT FOR BOWEL PERFORATION CASE
Our client suffered a bowel perforation during a cholecystectomy procedure, as a result of which he required emergency surgery. His subsequently developed sepsis, wound problems, kidney problems and weakness of his abdominal wall, but in addition he suffered complex problems including epilepsy and issues with his diaphragm, together with psychological stress and speech difficulties. The medical issues were therefore complicated, some of which were disputed by the Defendant, but we secured a substantial out-of-court settlement.
TRAGIC SUICIDE CASE
This was a desperately sad case arising from the tragic events surrounding the death of our client’s wife, who had a history of mental health issues. She was admitted to hospital but, despite the staff being aware of her history of self-harm, and having undertaken a detailed Ligature Risk Assessment (which arose from several patients having hung themselves in the unit previously) that identified a telephone booth within the unit as being a particular risk, our client’s wife was able to access the booth and hang herself with the telephone cord. We were approached by our client for assistance with the Inquest into his late wife’s death, and were able to draw the subsequent civil claim to a swift conclusion by way of negotiation.
REPRESENTATION FOR BEREAVED FAMILY AT FOUR-DAY INQUEST
We were approached by the family of a gentleman who tragically took his own life shortly after being discharged from hospital, having been taken there due to concerns for his mental well-being. We were concerned that he should have been admitted to hospital for assessment, but the Inquest was listed for a brief half-day hearing by the Coroner, which we viewed as totally inadequate to deal with the issues involved. As a result of our submissions, the hearing became a full Article 2 Inquest before a jury, covering four days. Vital witness evidence was gathered from the individuals involved in the gentleman’s treatment (including some contradictory evidence from the Police and the Defendant Trust’s medical staff), which was absolutely key in settling the subsequent civil case. We consider cases such as this of huge importance not only to the bereaved families, but also to the wider public where issues of patient safety are involved.