In this case, the Claimant, our client, alleged clinical negligence against a Healthcare Trust, the Defendant, following the delay in appropriate treatment of an arachnoid cyst in her brain, which left our client, amongst other things, severely mentally impaired.
Experts were instructed in the fields of neurology, psychiatry, ophthalmology, neuropsychology, radiology and care. The Defendant initially defended all allegations of negligence, however, after negotiation, the date of negligence was agreed and the Defendant accepted that a CT scan was misreported by one of their radiologists. We believed that our client's problems all stemmed from the agreed date of negligence. The symptoms suffered included visual disability, permanent dizziness and- poor balance and the client needed twenty four hour a day care as a consequence of the deterioration in the client's intellectual function and memory. The clients' life expectancy had not been significantly affected.
Initially, the Defendant argued that, even if timely surgery had been undertaken, our client would have suffered some disabilities. The Defendant did not accept the level of care required by our client. After meeting with the Defendant shortly prior to trial, the claim was settled for £750,000.
We assisted a young child, through their mother and Litigation Friend, in an extremely complex clinical negligence claim arising out of a three year delay in identifying and treating a brain tumour which caused a loss of visual acuity. Our client, the Claimant, was receiving treatment from two Healthcare Trusts, one offering ophthalmology care, the second MRI imaging. Regrettably, it transpired that both Healthcare Trusts offered our client substandard treatment.
It was necessary to obtain a number of expert reports, to include a consultant neuroradiologist to deal with liability; a consultant neurosurgeon to advise on causation and to prepare a Condition & Prognosis Report; and a consultant ophthalmologist to deal with breach of duty, causation and condition & prognosis. To assist with the valuation of the case, a consultant educationalist and clinical psychologist were also instructed.
Our client initially complained of progressive loss of vision. On examination, treating clinicians could find no abnormality of the eye itself. The Claimant was also showing behavioural disturbance and the Defendants believed that the client was suffering psychiatric disturbance. In fact there was an underlying physical problem, namely a pituitary tumour which impinged on the optic chiasma. Regrettably, the further investigations which our experts believed were necessary were not undertaken and, instead, our client received psychiatric assessments.
In addition to this breach of duty, a second one occurred when our client was referred to a second Healthcare Trust's radiology department for an MRI scan of the head. Although the scan did reveal a tumour, the scan was misreported as showing no abnormality of the brain.
The medical history is a good deal more complex than this summary is able to explain and also a number of our client's ongoing medical symptoms were as a consequence of the actual tumour rather than the negligent treatment. We did have medical evidence to confirm that our client had suffered a permanent, partial loss of vision which would not have occurred to such an extent but for the negligent treatment. Our client also underwent unnecessary and inappropriate investigation and management for psychiatric disturbance.
Taking into account our client's disabilities, which would have occurred in any event even if treated appropriately, and how that compared with her disabilities as a consequence of receiving substandard treatment, our client accepted an offer made by the Defendants in the sum of £21,500.
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