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Compensation secured following delay in diagnosis of meningitis
In March 2013 Boyes Turner secured a 57.5% liability settlement in favour of 23 year old, Joanne* who developed a severe brain injury after a delay in diagnosis and treatment of meningitis in February 1990.
Joanne has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy affecting both her physical and intellectual function as a result of the meningitis. Joanne is not able to walk and relies completely on her wheelchair and her mother for assistance for all her day to day needs. Joanne will remain dependent on others for her lifetime.
We were instructed by Joanne’s mother in 2008 to investigate her concerns that there was a delay in the diagnosis and treatment of the infection. Legal aid was obtained for Joanne after which the investigation into the claim could begin. This included obtaining her medical records and medical reports from four different medical experts.
The mistakes alleged against the hospital’s midwifery staff included a failure to recognise that Joanne was unwell during the course of the day and evening despite both her mother and grandmother’s concerns. It was alleged that if midwifery staff had recognised Joanne’s symptoms, she would have been seen by a paediatric doctor and would have received antibiotic treatment earlier avoiding any brain damage.
The case progressed and settled five weeks before trial on the basis of a 57.5/42.5% liability split in Joanne’s favour. The High Court in London approved the settlement in June 2013. The 42.5% allowance arose because of complex issues surrounding the allegations of substandard care and Joanne’s likely outcome in the absence of any alleged negligence.
The case will now be valued as Joanne is old enough to be assessed in terms of her intellectual and physical abilities.
In the meantime, money has now been received from the hospital on account of compensation so that financial assistance can be given to both Joanne and her family immediately.
* All names changed to protect client privacy.
I try to assist lawyers by explaining, in clear and comprehensible terms, what the relevant issues are and where the strengths and weaknesses of the case lie.
DR PETER DEAR