Medical Negligence

Hospital Trust agrees £500,000 damages settlement for family of man left in need of 24-hour care following delayed diagnosis and treatment of stroke

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Vince Shore

Joint Head of Clinical Negligence (Hull)

4 min read time

The family of a man left brain damaged and needing 24-hour care after suffering a stroke is to receive £500,000 damages after a hospital trust admitted delays in diagnosing and treating him.

The man, 48, was taken by ambulance to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, where he underwent a CT scan which showed signs of a basilar artery stroke – a rare form of stroke with a high mortality rate.

The scan was reported as being normal by a radiologist, and following that error it was a further three days before an MRI scan was taken, revealing multiple areas of blood tissue death and the artery blockage again. The patient was then immediately transferred to Leeds General Infirmary for emergency surgery.

As part of a legal case led against the Trust on behalf of the man’s wife by Hudgell Solicitors’ medical negligence specialists it was alleged that, had the CT scan been properly interpreted, the patient would have been diagnosed and received emergency treatment to remove the blood clots within a matter of hours.

Although it was accepted he would still have suffered brain damage, it was alleged he would not have been left needing the same level of 24 hour supervision for his own safety, as he now does.

As well as being left with substantial cognitive deficits and disinhibition, the man, now 55, has problems with speech, language and memory and ongoing issues with dexterity in his upper limbs, struggling with balance and suffering falls. He also has abnormalities of eye movements and swallowing difficulties, requiring a soft diet.

Medical experts consulted as part of the case said he would likely have avoided some issues such as eye movement and other brainstem damage with quicker treatment, and therefore had something of an improvement in terms of his physical outcome, with a lower risk of falls.

The expert said: “In practical terms, I think this would have meant a quicker recovery and return home and would mean that he would have required support from his wife and family, but would not have needed 24 hours supervision.”

Legal case alleged number of failings which ‘denied opportunity for best recovery’

Vince Shore, joint head of clinical negligence at Hudgell Solicitors, said: “There were a number of failings in care in this case which ultimately denied the patient the opportunity to make the best possible recovery from the very serious stroke he suffered.

“The impact of the delays in treatment on his long-term health were disputed, as it was difficult for medical experts to say with complete certainty how much extra impact the three day delay in treatment had.

“It was agreed that had he had quicker treatment, he would have needed less support that he does now. He would have been able to be left for periods of time unsupervised, and been more able to manage his own needs and be less of a risk to himself.

“What was accepted by the Trust was that there was an inexcusable failure to spot the abnormalities which were picked up on the original CT scan. It was our case that he should have been immediately transferred to Leeds General Infirmary. As part of our investigations it was confirmed that had that been the case, due to the seriousness of the situation, it was likely he would have been treated as a priority patient and seen by specialists immediately.”

Trust admitted failure to spot stroke on scan and lack of review by specialist

Legal representatives of Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust admitted that had the patient been assessed by a consultant in stroke medicine after the initial CT scan on March 28, 2015, a diagnosis of stroke would have been made.

It also admitted failing to admit the patient to a stroke unit within four hours of arriving at hospital, failing to provide any doctor from the stroke team to examine the patient within a reasonable period of time after his admission and failing to provide a consultant in stroke medicine to assess him following the CT scan.

It also admitted a failure to administer thrombolysis within four-and-a-half hours of symptom onset, and failing to review the patient on the day after his admission. As part of the legal claim, general damages were sought alongside costs for past and future care, accommodation costs, occupational therapy and physio, as well as the support of a case manager.

At Hudgell Solicitors we take all hospital negligence claims seriously, working hard to secure compensation for you and your family.

For many people, making a medical negligence claim against a hospital can be a daunting process, so we’re here to help by offering professional advice and support throughout your claim and will look to offer no win, no fee advice where applicable, you can begin your claim here today.

Read more: Hospital Negligence Claims

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