Medical Negligence

Man awarded £100,000 settlement after kidney damage went undiagnosed by GP for seven years resulting in him needing a transplant

Transplant Patient

Matthew Gascoyne

Team Leader & Senior Associate Solicitor

5 min read time

A 59-year-old man from Derbyshire has been awarded damages after his GP wrongly recorded his blood tests as showing ‘no abnormality’ when in fact they indicated he was suffering from a serious kidney condition.

The former factory worker would wait seven years before he was correctly diagnosed, by which time he was suffering from Stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease and was told he would need a transplant.

The man has now been told he will require care, assistance and possibly another transplant in the years to come.

Medical experts consulted by Hudgell Solicitors, who represented him, said although he was always likely to have ended up with kidney failure, early diagnosis and treatment would have delayed this by up to 27 years.

The man said following the transplant his life has been turned ‘upside down’.

“I’ve had to give up walking the dogs and spending time at the allotment. I always get tired and I’m simply not up to it.

“After the transplant I’ve needed help with things like shopping. I’ve also suffered with severe water infections which have needed treatment and I’ve been hospitalised,” he said.

‘The 2014 tests showed I had advanced kidney failure’

The man went to his GP in 2008 after noticing he had lost a stone in weight for no obvious reason and was concerned as his father had died of bowel cancer.

Blood tests were arranged and his records showed abnormal readings relating to his kidney function. However, his GP recorded the tests as showing no abnormality and no steps were taken to investigate.

Then in 2015, seven years later, he returned to his GP practice to request a liver function test. More blood tests were carried out which revealed the man was suffering from severely impaired kidney function.

“It was a shock. The 2014 tests showed I had advanced kidney failure and stage 4 kidney disease which required dialysis. A year later I was having a transplant. It turned my life upside down,” he said.

A Significant Event Review took place at the practice

Hudgells’ senior solicitor in clinical negligence, Matthew Gascoyne, who specialises in securing compensation for patients who have been misdiagnosed, said:

“Our client’s impaired kidney function should have been diagnosed in 2008 and if it had been, he would have been advised to start medication and make lifestyle changes that would have slowed the rate of his deterioration.

“Although my client was always likely to have ended up with kidney failure, early diagnosis and treatment would have delayed this until between 2030 and 2042, rather than by 2015.”

The case was settled out of court with the GP admitting liability and damages of £100,000 were awarded.

Surgery records show a Significant Event Review took place at the practice in 2015 and this led to an audit of its management of blood test results.

‘The failings fall below the standard of the profession of general practitioners’

The review concluded that patients who had undergone kidney function tests and had low readings “are missing out on regular monitoring which could potentially lead to a repeat of the case from 2008.”

The review was later discussed with all clinicians in the practice and “awareness had been raised” and “their practice had been changed as a direct result of this case,” the records state.

It also concluded that a new computer management system “should mean that this situation is very unlikely to be repeated.”

After undergoing a kidney transplant in 2017, our client initially made a good recovery but has since suffered several infections.

“Now I’ve been told that this kidney could fail in four to five years’ time and I will have to go back on the transplant waiting list. It’s hanging over me, I’ll probably have to have dialysis, but there’s nothing I can do about it,” he said.

The clinical negligence claim alleged there was a failure by the GP to correctly identify that the results were not normal and as a result there was a clear failure to identify that our client was already suffering from moderate renal function.

Mr Gascoyne also alleged there was further negligence in not identifying the need to refer the man to a kidney disease specialist for further investigation and to notify the patient of his abnormal blood count.

“Overall, the above failings fall below the standard of the profession of general practitioners,” said Mr Gascoyne.

“It has been a pleasure to represent my client and to give him the answers that he has been seeking for all these years as to why he ended up needing a transplant when an earlier diagnosis could have prevented the need for one, or for dialysis, for up to 27 years.

“Due to the GP’s failure to interpret and react to the results my client received no treatment or further tests to protect or slow down the reduced kidney function resulting in severe reduced kidney function earlier than ought to have occurred.”

No matter how high the standards of care and treatment in our health services, things can sometimes go wrong. Medical negligence occurs if you receive substandard treatment by a medical professional, whether that’s directly causing an injury, or making an injury or condition worse.

Medical negligence can also happen if you are misdiagnosed, receive the wrong treatment, or a mistake is made during surgery.

We understand that no amount of medical negligence compensation can change what you’ve been through, but it can help to relieve financial pressures caused, such as by medical bills or the loss of earnings, helping you to move forward with your life.

You can begin by contacting us via our claim form and selecting Medical Negligence as the type of claim.

Read more: Medical and Clinical Negligence

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