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£3m for Man Left Brain-Damaged After Inadequate Weekend Hospital Care

25 September 2015

A New Zealand man has received £3m in compensation after he was left brain-damaged and severely disabled as a result of delays in treating septic arthritis in his left hip.

Settlement Value: £3m

Slater and Gordon Solicitor: Paul Sankey is a Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.

What happened: The client suffered a devastating stroke leaving him brain damaged and severely disabled as a result of delays in treating septic arthritis in his left hip at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington.

The client was admitted to Accident & Emergency at St Mary’s Hospital in November 2010. He was admitted on a Friday night and had no treatment at all over the weekend. He should have been given antibiotics and undergone surgery that day, but was neglected over the weekend until late on the Monday.

During this time he developed septic shock and multiple organ failure. He underwent surgery too late and eventually suffered a serious stroke as a result of a clot on his brain.

He was eventually medically evacuated back to New Zealand where he spent nine months in hospital undergoing rehabilitation. His partner had to give up work in order to become his full-time carer.

How Slater and Gordon helped: Slater and Gordon took on the claim whilst the client was still in hospital. We obtained evidence from experts in eight different disciplines to establish liability and nine different disciplines in relation to his condition, prognosis and needs.

We spent some time visiting the client at home in New Zealand to gain a good understanding of the impact of his stroke.

The Trust responsible for St Mary’s Hospital admitted some shortcomings in the client’s care but denied that they caused the stroke, which it alleged was the result of the underlying infection.

We issued proceedings in the High Court. This turned out to be an extremely complicated case raising difficult medical issues. At a late stage the trust agreed to hold a settlement meeting but did not make an adequate settlement offer and we prepared for trial.

Three weeks before trial we were able to negotiate a settlement which will provide a substantial lump sum sufficient to buy appropriate accommodation for the client as well as an annual payment for life to meet the cost of 24 hour live-in care.

Impact: The client is an entirely different person as a result of his ordeal. Although he has improved tenfold, almost five years on, he still has limited mobility and he is unable to read, write or speak coherently to anyone who does not know him.

This was a long and hard-fought claim which was resolved only days before trial. It is a shame the NHS didn’t resolve this case at a much earlier stage as this would have saved our client from significant heartache.

Decision: The settlement the client received from the NHS Litigation Authority on behalf of St Mary’s Hospital, includes a £1.5m lump sum plus annual payments for life for his rehabilitation and care.

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