When a 35 year-old woman attended the Accident and Emergency department at Kings College Hospital suffering from acute abdominal pain, she was unconvinced when she was sent home with a diagnosis of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
The severe pain continued and she sought the attention of her GP, who she visited on the following day. The GP immediately suspected that she was suffering from appendicitis and sent her straight back to the A&E department. While she was admitted straight away, it was to be around 30 hours later before she was attended to. During this time her appendix had perforated leading to sepsis and the development of gangrene.
Due to the delay in treating her, the woman’s bowel was damaged and had to be rebuilt alongside the use of an ileostomy (connecting the small intestine to an external pouch for secreted waste). She then had to undergo further surgery to remove the device. This left her with severe abdominal scarring. In addition to this, a psychiatric report confirmed that the events had caused the victim to suffer from an adjustment disorder from which, fortunately, she made a good recovery.
The victim pursued the NHSLA on the basis of delayed diagnosis and after putting up an initial argument, they soon made a Part 36 offer of £75,000 without admitting to any liability. (Part 36 is a provision set in the Civil Procedure Rules designed to encourage parties to settle disputes without going to trial).
What if you have suffered from medical negligence?
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