At Wolferstans, we have a superb record of achieving successful outcomes from medical negligence claims. Look below at some of the cases we have fought and the compensation settlements we have secured for our clients.


Accident and Emergency


Missed Dislocation Caused Permanent Injury

62 year old Mr H was at home when he slipped over in his kitchen sustaining an injury to his left shoulder. He attended the Accident and Emergency Department at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust where he was assessed and x-rayed. The x-ray showed Mr H had dislocated his shoulder which was manipulated back into position under analgesia; a follow up x-ray confirmed that the shoulder had been correctly manipulated into position.

Mr H attended the fracture clinic 3 days later complaining of pain and a grinding sensation when he moved his left arm. A sling was recommended as well as physiotherapy and he was reassured that the joint was still in the correct position. Follow up appointments over the next three months where Mr H continued to complain of pain, further physiotherapy was recommended and he was again reassured.

Two months later, Mr H was still in pain and was referred for a CT scan of his shoulder which revealed that the shoulder had re-dislocated some months earlier and was now “set” in an incorrect position. Mr H required surgery and his shoulder recovered well, but he was left with the high possibility of functional compromise in the future. This was complicated further by Mr H’s diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis where the progressive nature of the disease would also impact Mr H’s functionality. The shoulder injury had compromised his ability to self-propel in his wheelchair and so limited his mobility.

We contacted the Defendant Trust to set out our allegations of negligence and to invite them to prepare a response. East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust responded admitting liability for the missed re-dislocation and the risk of future mobility restrictions, but returned with a robust denial all of Mr H’s anticipated mobility issues arguing this was due to his underlying condition and not their negligence.

This remained a contentious point which barred early settlement and Court proceedings were issued and a trial date set. Prior to trial, the Defendant and the Claimant agreed to mediation in an attempt to settle the case, which proved highly successful and secured a settlement for Mr H in the sum of £125,000 which ensured Mr H had to means to pay for the additional care he would need in the future.


Missed Cauda Equina Symptoms at A&E

Miss W, aged 27 had a history of low back pain and occasional sciatica. She started to experience a sharp pain in her lower back and coccyx. An initial diagnosis of a disc prolapse was made and chiropractic treatment was recommended.

The pain continued and whilst she was cleaning her teeth one evening, she felt a sudden numbness in her buttock and a loss of sensation travelling from her groin to her foot. She was quite rightly concerned and took herself to the Accident and Emergency Department at Derriford Hospital, part of Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust who became the Defendant in this case.

Miss W was showing all the classic red flag signals to indicate she had a compressed nerve root, which if left untreated can cause bladder and bowel incontinence, loss of sensation of the sexual organs and paralysis. Unfortunately, the emergency doctor on call that night failed to obtain a proper history from Miss W and refused her request for an MRI scan which would have pointed to an initial diagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome. Miss W was discharged with no investigations undertaken.

Over the course of the following day, Miss W’s symptoms grew progressively worse until she felt no sensation when going to the toilet. Having been dismissed at the Hospital the day before, she was reluctant to return to explain her deterioration and so tried to sleep the symptoms off. When she awoke the next day, the symptoms had not improved and so made an emergency appointment with her GP. When Miss W explained her symptoms to her GP, she was referred to the Accident and Emergency Department immediately. Upon arrival an MRI was arranged and once the results were received, it was clear Miss W had suffered from a severe cord compression which required emergency surgery. Miss W has been left with permanent back pain and stiffness, a permanent lack of sensation in her groin together with urinary and sexual dysfunction.

Miss W sought our help knowing that more should have been upon her first attendance at the Accident and Emergency department. We approached the Defendant Trust and set out our allegations of negligence. The Trust’s formal response denied that any further investigations should have been undertaken.

A resolution could not be reached and Court proceedings were issued. The Defendant continued to deny liability, but could not escape the very real risk that the evidence was not in their favour. A settlement was reached in the sum of £80,000 prior to trial.


Delay in diagnosis of subarachnoid haemorrhage

In November 2006, Mr P was at work when he felt dizzy and collapsed to the floor. He thought that he had banged his head and experienced a period of unconsciousness and had a severe pain in his head, so attended the duty doctor at work. An ambulance was called and Mr P was taken to Accident and Emergency at Derriford Hospital, in Plymouth.

During an examination with a doctor, Mr P began to vomit. He was advised that he may be suffering with either viral meningitis or a brain haemorrhage and was provided with some pain medication. A while later, Mr P was advised he could go home as he was simply suffering with a viral infection. No further tests or examinations were carried out.

Mr P remained in severe pain throughout the day and over the weekend. Three days later, Mr P presented to his GP who confirmed he was suffering with viral meningitis and no further action was taken.

A further four days later, Mr P experienced a popping sensation in his eye and he began to feel dizzy. A GP attended Mr P at home and changed his medication but no further action was taken. Unfortunately Mr P continued to deteriorate and became disorientated and unable to recognise his family. Mr P subsequently attended hospital where he was diagnose with a subarachnoid haemorrhage and this was coiled.

Sadly, Mr P endured a long and slow recovery. He suffered with short term memory loss and had to learn to speak and to walk again. His eyesight was affected and he retired due to his health.

Mr P was later diagnosed with an organic personality disorder and continued to suffer with short term memory loss.

Mr P instructed Wolferstans, who agreed to investigate and pursue a claim against Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and multiple GP’s from his local surgery. During the investigation, Wolferstans assessed Mr P’s future care needs which had been drastically altered as a result of the delay in his receiving treatment for the subarachnoid haemorrhage. It was noted that Mr P would require significant daily care, which would increase as he aged and settlement was agreed in the sum of £560,000 before trial took place.


Steroid Injection into Shoulder led to Septic Arthritis

At age 28, Miss C attended her GP complaining of pain in her left shoulder. Her GP diagnosed an impingement syndrome and recommended a steroid injection into her shoulder to help with the pain. Over the course of the month Miss C’s arm began to swell and the level of pain increased. It took a number of months and many investigations to confirm that Miss C was suffering from septic arthritis which had been missed by the Accident and Emergency Department and the Orthopaedic Department at Derriford Hospital, part of Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust on a number of occasions.

Miss C was left with very little power in her arm, a loss of movements and was in a severe amount of pain. The medical evidence suggested that Miss C would require a shoulder replacement during the course of her life time and due to the time taken to identify and treat the septic arthritis, the integrity of the replacement would be severely compromised.

Miss C was referred to us by another firm of solicitors who were unable to deal with the matter. Miss C had a history of shoulder problems in the past and it was a difficult case to prove that her ongoing problems were as a result of the delay in diagnosing the Septic Arthritis and not, as alleged by the Defendant, possible symptoms she may have experienced in any event.

The Defendant maintained a full denial of liability on this case, but we fiercely argued Miss C’s case with the assistance of our team of medical experts and our instructed Barrister. Court proceedings were issued and a trial date listed. Just months from the trial date, a mediation meeting was arranged to provide the parties the opportunity to discuss the case face to face and narrow the issues. Thankfully this meeting was a success and we were able to secure Miss C an amazing award in the sum of £350,000. This sum includes not only compensation for the pain and suffering she had to endure, but also her future care needs and the cost of the future shoulder replacements she will inevitably need.

£45,000 recovered for failure to diagnose fractured thumb

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mr X who asked us to investigate a claim against the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust due to a failure to diagnose a displaced fracture of his thumb.

In September 2011 Mr X fell from a ladder, injuring his right thumb. His thumb remained swollen and painful after two weeks’ rest and self medication so he attended the minor injuries unit at Paignton Hospital. Mr X was examined but no comparison was made to his left, non injured thumb. Mr X was discharged with advice for management of a sprain and no x-ray was deemed necessary.

Mr X’s right thumb failed to improve thereafter and he was unable to return to work. As such, he saw his GP in October who referred him for an x-ray at Brixham Hospital and this x-ray revealed a displaced Bennett’s fracture at the base of the right first metacarpal.

Mr X was then assessed by a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon in November 2011 where he was advised that no further treatment would be recommended due to the length of time which had elapsed from the time of the initial injury. A second opinion was sought following which Mr X was advised that if his injury had been detected sooner it would have been treated in a cast or with surgery but that the delay now meant that no treatment would improve his condition and prognosis.

Mr X has been left with ongoing aching and discomfort.

Wolferstans investigated the claim and, after receiving supportive independent medical expert evidence, served a Letter of Claim on the Defendant. The Defendant Trust denied liability but our expert evidence remained unchanged in light of their denial and Court proceedings were issued against the Defendant. The case progressed until expert evidence was served upon the Defendant, following a Part 36 offer was received from the Defendant in the sum of £35,000. After further negotiation the claim was eventually settled in the sum of £45,000.


Ambulance


Fatal cardiac case against South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Mr M brought a claim for damages, on behalf of the estate of his late wife, Mrs M, who was sadly aged 44 when she died in 2010.

In December 2010, Mrs M was preparing dinner when she began to experience chest pain which felt like a stabbing pain through her chest back and shoulder blades, accompanied with shallow quick breathing. Mr M immediately dialled 999 and called the local ambulance service, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

A first responder was sent to Mrs M with Paramedics following shortly thereafter. Mrs M described the pain as 5 out of 10 and the nature of the pain she was experiencing. The Paramedics took Mrs M’s blood pressure which was low, this was unusual for Mrs M who normally experienced high blood pressure.

Mrs M was then diagnosed with a trapped nerve and was advised to rest up. Mrs and Mr M immediately felt uncomfortable with this diagnosis, however, trusting the Paramedics, Mrs M took some paracetamol and went to bed.

Unfortunately the next morning Mrs M collapsed, gasping for air. Mr M could not feel her pulse and immediately dialled 999 who took Mrs M to hospital. Sadly she had already passed away and attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.

Mr M approached Wolferstans who accepted his very sad case, against the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust for failing to treat Mrs M appropriately in December 2010. We instructed appropriate experts who were supportive of a claim for negligence. It transpired that Mrs M had suffered with a ruptured aorta and had she been taken to hospital when the Paramedics first attended then she would have had surgery and would have survived.

It was calculated that but for the negligence Mrs M would have survived another 15 years and Mr M was able to claim losses, including the fact that he was financially dependent on Mrs M’s income. He was also able to claim funeral expenses and other miscellaneous financial losses as a result of her very sad and preventable death.


Amputations


Forefoot amputation due to GP negligence

Mr B began to experience problems with his left foot in December 2012. Mr B had been experiencing pain in his foot along with a tingling sensation and after a few weeks decided to see his GP. Mr B was advised that he had athletes foot and was prescribed with a cream to apply. This did not work and the pain was ever increasing so Mr B went back to his GP. Mr B explained that he was still having pain in his foot and that the cream had not worked. He explained that he had shooting pains when walking and a throbbing sensation in his foot. Mr B explained that when he took weight off of his foot the shooting pain would stop but the throbbing would remain.

Mr B was advised to continue using the cream. Mr B had to return to his GP surgery several times over the Christmas period and each time the pain would be worse and he noticed that his toes had started to change colour. The middle toe was a very dark purple and the other toes were a pinkish purple. Mr B was advised that he had an infection and was given antibiotics. Mr B was referred for a Doppler scan to check the blood flow but the appointment was not made urgently.

Mr B was also sent for an X-ray because of the pain that he was in, but this came back as normal. By 17 January 2013 Mr B returned to his GP as his toes were black. H was told that the Doppler results were normal but an urgent referral was then made to the hospital as a vascular problem was suspected.

Mr B attended the hospital on 21 January 2013 and he was told that he would need a graft in his foot as the blood was not circulating properly. Sadly the graft did not work and Mr B had to undergo a forefoot amputation on 28 January 2013.

Mr B had to leave his job as he was unable to operate his vehicle with his amputation. Mr B’s quality of life was dramatically affected and he required the use of a wheelchair as it was still incredibly painful for him to work. Mr B also experienced phantom pain which is when you can feel the part of the limb that use to be there, even though it is not.

Wolferstans settled Mr B’s claim in January 2015 for £5,000.


Anaesthetic Awareness

£20,000 in damages awarded for a negligent administration of an epidural

Mrs D was admitted for an operation at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth in October 2012. Prior to the surgery a needle was placed into her spine in order to administer an epidural. Mrs D recalled there was difficulty administering the epidural.

Mrs D awoke from her operation completely covered in tubes and her body was swollen. Her family members informed her that she nearly died as result of three cardiac arrests. It was later discovered following a report, that there was blood present at the site of the epidural which caused it to leak into her bloodstream, resulting in the cardiac arrests.

Fortunately Mrs D recovered well from the ordeal despite her mobility being adversely affected and battling with psychiatric injury. She has a fear of having to go to her G.P or back into hospital.

Wolferstans investigated this matter under a Conditional Fee Agreement and were able to agree a settlement with Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust of £20,000.00 for Mrs D, to compensate for her pain and suffering and psychiatric injury, that arose following the negligent treatment she received.


Brain Damage Caused By Waking Up During Surgery

Mrs A, suffered a bleed on the brain back in 2011 and was rushed to the Accident and Emergency Department of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, the Defendant. Mrs A was diagnosed with having an Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) which required urgent surgery to repair.

Risks of major brain injury were explained to Mrs A and she enquired whether she could undergo the surgery under local anaesthetic, however, due to the sensitive nature of the operation, Mrs A was required to remain perfectly still which could only be achieved by administering a general anaesthetic.

Mid-way through the operation, Mrs A awoke from the anaesthetic and became aware of a great pressure in the side of her head. She then started to move and coughed whilst the surgeon was undertaking a procedure within the blood vessels of her brain. Emergency measures where then taken to minimise the damage but Mrs A was left with permanent injuries such as epilepsy, memory loss, reduced sight, a left sided hemianopia (loss of the left side of her visual field), reduced power on the left-hand side and PTSD.

The Defendant admitted liability at an early stage and the claim then progressed on the basis of valuing Mrs A’s losses and ensuring she received all the care, equipment and support she would need for the rest of her life. Settlement was reached via mediation in the sum of £600,000 lump sum together with a yearly figure of £20,000. This yearly sum will be paid out every year to Mrs A for the rest of life and will increase or reduce with the rate of care costs inflation. This ensures that even with the rising costs of private care, she can always afford the cost of the services she requires daily to help her lead as normal life as possible.


Anaesthetic block applied to wrong side of body

Mrs K, a 55 year old lady, attended Cannock Chase Hospital (which comes under the auspices of The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust) in June 2017 for elective surgery on her right ankle.

Mrs K was consented and marked for a right-sided operation.

Whilst Mrs K was being prepared for surgery, the Consultant Anaesthetist was distracted between the block check and actually applying the block because of an unnecessary conversation with a colleague. Thus, the “stop before you block” check did not take place immediately before the block.

When the regional anaesthetic block was eventually undertaken some minutes after the check, the mark on the correct side was obscured by a blanket which caused the Consultant Anaesthetist to block the wrong side.

Hence, Mrs K’s left ankle was blocked rather than her right ankle.

As a result of the incident, Mrs K remained in hospital for two additional days thereby missing her son’s eighteen birthday party and college summer ball.

Mrs K was unable to weight bear on her left foot when she was discharged from hospital and was issued with a pair of crutches.

Wolferstans were pleased to act for Mrs K in this clinical negligence matter and obtained a full admission of liability. The case settled for £1,500, plus payment of Mrs K’s legal costs.

Damages of £45,000 awarded for anaesthetic awareness during caesarean section

Ms D went into labour on 10 August 2010 and visited the Milton Keynes Hospital (Milton Keynes Hospital NHs Foundation Trust) 3-4am. She was examined and advised to go home as she was only 1cm dilated at this time.

Ms Down returned to the hospital later that night where she was admitted and an examination performed which revealed she was now 4cm dilated.

After this time Ms D was examined by a midwife who advised she was fully dilated and to begin pushing. Ms D then pushed for over an hour during which time she lost a significant amount of blood. After pushing for a few minutes Ms D felt something was wrong but despite expressing her concerns to the midwife was reassured.

After an hour of pushing Ms D was advised that she was not progressing as expected and that they were unable to identify whether her waters had broken. Ms D assured them that her waters had broken earlier that day and on a further examination Ms D was then informed that she was not fully dilated. Ms D was told that her cervix was now extremely swollen as she had been pushing when not fully dilated and as a result was unlikely to dilate any further.

Despite this Ms D was then placed on hormone drugs to induce contractions for 6-7 hours and at this time was administered an epidural.

After 7 hours Ms D was re examined and advised that she had not dilated any further. The midwives then advised they wished to break her waters and encourage a natural birth. However, the baby subsequently became distressed and Ms D was taken to theatre for a caesarean section although she had to wait 5 hours before surgery was performed.

During this time Ms D’s epidural was topped up on four or five occasions. After this the midwife refused to top it up further, instead advising that Ms D would receive a spinal block in theatre.

By the time Ms D was taken to theatre the epidural had worn off on her stomach and she could feel every contraction, although her legs and feet were still numb.

Ms D was given a spinal block and then asked if she could feel her toes. She advised she couldn’t but felt this was because the epidural was still effective.

On performing the caesarean section Ms D experienced extreme pain and advised the surgeon she could feel the incision he was making. It was not until the baby had been delivered and Ms D was being stitched up that the surgeon appreciated she was in severe pain and a general anaesthetic was administered.

Wolferstans investigated this matter further and submitted our allegations of negligence to the Defendant Hospital. The Defendant completed denied all liability following which we submitted an offer in settlement of Ms D’s claim. We were ultimately able to agree the sum of £45,000.00 in full and final settlement for the pain Ms D experienced and the psychiatric injury she suffered as a result of this traumatic experience. The claim was advanced in relation to the pain and psychiatric injury sustained not only as a result of the anaesthetic awareness during the labour but also as a result of the delay in performing the caesarean section.


Appendicitis


Delay in Diagnosing Appendicitis

On 1 September 2015 Mr H began to experience intermittent abdominal pains and abdominal cramping.

Mr H’s symptoms got worse and he developed a constant abdominal pain with severe pain coming and going in waves. Mr H experienced a reduced appetite. On 3 September 2015, Mr H contacted his GP who advised a watch and wait approach.

Mr H was noted to be in significant pain rating it 8/10. Mr H’s pain continued and he vomited that evening three times and the vomit was brown in colour. Mr H’s pain increased again and he attended his GP surgery on 4 September 2015 for an emergency appointment.

Mr H was seen by the GP who again advised a watch and wait approach and suggested that if Mr H’s symptoms worsen he should call 111 or visit the Accident and Emergency department at Derriford Hospital. Mr H was prescribed Co-codamol to take.

Mr H remained in pain and on 7 September 2015, he contacted the Devon Doctors Group out-of-hours GP service at 18:38. Mr H was then attended by an ambulance that evening.

Mr H’s temperature was recorded as 38.5. It was recorded that Mr H had not been eating and had lost weight, his diarrhoea had continued and he was in severe abdominal pain.

The medical record entry from the Devon Doctors Group noted:

“Important new guidelines show that patients with severe abdominal pain always need urgent blood tests and often an x-ray, ultrasound or a CT scan. We can’t do this at your home or in our treatment centre… so you need to go to hospital or see own GP.”

Mr H then attended the Accident and Emergency Department at Derriford Hospital on 7 September 2015. Mr H was seen at triage initially. Mr H was noted to have abnormal observations such as a raised temperature. Blood tests were taken and the doctor noted that Mr H had increased pain radiating to his back and was “unable to straighten”. A differential diagnosis was made of appendicitis or gastroenteritis.

Mr H was admitted to the Surgical Assessment Unit but was then sent home later that day without treatment.

Mr H remained in pain and became increasingly weak, unable to move and struggling to eat and drink.

5 days later Mr H presented once again at the hospital and a CT scan demonstrated a ruptured appendix, intra-abdominal sepsis and septic shock which required immediate and extensive surgical treatment.

Mr H instructed Wolferstans to investigate the treatment that was given and we obtained independent expert evidence from both a General Practitioner and General Surgeon in support of the claim in respect of both breach of duty of care and causation of injury. Allegations of negligence were put to both the treating GP and the Trust with both potential defendants strongly denying that any breach of duty occurred. Despite this denial Wolferstans were able to secure financial compensation from Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and Mr H was very pleased with the outcome.


Back and Spinal Injury


Delaying Diagnosing Spinal Abscess

£300,000 recovered due to a delay diagnosing spinal abscess

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mr X who asked us to investigate a claim against the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust after a delay in diagnosis of a spinal abscess left him with permanent neurological injuries.

Mr X presented to his GP in December 2007 with pain in his neck. He was diagnosed with cervicalgia and prescribed strong painkillers.

The pain persisted and Mr X remained under the care of his GP, physiotherapists and the pain management clinic until he was referred eventually referred to a Consultant Neurosurgeon in July 2010 for further investigation. Following various scans Mr X was diagnosed with an osteoid osteoma of the cervical spine and it was agreed that it would be appropriate to proceed with surgery.

Surgery took place on 5 February 2010 and he was discharged home on 10 February.

On 19 February Mr X was admitted to hospital as an emergency having reduced movement in his neck and shooting pain up his neck when weight bearing. It was initially suspected that Mr X was suffering from an infection and he was therefore referred for an MRI scan to exclude a bone graft infection and he was commenced on antibiotic therapy.

On 23 February 2010 Mr X’s pain increased and he developed paraesthesia in his hands. By 25 February the paraesthesia had progressed to his lower limbs and his pain was severe. Arrangements were made for an MRI scan to be conducted of the cervical spine which revealed an abscess that was compressing the spinal cord.

Mr X was taken to theatre as an emergency and the abscess was drained. He was initially admitted to the Critical Care Unit before eventually being discharged home on 13 March 2010. M X continues to experience paraesthesia in his hands and fingers.

Wolferstans investigated the claim but Defendant Trust denied liability. Court proceedings were issued and trial was listed.

During the course of the investigation the Defendant Trust initially made an offer of £150,000 which was rejected by the Claimant. Further negotiations took place and the claim was ultimately settled in the sum of £300,000.


Delay in Referral by GP for Spinal Compression

Mr T, aged 69 fell over in his garden and landed on his left hand. Shortly after he started to develop a pins and needs sensation in his right hand. This developed to tiredness, stiffness and becoming unsteady on his feet. Mr T saw his GP as his symptoms were not improving and he grew concerned. The Defendant, GP dismissed the situation as temporary and assured this was not a cause for concern.

Mr T had no improvements and returned to his GP on a number of occasions however, 5 months later, his condition remained unchanged. A home visit was requested and this occasion an GP attended and assessed Mr T. The GP recommended a neurological referral to determine the cause of his reduced function. Following an MRI scan prior to the neurological appointment, Mr T was advised that he was suffering from a significant spinal cord compression in his neck. Urgent surgery was undertaken to help alleviate the pressure on Mr T’s cord, but he was left with permanent mobility and balance restrictions as well as a loss of function in his hands.

Wolferstans agreed to take on Mr T’s case on a “no win no fee” basis to investigate the care provided by the GP and attempt to establish whether an earlier referral should have been made and if so, would this have created a better outcome for Mr T.

When Mr T’s case was properly investigated and supporting evidence obtained, our findings were communicated to the GP’s representatives who in turn admitted liability. A settlement was agreed in the sum of £150,000 for the pain and suffering Mr T experienced, as well as payments for the future care that Mr T will require due to his injuries.


Delay in Diagnosing Spinal Cord Compression

£750,000 recovered due to delay in diagnosis of spinal cord compression

Wolferstans pursued a claim for Mrs X who asked us to investigate a claim against her GP, after she was left paralysed as a result of a delay diagnosing a spinal cord compression.

Mrs X underwent right knee arthroscopy in September 2010 and approximately one week post operatively she started to experience pins and needles in her left arm. As a result, she presented to her GP and was diagnosed with trapped brachial neuritis for which she was prescribed pain killers.

On 17 November 2010 Mrs X experienced excruciating pain in the back of her neck upon standing. The pain persisted for the remainder of the day and she therefore contacted her GP by telephone the following day. Her GP did not request attendance at the practice and simply dealt with Mrs X’s symptoms over the telephone.

Mrs X’s condition continued to cause her severe pain so she arranged to see her GP on 19 November 2010. Mrs X’s husband had to assist her to the practice as the pain caused her difficulty walking. She was unable to move her neck and pain radiated down her back. She complained of leg weakness and a feeling as though her legs could not support her body weight. The GP assessed Mrs X but failed to note a combination of neck pain, upper limb paraesthesia and gait disturbance which could have suggested the possibility of spinal cord compression. Mrs X was not referred for further investigation on this occasion and her condition was allowed to continue to deteriorate.

She returned to her GP practice on 22 November where she was diagnosed with a trapped nerve and was referred for physiotherapy.

Mrs X remained in severe pain and developed pins and needles down her left arm. She returned to see the GP on 26 November who documented ‘shockwaves when coughing or sneezing’. Despite Mrs X’s presentation of neck pain, bilateral sensory changes and gait disturbance the GP failed to undertake a neurological examination and failed to refer Mrs X to hospital as an emergency.

On 5 December 2010 Mrs X woke to find she was unable to feel anything from the waist down and was unable to move her legs. She was immediately admitted to hospital where investigations revealed spinal cord compression. Mrs X underwent cervical discectomy with evacuation of a para-spinal abscess but sadly she was left severely paralyzed as a result of her injury.

Mrs X continues to have no sensation from below the waist and has very limited movement in her lower limbs. She is completely wheelchair dependant and her husband is now her full time carer.

Wolferstans investigated Mrs X’s claim and eventually Court proceedings were issued and served against the Defendant who strongly denied liability throughout the duration of the claim.

However Wolferstans continued to pursue the claim until the Defendant ultimately agreed to settle for the

sum of £750,000.


Delay in Diagnosing Spinal Haematoma

£100,000 awarded for a delay in diagnosing a spinal haematoma

The Claimant, Mrs C, was 72 years old at the date of her medical treatment. She underwent surgery to her small bowel and post-operatively she was given an epidural for pain relief. Mrs C had a significant history of back pain and her post-operative complaints of back pain were attributed to this. In fact, she developed a spinal haematoma which was not diagnosed for some time before it was surgically evacuated. As a result, Mrs suffered permanent neurological complications. These were categorised as Paraparesis Asia Grade D. Mrs C;s mobility was significantly affected.

The Defendant admitted a minor delay in diagnosing the spinal haematoma but contended that there was no causation of injury.

Mrs C had significant pre-existing co-morbidities. In May 2007 she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, for which she was treated and was in remission. Sadly, it re-occurred and Mrs C died on 6 March 2010. Expert evidence was obtained which confirmed that the death could not be connected to the alleged negligent treatment.

As a result, the claim related to five years of pain, suffering and loss of amenity and the special damage claim.

An initial letter of claim was written prior to medical expert evidence being received, on the basis of the content of the Defendant’s Critical Incident Report. However, it was not accepted by the Defendant and no Letter of Response was provided.

After Court proceedings were commenced and the proceedings served, the Defendant sought an extension of time for service of the Defence. However, following Mrs C’s death and the issue of a Grant of Probate, the proceedings were amended, appointing the deceased’s husband to act as the Claimant, it was agreed that the proceedings should be stayed to enable the parties to see whether it was possible to negotiate a settlement of the claim, as the value of the claim had substantially reduced.

The Defendant argued that a significant proportion of the care which the deceased had received throughout the five year period to the date of her death related to her pre-existing co-morbidities and her cancer.

The claim was settled for £100,000.


Birth Injuries


Skull Fracture at Birth and Psychiatric Injuries

£33,000 recovered for fracture sustained at time of delivery and psychiatric injuries

Wolferstans pursued claims on behalf of Baby X and each of her parents against the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust after Baby X sustained a ping pong fracture to her skull at the time of her birth and her parents suffered a psychiatric injury as a result of witnessing the distressing circumstances of her birth.

Ms X’s waters ruptured spontaneously at home on the evening of 7 February 2013 and she began to experience frequent contractions resulting in her attending Derriford Hospital. Her contractions were so strong she feared her daughter would be born in advance of reaching the hospital.

Once at hospital Ms X was immediately transferred to triage where she was examined by a midwife who performed an initial assessment and deemed Ms X to be in early labour, suggesting it was likely to be a significant time before the baby was born. Ms X experienced extreme pain with each contraction and, as such, the midwife recommended a bath but within a very short period of time Ms X advised that she felt pressure and a strong desire to push. The midwife failed to perform a further examination and reiterated that she was a long way off delivery. Instead Ms X was asked to return to her bed in triage.

Ms X followed the advice of the midwife but upon reaching the bed she felt a very strong contraction, causing her to bend forwards on to the bed. Ms X then promptly delivered Baby X from standing height onto the floor of the triage unit.

Baby X was taken to Transitional Care, following which she was subsequently diagnosed with a ping pong fracture to her skull. Ms X and her partner were also affected mentally having witnessed such a traumatic and distressing delivery and fearing for their baby’s life. Thankfully Baby X suffered no long term consequences as a result of the fracture at birth.

Wolferstans investigated each of their claims and, after receiving supportive independent medical expert evidence, proceeded to negotiate settlement with the Defendant Trust.

Baby X was ultimately awarded £8,000 for her injury. As a result of witnessing the traumatic birth, Ms X was awarded £20,000 and her partner was awarded £5,000.


Erbs Palsy Injury Caused by Shoulder Dystocia

Prior to Mr H’s delivery, his mother was booked into the Defendant, Royal United Hospital for an induction of labour due to their concerns of his mother’s high blood pressure. Upon admission, induction of labour was due to take place the next day. It was known that Mr H was going to be a large baby and the delivery was expected to be difficult.

Mr H’s delivery as anticipated was difficult and the doctors were unable to safely release his shoulders from his mother pelvis. Various techniques and equipment were used to release the shoulder, however, at an early stage concerns were expressed that Mr H had right Erbs Palsy secondary to shoulder dystocia.

Mr H’s mother contacted Wolferstans as she was aware there were guidelines to assist the delivery of larger babies and the risk of complications are increased. As we have specialist birth injury solicitors, it was evident by Mr H’s shoulder dystocia and subsequent permanent restrictions that had impacted him during his childhood and into adulthood, that this was case which should be taken on and investigated to its fullest degree.

Expert evidence was obtained to comment upon Mr H’s delivery and whether the correct procedures and guidelines were adopted to avoid the risk of this birthing injury. Our experts identified a number of failings, which had contributed towards overall outcome.

Our evidence was presented to the Defendant Trust for their comment who denied liability, raising the common argument of maternal propulsion. As no compromise could be reached with the Defendant, we had to issue court proceedings. The strength of conviction in our case pushed the claim only months from trial whereby the Defendant agreed to a round table meeting to discuss a possibility of settlement. Happily an agreement was reached in the sum of £200,000 to compensate Mr H for what will be a life long injury caused by poor management at birth which could have been avoided.


Brain and Head Injury


Hypoxic Injury at Birth Resulting in Cerebral Palsy

£6.5 million awarded for the brain injury caused at birth

Wolferstans were instructed by B’s parents following allegations of the negligent mismanagement of the Claimant’s birth at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. It was alleged that an avoidable delay in the Claimant’s delivery resulted in the Claimant experiencing a period of oxygen deprivation which caused him to suffer a severe and permanent brain injury.

The Claimant suffered from a severe form of athetoid cerebral palsy. He lacks any form of independent mobility, save that he can roll on the floor and would appear to move purposefully from A to B. His bulbar musculature is severely affected and he has no tongue or useful mouth movements. He has no speech. The Claimant has undergone a gastrostomy with fundoplication. He is exclusively tube fed and needs to have secretions in his mouth suctioned every 30 minutes. The Claimant’s intellectual capacity is unknown. It is believed that he may have some retained intelligence. The Claimant is totally dependent upon others for all aspects of his care and it is anticipated that this will continue throughout his life. The Claimant will not be capable of managing his affairs, for practical purposes, as an adult. He will never be capable of remunerative employment.

The Claimant was a minor and the claim was brought by his father as Litigation Friend.

Investigations were undertaken in relation to the liability issues relating to the claim. A number of experts’ reports were obtained, all of which were extremely supportive. A Letter of Claim was written and a Letter of Response of response received denying all allegations of negligence. Proceedings were issued and the Defence was served admitting liability although the Defendant denied that all of B’s disabilities were caused as a result of the negligence.

A detailed investigation was undertaken in relation to quantum. A Schedule of Loss with supporting evidence placed a value on the claim of over £10,000,000 and included a claim for the cost of future care on the basis that the Claimant would require two carers for 24 hours a day for the remainder of his life.

The Defendant did not agree with our assessment and offered a sum of £2,516,385 that we considered too low. The claim therefore proceeded to court where B was awarded £6,513,655.


Fall in Hospital Leading to a Bleed to the Brain and Death

We were instructed by our client in relation to the avoidable death of her husband after he fell whilst at hospital and subsequently died in April 2013. He had been given a life expectancy of between three and nine months if he had not suffered the fall.

Our client’s husband had been admitted to Derriford Hospital suffering from a chest infection and on-going kidney disease on a background of advanced cancer. During his admission he was not placed in a high observation ward and was denied the use of his walking frame. His illness resulted in confusion and disorientation.

On 5 April 2013, at approximately 11.20pm, whilst on the ward at Derriford Hospital he was seen by a healthcare assistant who watched him attempt to mobilise to use a toilet but did not assist or take any action. It was noted that he was subsequently found by another healthcare assistant in the toilet, having fallen. It had previously been noted that his mobility and stability were poor but a formal risk assessment had not been conducted. On the night of April 6, he fell again. His records stated that a loud crash was heard from the end of the corridor. It was also noted that he had left the bed and whilst he had been advised to use the call bell, due to his state of confusion was attempting to return to a different ward. The impact of the fall was noted as being severe, a medium grade incident and that there was a slight possibility of it recurring. Unfortunately he had hit his head during the fall.

A CT scan of his head showed a left subdural haematoma with a significant midline shift. Following a neurological review, it was decided that he was not suitable to undergo surgery to relieve the developing haematoma, or bleed to the brain. On April 10, 2013, sadly he suffered a fit overnight. A further CT scan showed fluid around the bleed on his brain. On April 12, our client was informed that treatment was no longer assisting and so it was withdrawn. Our client’s husband sadly died at 7.30pm that evening.

Our client brought an action against University Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust alleging that it was negligent in failing (i) to identify that X was at very high risk of falling; (ii) to carry out a risk assessment on admission or after the first fall or put a care plan in place; (iii) to ensure X was continually observed and supervised and equipment in place to assist in the event of a fall, in addition to being denied the use of a walking frame and failing to assess and establish X’s mental capacity and pre-existing conditions alongside the high risk of intracranial bleeding due to his medication.

Liability was admitted.

We achieved an out of court settlement for £28,500 total damages plus costs.


Brain Damage Caused By Waking Up During Surgery

Mrs A, suffered a bleed on the brain back in 2011 and was rushed to the Accident and Emergency Department of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, the Defendant. Mrs A was diagnosed with having an Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) which required urgent surgery to repair.

Risks of major brain injury were explained to Mrs A and she enquired whether she could undergo the surgery under local anaesthetic, however, due to the sensitive nature of the operation, Mrs A was required to remain perfectly still which could only be achieved by administering a general anaesthetic.

Mid-way through the operation, Mrs A awoke from the anaesthetic and became aware of a great pressure in the side of her head. She then started to move and coughed whilst the surgeon was undertaking a procedure within the blood vessels of her brain. Emergency measures where then taken to minimise the damage but Mrs A was left with permanent injuries such as epilepsy, memory loss, reduced sight, a left sided hemianopia (loss of the left side of her visual field), reduced power on the left-hand side and PTSD.

The Defendant admitted liability at an early stage and the claim then progressed on the basis of valuing Mrs A’s losses and ensuring she received all the care, equipment and support she would need for the rest of her life. Settlement was reached via mediation in the sum of £600,000 lump sum together with a yearly figure of £20,000. This yearly sum will be paid out every year to Mrs A for the rest of life and will increase or reduce with the rate of care costs inflation. This ensures that even with the rising costs of private care, she can always afford the cost of the services she requires daily to help her lead as normal life as possible.


£750,000 Awarded for Brain Injury Caused at Birth

This clinical negligence claim centred around allegations of the negligent mismanagement of the Claimant’s birth at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. It was alleged that an avoidable delay in the Claimant’s delivery resulted in the Claimant experiencing a period of oxygen deprivation which caused him to suffer a severe and permanent brain injury.

The Claimant is permanently handicapped by a form of dystonic athetoid cerebral palsy which is asymmetrical with the right upper limb being most affected. He has a slow and clumsy gait and drags his right foot. He does not get the heel down well on the right side. He cannot balance on his right leg or hop on the right leg. Even on the left side he is unsteady. His right upper limb adopts a spastic posture all the time and movements are very clumsy. He is right had dominant but has learned to write with his left hand which is done is a slow, uncomfortable fashion. His speech is intelligible but with a definite dysarthria.

The Claimant was a minor and the claim was initially brought by his mother as Litigation Friend. Once the Claimant attained the age of majority the proceedings were transferred into the Claimant’s name.

Investigations were undertaken in relation to the liability issues relating to the claim. A number of experts’ reports were obtained, all of which were extremely supportive. The Defendant admitted liability at an early stage in the investigation.

A detailed investigation was undertaken in relation to quantum and following an extended period of negotiations the claim was settled on the basis of a conventional lump sum award of £750,000.


£250,000 in Compensation Awarded for a Fatal Brain Injury

Mrs B’s father, acting as Mrs B’s litigation friend, was pursuing this claim against Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust with another firm of solicitors. He was dissatisfied with the service he was receiving and did not feel they had the expertise to deal with the claim so sought advice from AvMA who recommended he contact Simon Parford at Wolferstans.

Wolferstans thereafter took over conduct of the claim.

Mrs B was 25 years old at the time of her admission to hospital. She was married and had 2 small children.

She was admitted to Hope Hospital for a VP shunt revision. There were subsequent problems with the operation of the shunt and she had to undergo three further operations within the space of two weeks. It was following the last procedure that Mrs B was not monitored properly and as a result she developed a significantly raised intracranial pressure which caused severe and permanent brain damage.

Mrs B remained in hospital for a further 16 months where she underwent numerous operations for shunt revisions but was eventually transferred to a rehabilitation unit. Mrs B was in a permanent vegetative state. Two years later she was discharged to a nursing home where she remained until her untimely death.

At the time of instructions, Mrs B was still alive. Investigations were undertaken and after receiving supportive evidence a letter of claim was sent to the Defendant Trust.

The Defendant Trust served their Letter of Response in which a complete admission in relation to breach of duty of care and causation of injury was given.

Mrs B sadly passed away following the admission of liability. Following notification of Mrs B’s death, the Defendant Trust put forward a part 36 offer for the sum of £250,000. Mrs B’s father accepted their offer on behalf of Mrs B’s two children.

£33.4 Million in Compensation Awarded for a Brain Injury Resulting from Kernicterus


Cerebral Palsy


£33.4 million in compensation awarded for a brain injury resulting from kernicterus

Wolferstans pursued a claim of behalf of AA, a minor, to investigate a claim for cerebral palsy resulting from kernicterus.

AA was the first child of both of his parents. AA was born four weeks prematurely by caesarean section. His mother was induced due to concerns about rising anti-D antibody titres.

AA’s mother’s blood group is O negative and as a result she was required to receive injections of anti-D at 29 and 34 weeks’ gestation.

AA was jaundice at birth which was diagnosed and initially treated. The jaundice developed into neo-natal hyperbilirubinemia which eventually resulted in the development of bilirubin encephalopathy.

AA was discharged on the basis that he had made a recovery and would be reviewed in 6 weeks at a routine clinic. His parents questioned this decision as they di not believe he was well and during the 24 hours following his discharge AA’s condition deteriorated. His parents rushed him to the Accident and Emergency Department the day after his discharge as he was totally unresponsive.

AA was admitted for emergency treatment for his jaundice. He was given a blood transfusion in an attempt to lower his excessively high bilirubin levels.

AA suffered brain damage as a result of kernicterus which resulted in the development of athetoid-dystonic cerebral palsy.

AA is now 13 years old and as a result of his injuries he has significant hearing loss, a motor disorder, and severe cognitive impairment. AA can walk but with a very lurching, unsteady gait and often falls. As a result he requires a single level property that is fully wheelchair accessible.

AA suffers with almost constant involuntary movements and no fine motor control. It is difficult to feed AA. He can chew and has limited finger feeding skills but is essentially fed by others. He needs to be dressed and undresses.

He can say very few single words and has limited play skills so needs constant attention.

AA has input from a multidisciplinary team, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy.

AA will never be able to live independently and will be dependant on 24 hour care for the remainder of his life.

Wolferstans undertook investigations into this claim and following extensive discussions with the Defendants, were able to agree a settlement of £33.4 million before trial.


Endocarditis


£14.5 million compensation awarded for the delay in diagnosing and treating Endocarditis

Miss B was born with a congenital heart condition known as ventricular septal defect and underwent cardiac surgery to correct this when she was only two years old. She recovered will form the surgery and thereafter she developed normally and loved a full and active life as a child and teenager. She did however require regular review at the cardiac clinic due to her having an underlying risk of developing complications including endocarditis as a result of her congenital condition.

Wolferstans were instructed by Miss B’s mother to investigate the circumstances surrounding the development of endocarditis as a complication of her heart condition at the age of 16 years. It was alleged there was a significant period, that of three months, where the endocarditis was not diagnosed and was therefore left untreated which resulted in Miss B developing a serious brain injury.

Although Miss B turned 18 during the course of the proceedings, due to her brain injury she lacked capacity and therefore her mother remained as litigation friend.

Supportive evidence was obtained during our initial investigations however the Defendant’s denied liability.

Further investigation were undertaken in respect of liability and quantum and negotiations were commenced between Wolferstans and the Defendant Trust which were unsuccessful and a trial was listed to hear liability issues only.

Miss B’s mother was keen to settle the case so Wolferstans made a part 36 offer to settle the claim. Further negotiations ensued and an award of £14.5 million was agreed between the parties without any formal admission being made.



£4.25 million in compensation awarded for a brain injury resulting from kernicterus

Wolferstans were instructed to investigate a claim centred around allegations of the negligent mismanagement of the Claimant’s birth at St Mary’s Hospital, Portsmouth. It was alleged that an avoidable delay in the Claimant’s delivery resulted in the Claimant experiencing a period of oxygen deprivation which caused him to suffer a severe and permanent brain injury.

The Claimant suffered from quadriplegic cerebral palsy with increased muscle tone and muscle spasms affecting all four limbs. There was also some bulbar involvement with tongue thrust and mild dysarthria. He had significant disabilities and was very dependant on others for most activities of daily living. The Claimant had sparing of cognitive function and obtained some GCSEs.

Investigations were undertaken in relation to the liability issues relating to the claim. A number of experts’ reports were obtained, all of which were extremely supportive. A Letter of Claim was written and a Letter of Response of response received denying all allegations of negligence. Proceedings were issued and the Defence was served maintaining a denial of all aspects of breach of duty of care and causation of injury.

The case was listed for a split trial in relation to the liability issues only.

The Defendant eventually made some admissions and an application for an immediate interim payment of damages was made and an award obtained to enable the Claimant to employ a Case Manager and to put in place an initial care package. In addition a further interim payment was obtained in the sum of £600,000 which enabled the Claimant to purchase and adapt a suitable property.

A detailed investigation of quantum was undertaken.

In February 2007 the Defendant’s indicated a willingness to enter into negotiations and a Round Table Meeting was held where the Defendant made a number of alternative offers at this meeting in relation to settlement of the Claimant’s claim.

The case was eventually settled on the basis of the Claimant’s acceptance of a Defendant Part 36 Offer in the sum of £4,250,000.


£3.5 million awarded for brain injury caused at birth

This clinical negligence claim centred around allegations of the negligent mismanagement of the Claimant’s birth at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth on 21.12.1996. The Claimant was born by emergency caesarean section following dehiscence of his mother’s uterine scar from a previous caesarean section. It was alleged that an avoidable delay in the Claimant’s delivery resulted in the Claimant experiencing a period of oxygen deprivation which caused him to suffer a severe and permanent brain injury.

The Claimant suffered from a mixed spastic and athetoid cerebral palsy. He was severely profoundly physically disabled but had complete retained intelligence and attended a mainstream state school.

The Claimant was a minor and the claim was brought by his mother as Litigation Friend.

Investigations were undertaken in relation to the liability issues relating to the claim. A number of experts’ reports were obtained, all of which were extremely supportive. A Letter of Claim was written and a Letter of Response of response received denying all allegations of negligence. Proceedings were issued and a Defence was served admitting breach of duty of care and causation of injury, although not the extent of the Claimant’s disabilities and losses.

An application for an interim payment of damages was made. The initial interim payment was obtained to provide for the cost of case management and to establish an initial care regime. A second interim payment of damages was obtained to enable a suitable alternative property to be purchased and adapted, to continue to provide for the costs of case management and care and further to provide for the cost of equipment and suitable transport.

A detailed investigation was undertaken in relation to quantum and an extended period of negotiations with the Defendant was undertaken in an attempt to settle the claim without the need to go to court. The Defendant made proposals to settle the claim on the basis of a conventional lump sum award of £3,500,000. This offer was accepted subject to an investigation of a settlement on an alternative structured settlement basis. Independent financial advice was obtained following which the Claimant’s Litigation Friend provided instructions to settle the case on the basis of a structured settlement.

The approval of the Court and the Court of Protection was obtained to the proposed terms of settlement, to which the Defendant agreed.


£2.5 Million Awarded for Brain Injury Caused at Birth

Wolferstans were instructed to investigate allegations of the negligent mismanagement of the Claimant’s birth at Freedom Fields Hospital in Plymouth on 06.01.1992. It was alleged that an avoidable delay in the Claimant’s delivery resulted in the Claimant experiencing a significant period of chronic partial hypoxic ischaemia which caused her to suffer a severe and permanent brain injury.

The Claimant had spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. She was physically disabled although she had independent mobility. She had severe learning difficulties and behavioural problems.

The Claimant was a patient of the Court of Protection and the claim was brought by her mother as Litigation Friend.

Investigations were undertaken into breach of duty of care and causation of injury. The nature of the Claimant’s disabilities were unusual in so much as her physical disabilities were markedly asymmetrical. Experts’ reports were obtained which were supportive, although further investigations and consideration to the particular issues involved had to be given by the experts before Counsel would advise that the claim was sufficiently meritorious to proceed.

A Letter of Claim was eventually written and a Letter of Response received denying all allegations of breach of duty of care and causation of injury.

Proceedings were issued and the Defence again denied all allegations of breach of duty of care and causation of injury. The case was listed for a split trial in relation to the liability issues only, at the Royal Courts of Justice on 13.10.2003.

The Defendant continued to deny all allegations of breach of duty of care and causation of injury throughout. The Claimant proposed and arranged a round table conference at which for the first time the Defendant made an offer to settle the claim in the sum of £600,000. The Claimant indicated that she would not be prepared to settle for a monetary sum.

An application for an immediate interim payment of damages was made and an award obtained to enable the Claimant to employ a Case Manager and to put in place an initial care package. In addition, the interim payment was to be used to assist in deferring the costs of adaptions which were already being undertaken to the Claimant’s home to provide for her needs. A subsequent interim payment was obtained to cover these ongoing costs and also to provide for suitable transport and equipment.

A detailed investigation of quantum was undertaken. The Claimant served a Schedule of Loss with supporting evidence but again the Defendant continued to dispute the value of the Claimant’s claim and no constructive negotiations were entered into until very shortly before the Assessment of Damages Hearing which had been listed on 18.10.2004.

The case was eventually settled on the basis of the Claimant’s acceptance of a Defendant Part 36 Offer in the sum of £2,500,000.


Failure to Appropriately Diagnose and Treat Cerebral Vasculitis.

£2.5 million in compensation for the failure to appropriately diagnose and treat cerebral vasculitis.

In May 2005, our client, Mrs A, who was 38 years old, had a viral illness which she recovered from. In November 2005, Mrs A attended her GP with a low mood, panic attacks, weight loss, aches and nausea. There was a past history of viral fatigue and the GP put her symptoms down to a recurrent depressive episode.

Mrs A’s headaches continued and she developed pain behind her eyes so in January 2006 she was referred to a Consultant ENT Surgeon. At this appointment it was documented that Mrs A had lost her sense of smell and taste and she reported a 3-month history of headaches and pain in her top teeth, beneath both eyes and around her frontal sinuses.

Mrs A started experiencing spasms in her left leg, and later her right leg, that were increasing frequently and developed a generalized tremor. She complained of loss of bladder sensation and numbness f the perineum, was suffering from global headaches and noticed a slight droopiness of her left eyelid. As a result was referred to a Consultant Neurologist who undertook further investigations on 16 February 2006 when she was admitted to hospital for an MRI scan of her spine and a CT scan of her head, neither of which revealed any abnormality.

Mrs A developed a tremor which worsened so was re-referred to the Neurology service on 6 April 2006 and underwent a cranial MRI scan on 23 August 2006 which was suggestive of MS but the results were not reviewed as they had been lost in the system and therefore this diagnosis was not made.

In July 2006 Mrs A reported memory problems and was referred to a memory clinic in September 2006. In addition to her memory problems she was displaying uncharacteristic aggression and became very safety conscious. Her psychological state deteriorated further and she became aggressive and irrational.

Mrs A’s physical and psychological symptoms were worsening, and Mrs A’s mobility was affected.

Mrs A was seen privately in November 2006 following the deterioration of her physical and psychological wellbeing. An MRI conducted at the time was thought to indicate demyelination and was suggestive of MS.

Mrs A was sectioned in December 2006 due to her becoming increasingly agitated and Mrs A was diagnosed with Cerebral Vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessel wall involving the brain and occasionally the spinal cord.

Following treatment, the section was lifted and Mrs A returned to her parents home to reside there. Due to the delay in treatment, Mrs A now suffers sever mobility problems, urinary dysfunction and neuropsychological deficits characterised by impaired memory function.

Mrs A instructed Wolferstans to investigate a claim as she believed had the scan undertaken in August 2006 been reviewed, she would have received earlier treatment and would not have deteriorated and suffered the ongoing problems she now has to live with.

Wolferstans undertook investigations into the claim following which we sent a Letter of Claim to the Defendant setting out our allegations of negligence and we were able to agree a settlement of £2.5 million.

The Chief Executive of the Defendant Trust wrote Mrs A a letter of apology following the conclusion of the claim.

Negligent post-operative care following surgery to remove a brain tumour causing hydrocephalus

£1.8 million in compensation awarded for negligent post-operative care following surgery to remove a brain tumour causing hydrocephalus

Mr A was diagnosed with a pituitary tumour which was causing hydrocephalus, a build up of pressure in the head. He subsequently underwent surgery, a transsphenoidal hyposphectomy, at Derriford Hospital to treat and remove the tumour. Although the surgery was successful, Mr A developed post-operative complications and required intubation and was transferred to intensive care. As a result of a failure to deal with the post-operative complications appropriately, Mr A sustained a severe brain injury. This resulted in him requiring 24 hour care which he will continue to need for the remainder of his life. He has been cared for in private nursing homes since his original discharge from hospital.

We were instructed by Mr A’s daughter, to investigate a medical negligence claim against University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust.

Following initial investigations, we obtained a number of supportive reports so commenced court proceedings. A defence was served containing a full admission of liability.

Wolferstans therefore undertook investigations in relation to quantum and following negotiations with the defendant’s, a settlement was agreed at a capitalised value of £1.8 million.


Delay in diagnosis of subarachnoid haemorrhage

In November 2006, Mr P was at work when he felt dizzy and collapsed to the floor. He thought that he had banged his head and experienced a period of unconsciousness and had a severe pain in his head, so attended the duty doctor at work. An ambulance was called and Mr P was taken to Accident and Emergency at Derriford Hospital, in Plymouth.

During an examination with a doctor, Mr P began to vomit. He was advised that he may be suffering with either viral meningitis or a brain haemorrhage and was provided with some pain medication. A while later, Mr P was advised he could go home as he was simply suffering with a viral infection. No further tests or examinations were carried out.

Mr P remained in severe pain throughout the day and over the weekend. Three days later, Mr P presented to his GP who confirmed he was suffering with viral meningitis and no further action was taken.

A further four days later, Mr P experienced a popping sensation in his eye and he began to feel dizzy. A GP attended Mr P at home and changed his medication but no further action was taken. Unfortunately Mr P continued to deteriorate and became disorientated and unable to recognise his family. Mr P subsequently attended hospital where he was diagnose with a subarachnoid haemorrhage and this was coiled.

Sadly, Mr P endured a long and slow recovery. He suffered with short term memory loss and had to learn to speak and to walk again. His eyesight was affected and he retired due to his health.

Mr P was later diagnosed with an organic personality disorder and continued to suffer with short term memory loss.

Mr P instructed Wolferstans, who agreed to investigate and pursue a claim against Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and multiple GP’s from his local surgery. During the investigation, Wolferstans assessed Mr P’s future care needs which had been drastically altered as a result of the delay in his receiving treatment for the subarachnoid haemorrhage. It was noted that Mr P would require significant daily care, which would increase as he aged and settlement was agreed in the sum of £560,000 before trial took place.


Brain Tumour


£20,000 Recovered After a Delayed Diagnosis of a Tumour Resulted in Tinnitus

Wolferstans were instructed to investigate a claim on behalf of Mr X against the University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust after he discovered there had been a delay in diagnosis of a brain tumour.

Mr X initially presented to her GP in April 2013 with a history of headaches in the occipital-parietal area. He was initially diagnosed with migraines but when the headaches persisted Mr X was duly referred for a CT scan, which took place in January 2014.

The scan was reported by a Consultant Neuroradiologist at Derriford Hospital as normal and therefore no further action was taken in this regard. Instead Mr X was referred to ENT for further investigations, all to no avail.

By June 2014 Mr X had developed tinnitus in his left ear and paraesthesia on the left side of his tongue and lips. As a result, his GP referred him for an MRI scan in August 2014 which revealed a large left sided vestibular schwannoma.

Consultant Neurosurgeons advised that there was no other treatment other than surgical re-section with associated risks of hearing loss and paralysis on the left side of Mr X’s face. Instead Mr X undertook his own research and ultimately underwent stereotactic radiotherapy which was successful in stopping the tumour’s growth.

However, Mr X continues to experience left sided tinnitus and paraesthesia.

Wolferstans investigated Mr X’s claim and obtained expert evidence which confirmed that the CT scan performed in January 2014 had been reported incorrectly as normal when, in fact, the tumour was evident at that time and therefore could have been diagnosed earlier, before Mr X developed tinnitus and paraesthesia. The Defendant Trust initially admitted breach of duty of care but denied causation of injury in their Letter of Response.

However, Wolferstans continued to investigate the claim and made a time-limited offer in the sum of £20,000, which was accepted by the Defendant.


£1.8 Million In Compensation Awarded For Negligent Post-Operative Care Following Surgery To Remove A Brain Tumour Causing Hydrocephalus

Mr A was diagnosed with a pituitary tumour which was causing hydrocephalus, a build up of pressure in the head. He subsequently underwent surgery, a transsphenoidal hyposphectomy, at Derriford Hospital to treat and remove the tumour. Although the surgery was successful, Mr A developed post-operative complications and required intubation and was transferred to intensive care. As a result of a failure to deal with the post-operative complications appropriately, Mr A sustained a severe brain injury. This resulted in him requiring 24 hour care which he will continue to need for the remainder of his life. He has been cared for in private nursing homes since his original discharge from hospital.

We were instructed by Mr A’s daughter, to investigate a medical negligence claim against University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust.

Following initial investigations, we obtained a number of supportive reports so commenced court proceedings. A defence was served containing a full admission of liability.

Wolferstans therefore undertook investigations in relation to quantum and following negotiations with the defendant’s, a settlement was agreed at a capitalised value of £1.8 million.


Cancer and Tumours


Misinterpretation Of Radiology Leading To Delay In Diagnosis Of Terminal Lung Cancer

We were initially instructed by Mrs S, but sadly she died during the process of her claim and Mr S took over conduct.

Mrs S was seen by her Practice Nurse at her GP practice on 21 January 2015 after she started to suffer from catarrh and specks of blood. As she was an ex-smoker, the Practice Nurse referred her to her GP.

Mrs S was seen by he GP on 3 February 2015, when he recorded that she had specks of blood in her sputum and was a heavy smoker. She was referred for a chest x-ray.

A chest x-ray was performed at Cumberland Infirmary on 11 February 2015 and was reported that the lungs were clear. This was reported back to Mrs S’s GP.

Mrs S’s symptoms persisted and she was seen by another GP on 7 January 2016, as she was still suffering from a tickly cough, catarrh, clearing of her throat worse when she was asleep.

The symptoms did not improve and she continued to suffer from bleeding when she coughed. On 11 March 2016 her GP referred her under the 2 week cancer path way for potential lung cancer.

Mrs S had a CT scan on 21 March 2016 which reported a large soft tissue mass measuring 2.6cm in diameter in the right lung. This had lobulated and an area had become necrotic with thickening of the wall lining. These appeared malignant and the right hilar nodes were present and significantly enlarged. There was also lesions within her liver.

Mrs S was seen by her Respiratory Physician, on 29 March 2016. He confirmed that he thought there was a lesion in the right apex identified on the first chest x-ray which had not been reported. Her symptoms had advanced from there and she had been coughing up blood intermittently for the last year and has been given nasal sprays for that and for the last 6 months she has had some right anterior chest wall pain. In the last 2 weeks she had been a bit breathless on exertion. He explained that he was highly suspicious that Mrs S has underlying lung cancer and the tests we are arranging now are to confirm the diagnosis, to look for spread and to assess her fitness for any further treatment we might offer.

Mrs S underwent a bronchoscopy and endobronchial ultrasound guided lymph node biopsy (EBUS) on 1 April 2016. The tests revealed stage 111 adenocarcinoma of the lung and this was not curable. She underwent chemotherapy.

Mrs S’s chest phyisican reviewed the original x-ray with the Clinical Director for Radiology. Having reviewed the x-ray dated 11th February 2015 and the CT scan on the 21st March 2016 the CT clearly demonstrates a right pulmonary mass. The radiologist stated that on review there is a pulmonary nodule at the right lung apex but perception of this is complicated by the overlying anatomy. He submitted this case for review at the Radiology Discrepancy Meeting.

Mrs S completed her chemotherapy and received 12 fractions of palliative radiotherapy to the right lung on 19 September 2016 until 4 October 2016.

She was subsequently admitted on 12 October 2016 and had a superior vena caval stent inserted.

Mrs S was seen in the Oncology Clinic 2 February 2017 when it was noted that a revised CT scan was in keeping with partial response to treatment but with new pulmonary metastases in the left lung. It was noted that Mrs S had a bad taste in her mouth, pain in right chest and was losing weight.

The repeat CT scan was indicative of disease progression. On review 19 July 2017 it was noted that the CT scan of brain showed a new lobulated peripherally enhancing 41mm max diameter mass within the right occipital lobe with significant oedema.

Mrs S was offered palliative chemotherapy but declined in light of the chances of it prolonging her life or improving her life expectancy.

Sadly, Mrs S’s health deteriorated rapidly. She died at home 23 September 2017.

We instructed a radiologist and oncologist to advise on breach of duty and identified the following failures:

1. Failed to report the lesion in right upper lobe in the chest x-ray taken and reported on 3 February 2015;

2. Reported the chest x-ray as “The heart and mediastinal contours are normal and the lungs are clear”.

3. Delayed the diagnosis of the primary bronchial carcinoma until February 2016.

If Mrs S’s chest x-ray taken on 3 February 2015 had reported a lesion in the right upper lobe, on a balance of probabilities, this would have resulted in further investigation and a diagnosis of lung cancer in early 2015, approximately 12 months earlier than the actual diagnosis in February 2016.

If diagnosed 12 months earlier, Mrs S would have had pathological stage 2A disease (T1 N1) for which she would have undergone lobectomy and adjuvant chemotherapy.

Treatment would not have been curative and Mrs S would subsequently have developed recurrence requiring further chemotherapy and possibly radiotherapy. However, the Deceased would have had a better quality of life for two years and would have avoided superior vena caval obstruction and the need for a superior vena caval stent.

On the balance of probabilities, Mrs S would have lived for an additional two years as a consequence of earlier diagnosis and treatment.

The Defendant admitted liability, but only accepted a 1 year loss of life rather than the pleaded case of two years.

Mr S received £45,000.00 in settlement of the claim on behalf of the estate of his wife.


£15,000 Recovered For An Unnecessary Removal Of A Facial Lesion

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mrs X who asked us to investigate a claim against the North Bristol NHS Trust after undergoing an unnecessary excision of a lump from her nose.

In August 2013 Mrs X noticed a pimple type lesion on her nose which did resolve despite treating with creams. The lesion appeared to grow and, as a result, Mrs X presented to her GP who immediately fast-tracked her referral to the plastic surgery department at Frenchay Hospital due to concerns of possible basal cell carcinoma.

Mrs X was assessed in December 2013 and advised that it was unlikely to be a benign diagnosis and therefore the suspicion of basal cell carcinoma remained. Mrs X’s Consultant explained that the lesion needed to be excised and a full thickness skin graft would have to be performed from a donor site on the back of her neck. She questioned the decision to proceed immediately with surgery without performing a biopsy in the first instance but placed her faith in the Consultant’s advice.

Th lesion was excised with a 4mm margin down to the cartilage. Following surgery Mrs X was very unhappy with the appearance of her skin graft as it covered the majority of her nose.

Following excision Mrs X was advised that there was no sign of cancer or other malignancy and the lesion was, in fact, a follicular haematoma which was unexpected and she was promptly discharged from their care.

Mrs X maintained that if she had been informed at the outset of any possible alternative diagnosis other than a basal cell carcinoma she would not have proceeded with the operation as the lesion was significantly smaller and much easier to conceal with makeup than the scar she had been left with following surgery.

Wolferstans were instructed to investigate the claim and, upon receipt of supportive expert evidence, served a Letter of Claim on the Defendant. The Defendant denied liability and Court proceedings were issued and served upon the Defendant, following which the Defendant made a Part 36 offer in the sum of £15,000 which was accepted by Mrs X.


£2.8 million award for failure to detect osteosarcoma (bone tumour)

On 4 December 1999, Mrs SD attended hospital with a painful right knee having fallen from a ladder. An x-ray was taken and she was found to have a comminuted fracture, she underwent an operation the next day.

Unfortunately, x-rays taken after the operation indicated a worsening of the position. By February 2000, Mrs SD was in a cast brace and by April 2000 was suffering from increased pain and had a fixed flexion deformity. X-rays taken in May 2000 indicated a marked deformity of the right knee. By this time the Mrs SD’s mobility had decreased and her pain had increased.

In June 2004, Mrs SD had a further fall. In February 2005 it was decided that the metal work should be removed to check if the non-union and ongoing problems were due to infection. No infection was found but a benign giant cell tumour was diagnosed.

Between May 2005 and November 2007, Mrs SD underwent various operations on her knee and pelvis. In November 2007 it was confirmed that Mrs SD had a high grade osteosarcoma and she had five course of chemotherapy. In April 2008, Mrs SD underwent a right hemipelvectomy.

Mrs SD went on to develop secondary lung cancer and underwent a thoracotomy and removal of a mass from the right lung in May 2009.

Mrs SD’s previous solicitors had been unable to locate the x-rays from December 1999 which were central to the question of whether the tumour was present in 1999. Wolferstans located x-rays for Mrs SD from 1999-2005. These were subsequently reviewed by an orthopaedic surgeon who confirmed that there was clear evidence of the tumour in 1999.

Wolferstans submitted Particulars of Claim in May 2009 for a claim against Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Trust on the basis that if the tumour had been diagnosed in December 1999, Mrs SD would have been completely cured of her cancer and orthopaedic problems. Initially, the Defendant denied any breach of duty in their Defence. In June 2012 the Defendant admitted breach of duty and causation and the case proceeded to consider quantum.

Quantum reports were obtained from a variety of experts. The case proceeded to experts meetings and a round table following which settlement was reached. The settlement of approximately £2.8 million is a lump sum of £1,852,250 and annual payments for life f £25,000 increasing to £50,000 in 2021.


Case Study – Failure On Behalf Of A Paediatrician To Diagnose Phaeochromocytoma (Tumour Of The Adrenal Gland) Leading To A Period Of Extended PSLA

Miss R was aged 11 when she began to develop symptoms of headaches and profuse sweating and noticed that the skin on her legs and feet was unusually red. Her Mother took her to her General Practitioner for some advice, and she was reassured that she was probably fine and it was hormone related.

Miss R continued to experienced these symptoms and her Mother took her back to the General Practitioner for a second time. The GP conducted an examination and it was felt she might be suffering with an iron deficiency anaemia. She was prescribed iron tablets and a referral was sent to a Paediatric Consultant at the University Hospital of North Tees for further assistance.

Miss R was seen by the Consultant Paediatrician a few months later, who felt that she had some kind of virus and her symptoms were related to this. Her blood pressure was taken at this appointment and it was elevated but no further action was taken and she was discharged from the care of the hospital, back to her General Practitioner.

Unfortunately for Miss R, her symptoms did not disappear and got worse. She had begun to experience palpitations and had episodes of profuse sweating where she turned pale. Her hands begun to turn red and her skin looked dry. Miss R’s school had expressed serious concerns over her health and well being and her Mother took her back to the General Practitioner for help.

The GP who saw Miss R, took her blood pressure and noted that it was excessively elevated at around 145/105 and urgently referred her back to the Paediatrician at the University Hospital of North Tees.

Despite the urgency of the referral, Miss R was not seen until two months later, some 12 months after her symptoms had begun. When she was finally seen at the hospital, she was examined and her blood pressure taken. At this appointment it was recorded as 138/77. A second reading was taken which measured 120/85. Despite these incredibly high readings, no further action was taken and she was sent back to her GP, with advice to continue to monitor her blood pressure.

Miss R’s GP remained very concerned and after measuring her blood pressure for the following 4 weeks, so sent her to Accident and Emergency at the nearest hospital for investigation. Miss R was seen at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Newcastle who performed a scan and found evidence of lump on her adrenal gland.

Miss R was shortly thereafter diagnosed with Phaeochromocytoma and had urgent surgery to remove the tumour. Miss R recovered well from this operation and since being followed up there was no evidence of any adverse consequences to her overall health.

Miss R’s Mother spoke to Wolferstans because she felt the University Hospital of North Tees did not take her condition seriously and failed to diagnose her as suffering with Phaeochromocytoma. Wolferstans took on her case and instructed both a Paediatrician and Paediatric Nephrologist both of whom were critical of the care provided to Miss R.

Wolferstans investigated the claim and during the course of the investigation the Defendant admitted liability. Wolferstans were able to secure a settlement of £7,500 for Miss R.


Delay in Diagnosis of Malignant Melanoma

At age 30, Mr W attended his GP regarding a mole on the calf of his leg which caused him some concern. A referral was made to the Dermatology Department of Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust who became the Defendant. The Dermatologist examined Mr W and offer him reassurance that the mole was a benign ‘Spitz Naevus’ and nothing to cause concern.

A year later, Mr W returned to his GP because of the same mole which had ruptured and started to bleed. An urgent referral was made to a different Dermatology Department in Devon who immediately recognised and diagnosed Mr W with a malignant melanoma. Laboratory testing confirmed the diagnosis and identified the cancer had metastasised. Radical surgery was undertaken as well as radiology and chemotherapy but catastrophically, Mr W was given a terminal prognosis.

Mr W contacted Wolferstans and instructed us to investigate the events of his earlier Dermatological appointment and to attempt to negotiate compensation, not for him, but for his family. Unsurprisingly, once we obtained our evidence in support of the events, the Defendant admitted liability immediately. The difficulties lay in proving that with earlier treatment Mr W terminal prognosis could have been avoided. Expert oncology evidence was obtained to determine this element of the claim however, in the meantime, we were able to secure an interim payment in the sum of £60,000 for Mr W.

The Defendant Trust denied that earlier treatment would have cured his condition, however, a settlement agreement was reached in the sum of £475,000. This sum was to compensate Mr W for the pain and suffering caused by the Defendant, all equipment he will need at home as his condition deteriorates, help around the home which he would undertaken himself and full private care throughout his life.


£15,000 In Compensation Awarded For Failure To Diagnose Cancer

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mr M who asked us to investigate a claim concerning the treatment received by his wife who sadly passed away in August 2012.

Mrs M suffered from asthma and historically had a bout of bronchitis once a year.

Between 22 and 24 March 2011 Mrs M suffered a severe bout of bronchitis for which she was prescribed three courses of steroids and antibiotics and was eventually admitted to the Medical Assessment Unit at Derriford Hospital for treatment.

As part of the investigation into Mrs M’s symptoms she received a chest x ray during this time. She was not advised of the results of the x ray and was discharged from hospital after a few days.

In August 2011 Mrs M stumbled at home and attended the Accident and Emergency department at Derriford Hospital complaining of severe upper back pain and a further x ray was taken. She was advised that this was normal.

In September 2011 Mrs M’s GP undertook routine blood tests, the results of which suggested her body was not absorbing iron and she was prescribed iron tablets for a few weeks before being referred to Derriford Hospital for a CT scan of her abdomen, stomach pelvis and chest to rule out a small bleed.

In October 2011 Mrs M was informed by the hospital that x rays had identified a shadow on her right lung and she subsequently attended an appointment at the chest clinic on 25 October 2011.

At the appointment Mrs M was advised that she had lung cancer which had spread to the lymph nodes in her neck. She was also advised that the earlier x ray in March 2011 had identified this but it had not been reported.

Mrs M was subsequently advised that as the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes they could not operate and chemotherapy to improve her quality and longevity of life was the only option.

Sadly Mrs Middleton passed away on 20 August 2012.

Wolferstans undertook investigations into this claim following which we sent a Letter of Claim to Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust setting out our allegations of negligence. The Defendant did make some admissions in relation to the duty of care owed to Mrs M and we were subsequently able to enter into negotiations with them. We ultimately were able to agree a settlement of £15,000.00 to acknowledge the prolonged period of pain and suffering which Mrs M encountered as a result of the delay in diagnosing her condition.


£105,000 In Compensation Awarded For Failure To Diagnose Cervical Cancer

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mrs X who asked us to investigate a claim concerning a delay in diagnosing cervical cancer against Southmead Hospital.

In June 2004 Mrs X attended her GP surgery for a cervical smear. This was sent to a local Hospital. The slide was reported as negative but it was noted that there was an appearance of cervicitis and it was recommended that a repeat smear be undertaken in 12 months.

Mrs X subsequently attended her GP surgery and underwent a further cervical smear in June 2005 which was again sent to the same local hospital. The slide was again reported as negative and a further smear was recommended in 12 month’s time because of the previous borderline test.

Mrs X underwent a further smear in May 2006 which was reported as negative and as a result returned to three yearly screening tests.

In September 2009 Mrs X underwent a further cervical smear which was again reported as negative.

In 2012 Mrs X fell pregnant and as a result her routine smear test was delayed until May 2013.This slide was reported as showing abnormal cells and Mrs X subsequently underwent a colposcopy. A biopsy was undertaken at the same time and Mrs X was informed she had an invasive cancer of the cervix for which she underwent a hysterectomy. Fortunately Mrs X made a full recovery following the surgery.

Mrs X instructed Wolferstans to investigate a claim as she was concerned that the cancer was so extensive at the time of diagnosis. Wolferstans obtained copies of all of the previous smear tests and it was apparent that these had been reported incorrectly and that Mrs X should have undergone further investigation after each of the smear tests that had been performed. Had the smears been correctly reported in 2005, 2006, or 2009 and referral for colposcopy made on any of these three occasions it would have been possible to treat Mrs X’s cancer with less invasive treatment and she would have avoided the hysterectomy.

Wolferstans undertook investigations into this claim following which we sent a Letter of Claim to North Bristol NHS Trust, setting out our allegations of negligence. The Defendant made a full admission and we were able to agree a settlement of £105,000.00.


Delay In Diagnosing And Treating Skin Cancer

During 2008, Mr C noticed a small pink mark on his upper cheek which he found was more noticeable when his skin was cooler. This wasn’t causing him any problems although was noticed by his GP when attending the sick bay within the MOD.

In January 2011 Mr C noticed that the mark had opened and was occasionally weeping a clear fluid and a small amount of blood. His GP originally diagnosed him with Solar Keratosis, a common skin condition resulting from skin damaged over a number of years. Mr C was then referred to the dermatology department at Derriford Hospital.

Mr C was advised during his appointment that a biopsy would need to be taken to confirm any diagnosis. Mr C chased confirmation that this appointment had been booked but was not able to make contact with the hospital, despite numerous phone calls. By the start of 2012 Mr C still had not received and appointment and had moved with work, subsequently working in a hot climate once again.

The mark on his skin continued to grow and by April 2012 was approximately two cm in diameter and was constantly weeping. Mr C returned to his GP who refereed him back to the hospital. In June 2012 Mr C finally had his appointment and had a biopsy taken of the mark on his skin. By now it was approximately three cm in diameter and was weeping and causing discomfort.

Mr C had stitches in his the site where the biopsy had been taken and returned to his GP in August 2012 as these had come out and it had not healed. During this appointment Mr C was told that the biopsy results were back and that the lesion was benign. He was still urged to make a follow up appointment to discuss treatment of the lesion going forward.

Mr C had to continue to chase the hospital for his follow up appointment. When Mr C had his appointment at the hospital he was told that in fact he had ulcerated invasive basal cell carcinoma with an infiltrative growth pattern. Mr C was told that this would need to be removed and surgery was required. This was a shock to Mr C who complained at the time about the lack of treatment he had been given for his lesion. Mr C was then told that it appeared that he had ‘fallen into an administrative black hole’.

Mr C then sadly experienced yet more delays in having his surgery and the lesion became infected causing him yet more pain and discomfort. Mr C did not like leaving the house as the lesion was becoming so large that it was very noticeable. Mr C eventually had his surgery in February 2013 and all of the skin cancer was removed successfully. Mr C was however left with a large scar that runs from the corner of his eye back to his left ear.

In February 2015 Wolferstans secured £6,500 for Mr C in respect of his claim against Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.


£20,000 Recovered After A Delayed Diagnosis Of A Tumour Resulted In Tinnitus

Wolferstans were instructed to investigate a claim on behalf of Mr X against the University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust after he discovered there had been a delay in diagnosis of a brain tumour.

Mr X initially presented to her GP in April 2013 with a history of headaches in the occipital-parietal area. He was initially diagnosed with migraines but when the headaches persisted Mr X was duly referred for a CT scan, which took place in January 2014.

The scan was reported by a Consultant Neuroradiologist at Derriford Hospital as normal and therefore no further action was taken in this regard. Instead Mr X was referred to ENT for further investigations, all to no avail.

By June 2014 Mr X had developed tinnitus in his left ear and paraesthesia on the left side of his tongue and lips. As a result, his GP referred him for an MRI scan in August 2014 which revealed a large left sided vestibular schwannoma.

Consultant Neurosurgeons advised that there was no other treatment other than surgical re-section with associated risks of hearing loss and paralysis on the left side of Mr X’s face. Instead Mr X undertook his own research and ultimately underwent stereotactic radiotherapy which was successful in stopping the tumour’s growth.

However, Mr X continues to experience left sided tinnitus and paraesthesia.

Wolferstans investigated Mr X’s claim and obtained expert evidence which confirmed that the CT scan performed in January 2014 had been reported incorrectly as normal when, in fact, the tumour was evident at that time and therefore could have been diagnosed earlier, before Mr X developed tinnitus and paraesthesia. The Defendant Trust initially admitted breach of duty of care but denied causation of injury in their Letter of Response.

However, Wolferstans continued to investigate the claim and made a time-limited offer in the sum of £20,000, which was accepted by the Defendant.


£18,000 Recovered For Delay Diagnosing Metastatic Disease

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mrs R who asked us to investigate a claim against the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board following a delay in diagnosis of breast cancer.

Mrs R was referred to the Breast Clinic at the Ysbyty Gwynedd Bangor in December 2003, following which she was diagnosed with breast cancer and subsequently underwent a right mastectomy and axillary node clearance in December 2003.

She was reviewed annually with no evidence of recurrence and underwent reconstructive surgery in February 2005, following which she was eventually discharged from the hospital’s care in 2009.

Between 2009 and 2014 Mrs R complained of ongoing pain in her lower back, hips and chest. She underwent various assessments and received pain killing mediation. However, unbeknownst to Mrs R at the time, consideration was given to the possibility of bone metastases in 2012 but this was not acted upon further at that time.

Mrs R was eventually diagnosed with metastatic breast disease in July 2015 after presenting to A&E with severe chest pain radiating from the ride side of her back. She was commenced on chemotherapy and underwent radiotherapy.

It was Mrs R’s case that the Defendant was negligent in that in September 2012, following her admission to hospital complaining of pain in the upper back, radiating to the chest, consideration was given to the possibility of bone metastases which should have required an MRI scan or xrays of the thoracic lumbar spine. Despite consideration, no such tests were performed at that time nor did any subsequent investigations take place in 2013 and 2014 to investigate the cause of Mrs R’s back pain. As a result in the delay in diagnosis of bone metastases, Mrs R had to undergo radiotherapy which could have otherwise been avoided with earlier diagnosis, along with pain and suffering throughout the entire period of time.

Wolferstans investigated the claim and, after receiving supportive independent medical expert evidence, served a Letter of Claim on the Defendant. The Defendant Trust admitted liability and the claim was eventually settled in the sum of £18,000.


£12,500 Recovered In Respect Of Delay Diagnosing Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of the estate of late Mr L against the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust after a delay in diagnosis of Merkel Cell Carcinoma resulted in progression of the disease.

Mr L was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) in August 2011.

On 14 July 2011 Mr L presented to his GP with a lesion on his upper arm which had been slowly growing over the previous few months and had become painful when knocked. The GP contacted Mr L’s Consultant Haematologist and brought the lesion to his attention.

Mr L was reviewed by the Haematologist on 18 August 2011 who took a photo of the lesion and documented its size at that time but no further treatment or investigation was undertaken at this point.

By 18 October 2011 the lesion on Mr L’s arm had grown much larger which was documented by the Haematologist. As a result he was referred to a Consultant Dermatologist for a second opinion.

Mr L was duly assessed by the Dermatologist on 27 October who took a biopsy and sent the sample to histology, the results of which were confirmed on 7 November as showing features consistent with Merkel Cell Carcinoma. Mr L was then referred to Plastics and an ultrasound guided core biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of Merkel Cell Carcinoma on 6 December 2011. Surgery to remove the lesion took place on 14 December following which Mr L underwent a course of chemotherapy.

Unfortunately the Merkel Cell Carcinoma recurred in April 2012 necessitating further surgery, and radiotherapy was recommended pending healing of the excision wound.

Sadly Mr L was readmitted to Derriford Hospital in September 2012 following acute deterioration in his condition where further tests revealed metastatic spread of the disease. Chemotherapy was poorly tolerated and tragically Mr L passed away in October 2012.

Wolferstans obtained expert evidence confirmed that if the Merkel Cell Carcinoma had been identified on biopsy approximately two months earlier Mr L would most likely have been diagnosed with Stage 2 B disease rather than Stage 3. This would have resulted in him undergoing less invasive surgery, avoiding its rapid and painful progression and he would have been unlikely to develop a recurrent lesion within 4 months thereby avoiding further surgery with its associated wound complications.

The Defendant denied liability upon receipt of Letter of Claim and Wolferstans issued Court proceedings. Negotiations subsequently took place resulting in Mr L’s estate being awarded the sum of £12,500.


Cardiology and Heart Surgery


Paramedics Failing To Transfer Cardiac Patient To Hospital

Mr M brought a claim for damages, on behalf of the estate of his late wife, Mrs M, who was sadly aged 44 when she died in 2010.

In December 2010, Mrs M was preparing dinner when she began to experience chest pain which felt like a stabbing pain through her chest back and shoulder blades, accompanied with shallow quick breathing. Mr M immediately dialled 999 and called the local ambulance service, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

A first responder was sent to Mrs M with Paramedics following shortly thereafter. Mrs M described the pain as 5 out of 10 and the nature of the pain she was experiencing. The Paramedics took Mrs M’s blood pressure which was low, this was unusual for Mrs M who normally experienced high blood pressure.

Mrs M was then diagnosed with a trapped nerve and was advised to rest up. Mrs and Mr M immediately felt uncomfortable with this diagnosis, however, trusting the Paramedics, Mrs M took some paracetamol and went to bed.

Unfortunately the next morning Mrs M collapsed, gasping for air. Mr M could not feel her pulse and immediately dialled 999 who took Mrs M to hospital. Sadly she had already passed away and attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.

Mr M approached Wolferstans who accepted his very sad case, against the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust for failing to treat Mrs M appropriately in December 2010. We instructed appropriate experts who were supportive of a claim for negligence. It transpired that Mrs M had suffered with a ruptured aorta and had she been taken to hospital when the Paramedics first attended then she would have had surgery and would have survived.

It was calculated that but for the negligence Mrs M would have survived another 15 years and Mr M was able to claim losses, including the fact that he was financially dependent on Mrs M’s income. He was also able to claim funeral expenses and other miscellaneous financial losses as a result of her very sad and preventable death


£20,000 In Damages Awarded For A Negligent Administration Of An Epidural

Mrs D was admitted for an operation at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth in October 2012. Prior to the surgery a needle was placed into her spine in order to administer an epidural. Mrs D recalled there was difficulty administering the epidural.

Mrs D awoke from her operation completely covered in tubes and her body was swollen. Her family members informed her that she nearly died as result of three cardiac arrests. It was later discovered following a report, that there was blood present at the site of the epidural which caused it to leak into her bloodstream, resulting in the cardiac arrests.

Fortunately Mrs D recovered well from the ordeal despite her mobility being adversely affected and battling with psychiatric injury. She has a fear of having to go to her G.P or back into hospital.

Wolferstans investigated this matter under a Conditional Fee Agreement and were able to agree a settlement with Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust of £20,000.00 for Mrs D, to compensate for her pain and suffering and psychiatric injury, that arose following the negligent treatment she received.


£5,500 Recovered For Administrative Error In Relation To Cardiac Treatment

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mr F who asked us to investigate a claim against the University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust following an administrative error regarding his heart surgery.

Mr F had suffered from angina for many years which had been controlled with a GTN spray.

In January 2014 Mr F found that this was not sufficient, and his GP duly referred him to the Cardiology Department at Derriford Hospital. Mr F was reviewed by a Consultant Cardiologist on 27 January 2014 where it was noted that Mr F had intermittent central chest pain, radiating up to the jaw, approximately once or twice a week with low grade pain persisting between these episodes. An ECG was reported to show abnormal sinus rhythm, and Mr F was advised that he would be added to the urgent waiting list for a coronary angiogram.

Unfortunately, due to a hospital administrative error, this urgent angiogram did not take place until 29 July 2014 and in the intervening period Mr F continued to experience symptoms.

Following the angiogram in July 2014 Mr F was advised that he had severe heart disease and he was duly referred for dual anti-platelet therapy, prescribed lifelong aspirin and underwent stenting surgery.

Initially, following this procedure, Mr F was well but in February 2015 he was readmitted to Derriford Hospital where he was diagnosed with unstable angina. This continued and, as a result, he had to give up work.

Wolferstans investigated the claim and served a Letter of Claim on the Defendant. The Defendant admitted breach of duty of care and accepted that it would have been reasonable to list Mr F’s procedure for 8 weeks following his appointment in January, resulting in the stenting procedure taking place by the end of March and therefore there had been a four month delay due to the administrative error. However, the Defendant denied causation and maintained that Mr F did not suffer a myocardial infarction or any other lasting damage as a result of that delay but, in the interests of pragmatism and to reflect the litigation risk, the Defendant made a time limited offer of £5,500 for unnecessary pain and suffering which was accepted by Mr F.


Cauda Equina


Missed Cauda Equina Symptoms at A&E

Miss W, aged 27 had a history of low back pain and occasional sciatica. She started to experience a sharp pain in her lower back and coccyx. An initial diagnosis of a disc prolapse was made and chiropractic treatment was recommended.

The pain continued and whilst she was cleaning her teeth one evening, she felt a sudden numbness in her buttock and a loss of sensation travelling from her groin to her foot. She was quite rightly concerned and took herself to the Accident and Emergency Department at Derriford Hospital, part of Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust who became the Defendant in this case.

Miss W was showing all the classic red flag signals to indicate she had a compressed nerve root, which if left untreated can cause bladder and bowel incontinence, loss of sensation of the sexual organs and paralysis. Unfortunately, the emergency doctor on call that night failed to obtain a proper history from Miss W and refused her request for an MRI scan which would have pointed to an initial diagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome. Miss W was discharged with no investigations undertaken.

Over the course of the following day, Miss W’s symptoms grew progressively worse until she felt no sensation when going to the toilet. Having been dismissed at the Hospital the day before, she was reluctant to return to explain her deterioration and so tried to sleep the symptoms off. When she awoke the next day, the symptoms had not improved and so made an emergency appointment with her GP. When Miss W explained her symptoms to her GP, she was referred to the Accident and Emergency Department immediately. Upon arrival an MRI was arranged and once the results were received, it was clear Miss W had suffered from a severe cord compression which required emergency surgery. Miss W has been left with permanent back pain and stiffness, a permanent lack of sensation in her groin together with urinary and sexual dysfunction.

Miss W sought our help knowing that more should have been upon her first attendance at the Accident and Emergency department. We approached the Defendant Trust and set out our allegations of negligence. The Trust’s formal response denied that any further investigations should have been undertaken.

A resolution could not be reached and Court proceedings were issued. The Defendant continued to deny liability, but could not escape the very real risk that the evidence was not in their favour. A settlement was reached in the sum of £80,000 prior to trial.


Cerebral Palsy


Failure to Monitor Urine Levels in Baby Results in Cerebral Palsy

Baby G at only two weeks of age was admitted to his local hospital under the control of the South West Strategic Health Authority, for feeding problems. A complex diagnosis was made of posterior urethral valves, infection and thrombocytopenia secondary to infection. Baby G was transferred to Bristol Children’s Hospital for emergency surgery.

After his surgery, concerns were expressed about the volume of urine Baby G was passing and a plan was made to monitor him hourly and ensure there was sufficient replacement. Overnight large amounts of urine which were not adequately replaced were recorded and later that morning Baby G suffered cardio-respiratory arrest.

Baby G suffered extremely severe neurological consequences as a result of the collapse. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, spastic quadriparesis and was wheelchair bound, had severe learning difficulties and epilepsy which is poorly controlled and has no useful vision.

A report was obtained from a Paediatric Intensivist which was critical of the failure to adequately monitor and manage Baby G’s fluid balance at the relevant time and causation evidence obtained from a Neuroradiologist who confirms that Baby G’s neurological disabilities were as a consequence of the cardiac arrest.

Once we had presented our case to the Defendant Trust, a full admission of liability was received. This meant that we could concentrate all our efforts on ensuring that we included everything Baby G could possibly need for the entirety of his life. This also included the instruction of a deputy who would be responsible for Baby G’s finances and necessary purchases as he would be unable to make the necessary decisions himself.

A lump sum was awarded in the sum of £2.2 million with yearly periodical payments to cover his annual expenditures for care in the sum of £208,000. The benefit of periodical payments meant that this sum fluctuated with the rate of inflation and were set to be paid every year for the rest of his life. It offered peace of mind to Baby G’s family knowing that the money would not run out and his needs would always be met.


£3.5 Million Awarded For The Brain Injury Caused At Birth

This clinical negligence claim centred around allegations of the negligent mismanagement of the Claimant’s birth at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth on 21.12.1996. The Claimant was born by emergency caesarean section following dehiscence of his mother’s uterine scar from a previous caesarean section. It was alleged that an avoidable delay in the Claimant’s delivery resulted in the Claimant experiencing a period of oxygen deprivation which caused him to suffer a severe and permanent brain injury.

The Claimant suffered from a mixed spastic and athetoid cerebral palsy. He was severely profoundly physically disabled but had complete retained intelligence and attended a mainstream state school.

The Claimant was a minor and the claim was brought by his mother as Litigation Friend.

Investigations were undertaken in relation to the liability issues relating to the claim. A number of experts’ reports were obtained, all of which were extremely supportive. A Letter of Claim was written and a Letter of Response of response received denying all allegations of negligence. Proceedings were issued and a Defence was served admitting breach of duty of care and causation of injury, although not the extent of the Claimant’s disabilities and losses.

An application for an interim payment of damages was made. The initial interim payment was obtained to provide for the cost of case management and to establish an initial care regime. A second interim payment of damages was obtained to enable a suitable alternative property to be purchased and adapted, to continue to provide for the costs of case management and care and further to provide for the cost of equipment and suitable transport.

A detailed investigation was undertaken in relation to quantum and an extended period of negotiations with the Defendant was undertaken in an attempt to settle the claim without the need to go to court. The Defendant made proposals to settle the claim on the basis of a conventional lump sum award of £3,500,000. This offer was accepted subject to an investigation of a settlement on an alternative structured settlement basis. Independent financial advice was obtained following which the Claimant’s Litigation Friend provided instructions to settle the case on the basis of a structured settlement.

The approval of the Court and the Court of Protection was obtained to the proposed terms of settlement, to which the Defendant agreed.


£2.5 Million Awarded For The Brain Injury Caused At Birth

Wolferstans were instructed to investigate allegations of the negligent mismanagement of the Claimant’s birth at Freedom Fields Hospital in Plymouth on 06.01.1992. It was alleged that an avoidable delay in the Claimant’s delivery resulted in the Claimant experiencing a significant period of chronic partial hypoxic ischaemia which caused her to suffer a severe and permanent brain injury.

The Claimant had spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. She was physically disabled although she had independent mobility. She had severe learning difficulties and behavioural problems.

The Claimant was a patient of the Court of Protection and the claim was brought by her mother as Litigation Friend.

Investigations were undertaken into breach of duty of care and causation of injury. The nature of the Claimant’s disabilities were unusual in so much as her physical disabilities were markedly asymmetrical. Experts’ reports were obtained which were supportive, although further investigations and consideration to the particular issues involved had to be given by the experts before Counsel would advise that the claim was sufficiently meritorious to proceed.

A Letter of Claim was eventually written and a Letter of Response received denying all allegations of breach of duty of care and causation of injury.

Proceedings were issued and the Defence again denied all allegations of breach of duty of care and causation of injury. The case was listed for a split trial in relation to the liability issues only, at the Royal Courts of Justice on 13.10.2003.

The Defendant continued to deny all allegations of breach of duty of care and causation of injury throughout. The Claimant proposed and arranged a round table conference at which for the first time the Defendant made an offer to settle the claim in the sum of £600,000. The Claimant indicated that she would not be prepared to settle for a monetary sum.

An application for an immediate interim payment of damages was made and an award obtained to enable the Claimant to employ a Case Manager and to put in place an initial care package. In addition, the interim payment was to be used to assist in deferring the costs of adaptions which were already being undertaken to the Claimant’s home to provide for her needs. A subsequent interim payment was obtained to cover these ongoing costs and also to provide for suitable transport and equipment.

A detailed investigation of quantum was undertaken. The Claimant served a Schedule of Loss with supporting evidence but again the Defendant continued to dispute the value of the Claimant’s claim and no constructive negotiations were entered into until very shortly before the Assessment of Damages Hearing which had been listed on 18.10.2004.

The case was eventually settled on the basis of the Claimant’s acceptance of a Defendant Part 36 Offer in the sum of £2,500,000.


£6.5 million awarded for the brain injury caused at birth

Wolferstans were instructed by B’s parents following allegations of the negligent mismanagement of the Claimant’s birth at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. It was alleged that an avoidable delay in the Claimant’s delivery resulted in the Claimant experiencing a period of oxygen deprivation which caused him to suffer a severe and permanent brain injury.

The Claimant suffered from a severe form of athetoid cerebral palsy. He lacks any form of independent mobility, save that he can roll on the floor and would appear to move purposefully from A to B. His bulbar musculature is severely affected and he has no tongue or useful mouth movements. He has no speech. The Claimant has undergone a gastrostomy with fundoplication. He is exclusively tube fed and needs to have secretions in his mouth suctioned every 30 minutes. The Claimant’s intellectual capacity is unknown. It is believed that he may have some retained intelligence. The Claimant is totally dependent upon others for all aspects of his care and it is anticipated that this will continue throughout his life. The Claimant will not be capable of managing his affairs, for practical purposes, as an adult. He will never be capable of remunerative employment.

The Claimant was a minor and the claim was brought by his father as Litigation Friend.

Investigations were undertaken in relation to the liability issues relating to the claim. A number of experts’ reports were obtained, all of which were extremely supportive. A Letter of Claim was written and a Letter of Response of response received denying all allegations of negligence. Proceedings were issued and the Defence was served admitting liability although the Defendant denied that all of B’s disabilities were caused as a result of the negligence.

A detailed investigation was undertaken in relation to quantum. A Schedule of Loss with supporting evidence placed a value on the claim of over £10,000,000 and included a claim for the cost of future care on the basis that the Claimant would require two carers for 24 hours a day for the remainder of his life.

The Defendant did not agree with our assessment and offered a sum of £2,516,385 that we considered too low. The claim therefore proceeded to court where B was awarded £6,513,655.


£750,000 Awarded for Brain Injury Caused at Birth

This clinical negligence claim centred around allegations of the negligent mismanagement of the Claimant’s birth at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. It was alleged that an avoidable delay in the Claimant’s delivery resulted in the Claimant experiencing a period of oxygen deprivation which caused him to suffer a severe and permanent brain injury.

The Claimant is permanently handicapped by a form of dystonic athetoid cerebral palsy which is asymmetrical with the right upper limb being most affected. He has a slow and clumsy gait and drags his right foot. He does not get the heel down well on the right side. He cannot balance on his right leg or hop on the right leg. Even on the left side he is unsteady. His right upper limb adopts a spastic posture all the time and movements are very clumsy. He is right had dominant but has learned to write with his left hand which is done is a slow, uncomfortable fashion. His speech is intelligible but with a definite dysarthria.

The Claimant was a minor and the claim was initially brought by his mother as Litigation Friend. Once the Claimant attained the age of majority the proceedings were transferred into the Claimant’s name.

Investigations were undertaken in relation to the liability issues relating to the claim. A number of experts’ reports were obtained, all of which were extremely supportive. The Defendant admitted liability at an early stage in the investigation.

A detailed investigation was undertaken in relation to quantum and following an extended period of negotiations the claim was settled on the basis of a conventional lump sum award of £750,000.


£33.4 million in compensation awarded for a brain injury resulting from kernicterus

Wolferstans pursued a claim of behalf of AA, a minor, to investigate a claim for cerebral palsy resulting from kernicterus.

AA was the first child of both of his parents. AA was born four weeks prematurely by caesarean section. His mother was induced due to concerns about rising anti-D antibody titres.

AA’s mother’s blood group is O negative and as a result she was required to receive injections of anti-D at 29 and 34 weeks’ gestation.

AA was jaundice at birth which was diagnosed and initially treated. The jaundice developed into neo-natal hyperbilirubinemia which eventually resulted in the development of bilirubin encephalopathy.

AA was discharged on the basis that he had made a recovery and would be reviewed in 6 weeks at a routine clinic. His parents questioned this decision as they di not believe he was well and during the 24 hours following his discharge AA’s condition deteriorated. His parents rushed him to the Accident and Emergency Department the day after his discharge as he was totally unresponsive.

AA was admitted for emergency treatment for his jaundice. He was given a blood transfusion in an attempt to lower his excessively high bilirubin levels.

AA suffered brain damage as a result of kernicterus which resulted in the development of athetoid-dystonic cerebral palsy.

AA is now 13 years old and as a result of his injuries he has significant hearing loss, a motor disorder, and severe cognitive impairment. AA can walk but with a very lurching, unsteady gait and often falls. As a result he requires a single level property that is fully wheelchair accessible.

AA suffers with almost constant involuntary movements and no fine motor control. It is difficult to feed AA. He can chew and has limited finger feeding skills but is essentially fed by others. He needs to be dressed and undresses.

He can say very few single words and has limited play skills so needs constant attention.

AA has input from a multidisciplinary team, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy.

AA will never be able to live independently and will be dependant on 24 hour care for the remainder of his life.

Wolferstans undertook investigations into this claim and following extensive discussions with the Defendants, were able to agree a settlement of £33.4 million before trial.


£4.25 million in compensation awarded for a brain injury resulting from kernicterus

Wolferstans were instructed to investigate a claim centred around allegations of the negligent mismanagement of the Claimant’s birth at St Mary’s Hospital, Portsmouth. It was alleged that an avoidable delay in the Claimant’s delivery resulted in the Claimant experiencing a period of oxygen deprivation which caused him to suffer a severe and permanent brain injury.

The Claimant suffered from quadriplegic cerebral palsy with increased muscle tone and muscle spasms affecting all four limbs. There was also some bulbar involvement with tongue thrust and mild dysarthria. He had significant disabilities and was very dependant on others for most activities of daily living. The Claimant had sparing of cognitive function and obtained some GCSEs.

Investigations were undertaken in relation to the liability issues relating to the claim. A number of experts’ reports were obtained, all of which were extremely supportive. A Letter of Claim was written and a Letter of Response of response received denying all allegations of negligence. Proceedings were issued and the Defence was served maintaining a denial of all aspects of breach of duty of care and causation of injury.

The case was listed for a split trial in relation to the liability issues only.

The Defendant eventually made some admissions and an application for an immediate interim payment of damages was made and an award obtained to enable the Claimant to employ a Case Manager and to put in place an initial care package. In addition a further interim payment was obtained in the sum of £600,000 which enabled the Claimant to purchase and adapt a suitable property.

A detailed investigation of quantum was undertaken.

In February 2007 the Defendant’s indicated a willingness to enter into negotiations and a Round Table Meeting was held where the Defendant made a number of alternative offers at this meeting in relation to settlement of the Claimant’s claim.

The case was eventually settled on the basis of the Claimant’s acceptance of a Defendant Part 36 Offer in the sum of £4,250,000.


Cosmetic Surgery


£16,000 Recovered For Poor Outcome Of Breast Augmentation

Wolferstans pursued a claim for Miss LB who asked us to investigate a claim against the Harley Medical Group and her surgeon Mr Gnanajebamani after being left dissatisfied with the outcome of her breast augmentation paid for on a private basis.

Miss LB met with Mr Gnanajebamani of the Harley Medical Group in 2014 and requested a breast uplift having experienced a period of weight loss and feeling that her breasts lacked volume. Her surgeon recommended a mastopexy, advising that this would provide an uplift but in order to gain volume he recommended the insertion of a small implant. Miss LB advised that she did not wish to increase the size of her breasts but, after discussion with her surgeon, agreed with the recommendation of her surgeon, placing her faith in him.

Following surgery Miss LB soon developed post operative complications and delayed healing. She became concerned by the asymmetry of her breasts but her concerns were initially dismissed and she was advised that this would settle after recovery.

Sadly the asymmetry did not improve and Miss LB was left feeling very dissatisfied with the appearance of her breasts but her surgeon was unwilling to address her concerns.

Wolferstans investigated Miss LB’s claim and identified the surgeon, Mr Gnanajebamani, as the correct Defendant in the circumstances. We obtained supportive medical expert evidence which confirmed that her surgeon failed to obtain informed consent prior to surgery and failed to discuss with Miss LB that the proposed surgery could have resulted in asymmetry. A further expert report confirmed that Miss LB had been left with suture marks, scarring and asymmetry, and required further re-do mastopexy surgery to correct and improve the appearance from the previous breast augmentation.

Wolferstans pursued Miss LB’s claim until we were able to negotiate settlement in the sum of £16,000.


Dental


Substandard Dental Treatment and Insertion of a Crown leading to a period of PSLA and the need for remedial treatment

Mrs C began to experience pain in her lower left tooth in August 2013 and attended her Dentist, the Stone Cross Dental Centre. She was seen by her Dentist, who examined her and advised that Mrs C was suffering with an infection. She was prescribed with antibiotics but also told that she would need root canal treatment and a crown fitted to the tooth.

The crown preparation was incorrectly carried out, prior to Mrs C having her root canal treatment. Mrs C returned to her dentist a few days later and had further root canal treatment to the same tooth and was advised to return for further preparation for the crown fitting.

One month later, Mrs C returned to have the tooth prepared for the crown. A few weeks later her crown arrived and she was advised to return to the dentist for fitting. At the appointment, Dr Triantafylli had to make considerable adjustments to the crown to fit it to the tooth. Mrs C asked her dentist whether the crown was the correct size as it felt bulky and she was not happy with the occlusion. The Dentist proceeded to grind the crown down to fit it better, but Mrs C was still not happy with the fitting and the crown looked odd.

Mrs C left her dentist disappointed with the treatment she had received. Over the following weeks and months she experienced pain, inflammation and a build up of plaque around the crown which she found difficult to clean due to it overhanging her gum.

Eventually Mrs C went to another dentist who took radiographs of her mouth and advised the crown was poorly fitted and would need to be replaced. Mrs C had to pay again for this privately.

Mrs C then contacted Wolferstans as she was not happy that her crown had been fitted so poorly, causing her pain and discomfort and the cost of remedial treatment.

Wolferstans investigated the claim and instructed an expert dentist, who was critical of the care provided to Mrs C. It was noted that when the crown was initially fitted, the Dentist failed to adequately shape Mrs C’s tooth during the preparation for the crown and on fitting the crown, failed to note that there were significant overhangs and poor contour.

A Letter of Claim was sent to the Dentist’s insurers who admitted the allegations of negligence and Wolferstans were able to secure a settlement of £3,000 to compensate Mrs C for the pain and suffering caused by the poorly fitted crown, and to cover the cost of the remedial treatment she had to pay for.


£5,000 In Damages Awarded For Negligent Dental Treatment

Miss B attended various appointments with her dentist, the Defendant, between 2010 and 2012 for routine checkups.

Due to sensitivity she experienced in her upper tooth on the right hand side, Miss B was advised by the Defendant that she would require root canal treatment and a crown on this tooth. This was subsequently carried out in August 2011.

Following this treatment Miss B started to experience discomfort in her upper tooth on the left hand side where she had previously had a filling and at the time of the filling she was told it was quite close to the nerve. Miss B was told she would have to undergo further root canal treatment and the fitting of a crown and this was subsequently performed.

Miss B experienced problems with the second crown as it did not appear to fit correctly. She also subsequently experienced problems with sensitivity in with one of her lower teeth and despite Miss B advising the Defendant that her previous dentist had told her that she may require a crown on this tooth at some point in the future, the Defendant proceeded to give her advice about having a filling done on this tooth.

Miss B was unhappy with the advice she had been given so decided to seek a second opinion. After an examination, the dentist who she sought advice from told her that her lower tooth had fractured and that this would need to be removed. He also advised her that both of the root canal treatments performed on her teeth had not been done properly nor had the crowns been fitted adequately.

As a result, Miss B required remedial work to fix the work which had been originally performed inadequately incurring further costs.

Wolferstans investigated this matter under a Conditional Fee Agreement and were able to agree a settlement of £5,000.00 for Miss B to cover the cost of the remedial work required and for the pain and discomfort she experienced.


Diabetes


£30,500 In Compensation Awarded For The Failure To Diagnose Diabetic Ketoacidosis Resulting In Death

The deceased, Miss D, was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, serving on board HMS Cornwall at the time of her death on 3 October 2004. This ship was tied up alongside in HMS Drake, Plymouth.

Miss D’s health had been deteriorating for some days prior to the ship arriving at HMS Drake. On arrival, Miss D attended the medical centre and was examined by Surgeon Commander Evershed. However, he did not diagnose her condition and merely advised her to return to the medical centre if she felt worse. Later the same day she was found by a Petty Officer lying on the floor of her cabin, partially clothed with laboured breathing. However, he took no immediate action other than to shut the door of her cabin and left her where she was. The following day she was found dead in the same position as she had been found in by the Petty Officer the previous day.

Devon and Cornwall Police Constabulary were immediately involved and undertook an extensive investigation. They took 267 witness statements in connection with their investigation. They believed that there was sufficient grounds for a prosecution to be brought for manslaughter by gross negligence. However, the CPS eventually declined to do so on legal advice.

The cause of death was later determined as diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition which the deceased had not been diagnosed with at any stage prior to her death.

Initial instructions to investigate a claim for damages and to represent the family at the Inquest were received on the day of the first pre-inquest hearing. Miss D’s mother was represented at that hearing and exceptional public funding was obtained for representation at the Inquest. Leading and Junior Counsel were briefed to represent the family at the Inquest. The Inquest was a Jury Inquest and lasted 5 days.

A claim was pursued for damages under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934, the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and the Human Rights Act 1998. The last claim was brought on behalf of Miss D’s mother for breaches of Articles 2 and 8.

An extension of the relevant limitation periods were sought and granted.

The claim was pursued following the Inquest. The Treasury Solicitors initially provided no response but after proceedings were issued and served, a settlement was eventually in the sum if £30,500.


Elderly Care


Fall Resulting From Incorrect Nursing Assessment

Mr M, a 93 year old gentleman, who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease and mobility problems was admitted via ambulance to Hinchingbrooke Hospital (which falls under the auspices of North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust) with chest pains and breathlessness.

On arrival at the hospital, Mr M underwent various tests and investigations and was diagnosed with a chest infection. He was then placed on intravenous antibiotics and admitted to the Short Stay Unit.


Mr M’s daughter informed the nursing staff on the Unit that her father should not be left unattended without the use of a walking aid. She explained that her father had suffered a stroke about 3 years ago which had left him unsteady on his feet and susceptible to falls.


Shortly after Mr M was admitted to the Unit, he was placed in an arm chair and left to his own devices. He was not given a walking aid to assist with his mobility.


Mr M attempted to go to the toilet whilst he was on his own and when he reached the cubicle he fell to the floor sustaining injuries to several parts of his body, including his face, hands, legs and back.

A CT scan revealed no significant head injuries other than severe bruising which took approximately three weeks to heal.

Wolferstans were instructed to pursue a clinical negligence claim on behalf of Mr M which involved a relatively quick investigation and settlement in just over seven months. Mr M received £1,500 by way of compensation, plus payment of his legal costs.


£20,000 In Compensation Awarded To Widow Following Death Of Husband

Mr M was admitted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital on 17 September 2009 feeling generally unwell and was initially treated with antibiotics as he was prone to chest and urine infections.

Whilst in hospital Mr M became very confused and disorientated which his family were advised was due to a suspected urine infection. On 24 September 2009 following a seizure the family were advised he was suffering with a urine infection.

On 25 September 2009 Mr M was placed on a saline drip to be administered over 12 hours. Within 45 minutes of the drip being operational Mr M’s family noticed that the bag was 2/3 to ¾ empty and could see that the fluid was running constantly, rather than being a steady drip.

Mr M’s wife located his consultant who stopped the drip immediately and admitted it was running too fast.

That evening on visiting Mr M his family were concerned that his chest appeared to be wheezy and ‘bubbling’ and mentioned this to one of the nurses on duty.

The following day the family again expressed their concern as Mr M’s chest was bubbling and later that evening telephoned the ward to express their concern.

On Monday 28 September Mr M was taken for an x ray.

On 1 October Mr M’s family visited and were concerned that he was distressed, uncomfortable and had problems with his breathing. His family were advised that he had pneumonia which was getting worse and that he was seriously ill.

Mr M sadly passed away two days later at the age of 83. Mr M’s cause of death on his death certificate was Bronchial pneumonia. Mrs M pursued this claim on his behalf alleging that the Defendant’s negligence caused Mr M to pass away two years prematurely.

Wolferstans investigated this matter further and alleged that the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust were negligent in administering the saline drip causing fluid retention which Mr M was unable to compensate for given his underlying heart disease. Despite a denial of liability Wolferstans were able to negotiate with the Defendant hospital a settlement of £20,000.00 for Mrs M.


Endocarditis


£14.5 Million Compensation Awarded For The Delay In Diagnosing And Treating Endocarditis

Miss B was born with a congenital heart condition known as ventricular septal defect and underwent cardiac surgery to correct this when she was only two years old. She recovered will form the surgery and thereafter she developed normally and loved a full and active life as a child and teenager. She did however require regular review at the cardiac clinic due to her having an underlying risk of developing complications including endocarditis as a result of her congenital condition.

Wolferstans were instructed by Miss B’s mother to investigate the circumstances surrounding the development of endocarditis as a complication of her heart condition at the age of 16 years. It was alleged there was a significant period, that of three months, where the endocarditis was not diagnosed and was therefore left untreated which resulted in Miss B developing a serious brain injury.

Although Miss B turned 18 during the course of the proceedings, due to her brain injury she lacked capacity and therefore her mother remained as litigation friend.

Supportive evidence was obtained during our initial investigations however the Defendant’s denied liability.

Further investigation were undertaken in respect of liability and quantum and negotiations were commenced between Wolferstans and the Defendant Trust which were unsuccessful and a trial was listed to hear liability issues only.

Miss B’s mother was keen to settle the case so Wolferstans made a part 36 offer to settle the claim. Further negotiations ensued and an award of £14.5 million was agreed between the parties without any formal admission being made.


ENT


£20,000 Recovered After A Delayed Diagnosis Of A Tumour Resulted In Tinnitus

Wolferstans were instructed to investigate a claim on behalf of Mr X against the University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust after he discovered there had been a delay in diagnosis of a brain tumour.

Mr X initially presented to her GP in April 2013 with a history of headaches in the occipital-parietal area. He was initially diagnosed with migraines but when the headaches persisted Mr X was duly referred for a CT scan, which took place in January 2014.

The scan was reported by a Consultant Neuroradiologist at Derriford Hospital as normal and therefore no further action was taken in this regard. Instead Mr X was referred to ENT for further investigations, all to no avail.

By June 2014 Mr X had developed tinnitus in his left ear and paraesthesia on the left side of his tongue and lips. As a result, his GP referred him for an MRI scan in August 2014 which revealed a large left sided vestibular schwannoma.

Consultant Neurosurgeons advised that there was no other treatment other than surgical re-section with associated risks of hearing loss and paralysis on the left side of Mr X’s face. Instead Mr X undertook his own research and ultimately underwent stereotactic radiotherapy which was successful in stopping the tumour’s growth.

However, Mr X continues to experience left sided tinnitus and paraesthesia.

Wolferstans investigated Mr X’s claim and obtained expert evidence which confirmed that the CT scan performed in January 2014 had been reported incorrectly as normal when, in fact, the tumour was evident at that time and therefore could have been diagnosed earlier, before Mr X developed tinnitus and paraesthesia. The Defendant Trust initially admitted breach of duty of care but denied causation of injury in their Letter of Response.

However, Wolferstans continued to investigate the claim and made a time-limited offer in the sum of £20,000, which was accepted by the Defendant.


Entonox


Functional Neurological Disorder Both Caused By Vitamin B12 Deficiency Due To The Excessive Administration Of Entonox

£2 million awarded in compensation for the degeneration of the spinal cord and the development of a functional neurological disorder both caused by vitamin B12 deficiency due to the excessive administration of Entonox

Wolferstans were instructed by Mrs C to investigate a claim into the degeneration of her spinal cord resulting from the excessive use if nitrous oxide, otherwise known as Entonox.

Mrs C fell and injured her left knee on July 2007. She presented to the Emergency Department at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary where she was diagnosed with residual subluxation of the left patella. The knee was put back into place but unfortunately Mrs C continued to suffer with subluxations of the left knee and was taken to hospital on numerous occasions, normally by Ambulance.

As a result, in December 2008 Mrs C underwent realignment of the left patella at Wrightington Hospital.

Unfortunately, the issue was not resolved, and Mrs C was continuing to present to both Royal Albert Edward Infirmary or the Royal Bolton Hospital by Ambulance following numerous dislocations of the knee. The reason for being transferred to both hospitals is due to the client’s property being located within the vicinity of both hospitals. On each occasion she was given Entonox on arrival at the scene, throughout the journey and while waiting at each hospital. She underwent further surgery in October 2009 in the form of left medial patella-femoral ligament reconstruction.

Again, Mrs C continued to suffer a degree of medical subluxation of the patella so continued and Mrs C continued to present to hospital via Ambulance, receiving Entonox on the paramedic’s arrival, during her transfer to hospital and while waiting once at the hospital. Mrs C recalls being administered Entonox for 24 hours on a few occasions.

Between December 2008 and May 2012, Mrs C presented to hospital, via ambulance on over 110 occasions. On each occasion she was using Entonox and opioid analgesia on a habitual basis and she underwent x-rays on number of occasions. Due to the recurrent dislocations. Mrs C was reliant on two elbow crutches. Her knee was so unstable, it would dislocate when turning in bed. Mrs C’s enthusiasm to do anything diminished and she began displaying symptoms of depression.

In early 2011, Mrs C developed a problem with her speech. She started to stutter and could not articulate the words she wanted to say. Approximately a week later, she began to experience the loss of feeling and a tingling sensation in her extremities, starting with her feet but later developing in the fingers. She underwent investigations in February 2011 and there were absent ankle reflexes and reduced vibration sense in her lower limbs. An MRI of the cervical and upper dorsal spine was undertaken which reported abnormal results.

After further tests she was diagnosed with low vitamin B12 in February 2011 but no treatment was offered.

Mrs C quickly lost the ability to stand and she was confined to the upstairs for 3 – 4 months.

In April 2011 an MRI of the whole spine was undertaken showing abnormal results. This was consistent with the results shown on the scan undertaken in February 2011.


Erbs Palsy


Shoulder Dystocia Caused By Poor Delivery Decisions

Prior to Mr H’s delivery, his mother was booked into the Defendant, Royal United Hospital for an induction of labour due to their concerns of his mother’s high blood pressure. Upon admission, induction of labour was due to take place the text day. It was known that Mr H was going to be a large baby and the delivery was expected to be difficult.

Mr H’s delivery as anticipated was difficult and the doctors were unable to safely release his shoulders from his mother pelvis. Various techniques and equipment were used to release the shoulder, however, at an early stage concerns were expressed that Mr H had right Erbs Palsy secondary to shoulder dystocia.

Mr H’s mother contacted Wolferstans as she was aware there were guidelines to assist the delivery of larger babies and the risk of complications are increased. As we have specialist birth injury solicitors, it was evident by Mr H’s shoulder dystocia and subsequent permanent restrictions that had impacted him during his childhood and into adulthood, that this was case which should be taken on and investigated to its fullest degree.

Expert evidence was obtained to comment upon Mr H’s delivery and whether the correct procedures and guidelines were adopted to avoid the risk of this birthing injury. Our experts identified a number of failings, which had contributed towards overall outcome.

Our evidence was presented to the Defendant Trust for their comment who denied liability, raising the common argument of maternal propulsion. As no compromise could be reached with the Defendant, we had to issue court proceedings. The strength of conviction in our case pushed the claim only months from trial whereby the Defendant agreed to a round table meeting to discuss a possibility of settlement. Happily an agreement was reached in the sum of £200,000 to compensate Mr H for what will be a life long injury caused by poor management at birth which could have been avoided.

£235,000 In Compensation Awarded For The Substandard Delivery Subsequent To Shoulder Dystocia Being Identified Resulting In Erb’s Palsy.

Wolferstans were instructed by Mrs H’s mother following the substandard delivery of her daughter, K, subsequent to shoulder dystocia being identified.

Miss H was her Mrs H’s fourth child. At the natenatal visit at 35 weeks, the baby was cephalic and engaged.

On 10 July 1990, Mrs H went into a spontaneous labour at home. She was taken to Treliske Hospital via ambulance.

On arrival Mrs H was assessed by a midwife and a CTG was commenced. The CTG was initially reassuring but a later bradycardia resulted in the midwife performing an episiotomy.

Miss H’s head was delivered at 10:25 am but shoulder dystocia ensued. A senior member of staff attended who applied pressure and the shoulders were delivered once the traction was applied.

Our allegations were that subsequent to shoulder dystocia being identified, there was a substandard delivery of K. It is accepted that in 1990, one of the most important aspects when dealing with a shoulder dystocia is to avoid excessive traction, due to the risk of causing brachial plexus injury. For this reason it was accepted practice that when shoulder dystocia was noted, the mother would turn onto the left lateral position, so as to dislodge the shoulders and to avoid traction to the head and neck.

The Defendant admitted that they were negligent in not turning Mrs H on to the left lateral side at any stage and instead, inappropriate and excessive traction and force was used causing K’s injury.

K was subsequently diagnosed as having right sided obstetric brachial plexus injury and Erb’s Palsy. The resulted in short, medium and long term problems with function and aesthetics in the right upper limb.

Due the Defendant’s admission, we were able to negotiate a settlement of £235,000.


Eye


Case Study – Failure On Behalf Of A GP To Refer The Claimant For Further Investigation When He Was Showing Signs Of Allergic Conjunctivitis, Leading To A Period Of PSLA.

Master D was diagnosed as suffering with eczema and asthma within the first year of his life. He was prescribed an inhaler from his GP early on and had repeat episodes of uncontrolled asthma warranting input from the hospital.

He was subsequently diagnosed as being allergic to eggs, dust mite and dogs. He suffered with conjunctivitis on and off in the early days of his life and by the time he was 5 began to visit his GP regularly with problems with his eyes.

Master D unfortunately experienced repeat severe episodes of sticky eyes and redness and swelling around them. His Mother took him back to the GP on many occasions and each time he would be prescribed another medication to help ease his symptoms. He was given regular doses of Fucithalmic drops and these did not seem to help his problem.

By the time Master D was 8, he was beginning to become very distressed with the problems he was experiencing with his eyes. Master D was beginning to miss school and was sent home regularly because of pain and swelling in his eyes. His Mother had to purchase sunglasses which he had to wear all of the time, as his eyes were becoming sensitive to light.

Master D was eventually referred to the Plymouth Royal Eye Infirmary, some three years after the start of his persistent and permanent eye symptoms had begun.

In September 2008 Master D was provisionally diagnosed as suffering with Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis, a severe form of allergic eye disease. He was referred to an allergy specialist and his allergies were confirmed.

Unfortunately by this stage the severe and ongoing symptoms had caused Master D to become sensitive to light and he had developed a shield ulcer in his eyes. He was commenced on a number of strong medications and remained under close review at the Royal Eye Infirmary. His vision had begun to deteriorate in one of his eyes.

It took a further three years for Master D’s symptoms to settle down and the corneal shield ulcer healed although left him with a vascularised scar.

Master D’s Mother approached Wolferstans as she was concerned about the length of time it took for Master D to be diagnosed and appropriately treated for his allergic eye disease. She felt the GP should have referred Master D many years before they did and his problem would not have been allowed to become so severe.

Wolferstans agreed to investigate the claim and instructed a Paediatric Ophthalmologist and General practitioner both of whom were critical of the care provided to Master D. As Master D had been seen by so many different GP’s over the years, Wolferstans had to carefully consider the medical records and took some time to locate each GP at their new Practice.

Wolferstans prepared a Letter of Claim to the GP’s involved in Master D’s care however not all of them were prepared to admit liability for causing his injuries. Eventually Wolferstans were able to secure settlement in the sum of £4,500 for Master D, representing payment for the pain and suffering caused, during the delay in Master D receiving the appropriate treatment.

Thankfully, it was the evidence of the Experts involved in the claim that Master D’s sight had not been permanently affected as a result of the delay.


£38,000 Recovered For Delay Diagnosing Detached Retina

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mrs E who asked us to investigate a claim against Francisca Ruiz due to a delay in diagnosing a detached retina.

Mrs E woke on 29 February 2012 noting a loss of vision in her left eye. She was assessed by Francisca Ruiz at Tesco Opticians where a significant discrepancy in the acuity between each eye was noted. However, despite the clear dramatic deterioration in Mrs E’s vision, no further investigations were undertaken and no referral was made to the local ophthalmology clinic at hospital. Instead Ms Ruiz recommended new spectacles.

Mrs E’s eyesight did not improve following this appointment but she did not return to Tesco Opticians on the basis that she had been given the impression that nothing further could be done.

During the following few months Mrs Eele’s vision continued to deteriorate which affected her ability to read and complete crosswords.

Mrs E was eventually assessed by Specsavers Opticians on 2 August 2012 following which she was immediately referred to the Royal Cornwall Hospital and was subsequently diagnosed with a detached retina.

By the time Mrs E was diagnosed, her vision in her left eye had deteriorated to such an extent that she was no longer able to see anything other than the perception of light and dark. Her Consultant advised that, given the length of time which had elapsed since the detachment had occurred, treatment was limited and the possibility of any surgery being successful was less than 20%.

Wolferstans investigated the claim and alleged that if Mrs E was suffering from a retinal break or vitreal haemorrhage when she presented to Ms Ruiz on 29 February 2012 and that, if she been referred and seen by an ophthalmologist at this time then she could have undergone retinal laser treatment which would have sealed the break preventing a retinal detachment from developing. Investigations and negotiations with the Defendant ultimately resulted in Wolferstans recovering damages for Mrs E in the sum of £38,000.


£10,000 Recovered For Incorrect Lens Inserted Into The Claimant’s Eye

In 2007 Mrs C was advised that she had a cataract developing over her eye; however this did not start to impact on her vision until 2012, when she was told she would require surgery.

Mrs C underwent surgery in 2012 at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth. Shortly before the surgery the consultant advised Mrs C that he had reviewed her notes and she required a different lens to that which he had been planning to insert and reassured her that this would improve her vision.

Mrs C’s vision did not improve after the surgery. At her follow up appointment Mrs C reported that her vision had not improved. Although her vision was not worse, she had been expecting to be able to see better at a distance. Mrs C was asked at her follow up appointment to look at the chart and to cover her right eye. Mrs C could was unable to read any of the letters.

Mrs C was advised she would need a subsequent operation on her right eye to ‘even out’ her vision and this would resolve her problems. At this point Mrs C had to cover one eye to see long distance and one eye to read up close.

In March 2013 Mrs C went for surgery on her right eye. She was told after the operation she needed new glasses, however when she went to collect them, the dispensing optician queried the prescription advising it did not look correct. Mrs C struggled with her vision after her second operation; she would constantly drop things or accidentally cut herself as she could not see properly. Mrs C stopped going out of the house as she was so concerned about her vision.

Mrs C attended a post operative appointment in April 2013 with her original surgeon, who asked her how she was. Mrs C told him that she was not coping, she was cutting things, missing things and that her vision was even worse after the second operation.

Mrs C’s surgeon subsequently admitted that a mistake had been made during the first operation where the lens of another patient, with the same surname had been fitted during the first operation.

Mrs C then underwent a ‘piggy back operation’ where the correct lens was fitted on top of the old lens in her left eye.

Mrs C attended a follow up operation in September 2013 and was informed that her vision was now 20:20. As part of Wolferstans’ investigation a report was obtained on behalf of Mrs C that confirmed there would be no long term effects on her vision. In December 2014 Mrs C’s claim was settled for £10,000 against Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.


Falls


Fall Resulting From Incorrect Nursing Assessment

Mr M, a 93 year old gentleman, who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease and mobility problems was admitted via ambulance to Hinchingbrooke Hospital (which falls under the auspices of North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust) with chest pains and breathlessness.

On arrival at the hospital, Mr M underwent various tests and investigations and was diagnosed with a chest infection. He was then placed on intravenous antibiotics and admitted to the Short Stay Unit.

Mr M’s daughter informed the nursing staff on the Unit that her father should not be left unattended without the use of a walking aid. She explained that her father had suffered a stroke about 3 years ago which had left him unsteady on his feet and susceptible to falls.

Shortly after Mr M was admitted to the Unit, he was placed in an arm chair and left to his own devices. He was not given a walking aid to assist with his mobility.

Mr M attempted to go to the toilet whilst he was on his own and when he reached the cubicle he fell to the floor sustaining injuries to several parts of his body, including his face, hands, legs and back.

A CT scan revealed no significant head injuries other than severe bruising which took approximately three weeks to heal.

Wolferstans were instructed to pursue a clinical negligence claim on behalf of Mr M which involved a relatively quick investigation and settlement in just over seven months. Mr M received £1,500 by way of compensation, plus payment of his legal costs.


Fall in Hospital Leading to a Bleed to the Brain and Death

We were instructed by our client in relation to the avoidable death of her husband after he fell whilst at hospital and subsequently died in April 2013. He had been given a life expectancy of between three and nine months if he had not suffered the fall.

Our client’s husband had been admitted to Derriford Hospital suffering from a chest infection and on-going kidney disease on a background of advanced cancer. During his admission he was not placed in a high observation ward and was denied the use of his walking frame. His illness resulted in confusion and disorientation.

On 5 April 2013, at approximately 11.20pm, whilst on the ward at Derriford Hospital he was seen by a healthcare assistant who watched him attempt to mobilise to use a toilet but did not assist or take any action. It was noted that he was subsequently found by another healthcare assistant in the toilet, having fallen. It had previously been noted that his mobility and stability were poor but a formal risk assessment had not been conducted. On the night of April 6, he fell again. His records stated that a loud crash was heard from the end of the corridor. It was also noted that he had left the bed and whilst he had been advised to use the call bell, due to his state of confusion was attempting to return to a different ward. The impact of the fall was noted as being severe, a medium grade incident and that there was a slight possibility of it recurring. Unfortunately he had hit his head during the fall.

A CT scan of his head showed a left subdural haematoma with a significant midline shift. Following a neurological review, it was decided that he was not suitable to undergo surgery to relieve the developing haematoma, or bleed to the brain. On April 10, 2013, sadly he suffered a fit overnight. A further CT scan showed fluid around the bleed on his brain. On April 12, our client was informed that treatment was no longer assisting and so it was withdrawn. Our client’s husband sadly died at 7.30pm that evening.

Our client brought an action against University Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust alleging that it was negligent in failing (i) to identify that X was at very high risk of falling; (ii) to carry out a risk assessment on admission or after the first fall or put a care plan in place; (iii) to ensure X was continually observed and supervised and equipment in place to assist in the event of a fall, in addition to being denied the use of a walking frame and failing to assess and establish X’s mental capacity and pre-existing conditions alongside the high risk of intracranial bleeding due to his medication.

Liability was admitted.

We achieved an out of court settlement for £28,500 total damages plus costs.


Fatal


Lack Of Appropriate Training And Substandard Care In The Administration Of A PEG Feed, Leading To Aspiration Pneumonia And Death

Mrs Susan Smith was aged 65 when she sadly passed away. She suffered from Multiple Sclerosis following a diagnosis since April 2000. Her condition had slowly deteriorated until August 2013, when she was fitted with a Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) Feeder, which is passed into a patient’s stomach through the abdominal wall to avoid choking.

She required 24 hour care, which was provided by her husband, at their home address. Mr Smith had the support of care workers which was provided through a company called Kare Plus. These carers would provide Mr Smith with some time for respite during which they would look after his Wife and he could run some errands such as get the shopping.

On the morning of 22 March 2014, Mr Smith arranged to go out for the day, and organised a carer to sit with his Wife while he was away. Mr Smith sought to inform the carers of the setting on the PEG machine to deliver his Wife’s feed at 90ml per hour, over the course of the next 12 hours.

Mr Smith then left early that morning and two carers, arrived at the house where they washed and dressed Mrs Smith and administered her medication.

One carer, then loaded the PEG feeder machine with the Deceased’s food and connected her to the tube. Following an error message and, against their instructions and training they pressed numerous buttons on the machine a number of times which changed the flow and volume of the feed.

Both carers left after 45 minutes and an additional carer, soon arrived at approximately 08:15 am to sit with Mrs Smith as requested. She started to look unwell and the carer waited for the early afternoon Kare Plus staff to arrive. They noted she looked flushed and uncomfortable and took her upstairs for her afternoon lie down. The carers left the premises at approximately 12:45 whereby one noticed Mrs Smith’s condition was continuing to deteriorate and telephoned the office to ask what she should do.

The carer was told by an on call student nurse, that someone would attend Mrs Smith to check her condition and arrived at approximately 13:00. A brief examination, such as temperature and pulse was performed and noted Mrs Smith’s feed had been ingested by 10:30 am that morning, which was too fast.

Mrs Smith was taken via ambulance to the Accident and Emergency Department at Alexandra Hospital.

Mrs Smith sadly died at 02:30 am on 28 March 2014, some six days later from aspiration pneumonia, caused by gastro-oesophageal reflux.

Mr Smith contacted Wolferstans as he thought the carers who had attended his Wife had failed to provide her with appropriate care and this had led to her death. There was an inquest into the death of his Wife, fast approaching and Mr Smith wanted Wolferstans to represent him at this inquest.

Wolferstans agreed to take on Mr Smith’s case and instructed a Barrister who attended the 4 day Inquest and represented Mr Smith. At the Inquest it was found that the carers who had attended Mrs Smith had not been properly trained on PEG feeding devices and as such should not have been sent by the agency to care for someone who needed PEG feeding. Furthermore, it was found that the carers should have immediately stopped once they realised the machine was not working and should have telephoned for advice rather than continuing to administer the feed.

Wolferstans felt that the results of the Inquest were clear and wrote to the Defendant inviting them to make an admission of liability. Unfortunately the Defendant refused to do so and so a Letter of Claim was prepared and sent to them. The Defendant still would not admit liability however made an offer to settle the claim in the sum of £18,000. Wolferstans knew that this was not enough to compensate Mr Smith who had relied on the income of his Wife to run the household. Wolferstans entered into negotiations with the Defendant who agreed to settle the case in the sum of £55,000.


£185,000 Paid To Partner Of Deceased Who Died While Detained Under The Mental Health Act

Mr T and his partner Mr X had been cohabiting for a number of years. Mr X was also the main carer for Mr T who had undergone spinal fusion surgery some years previously. Mr X had a history of mental health problems which were depressive in nature.

Mr X’s mental health started to deteriorate significantly. He was detained under the Mental Health Act at Bushey Fields Hospital and Mr X was assessed as not having capacity nor insight to his illness. However, the following evening an assessment by the duty doctor did not indicate any self harm risk. Sadly, later that evening Mr X committed suicide. The Trust undertook a Serious Untoward Incident investigation which highlighted a number of failings in the care of Mr X.

Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust admitted liability but wanted proof of Mr T and Mr X’s relationship and the level of care that Mr T required. Wolferstans assisted Mr T to make a successful claim for dependency as he had relied on Mr X for full time personal care due to his back injuries. A claim was also made under the Human Rights Act 1998 for a breach of the Right to Life.


£20,000 In Compensation Awarded To Widow Following Death Of Husband

Mr M was admitted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital on 17 September 2009 feeling generally unwell and was initially treated with antibiotics as he was prone to chest and urine infections.

Whilst in hospital Mr M became very confused and disorientated which his family were advised was due to a suspected urine infection. On 24 September 2009 following a seizure the family were advised he was suffering with a urine infection.

On 25 September 2009 Mr M was placed on a saline drip to be administered over 12 hours. Within 45 minutes of the drip being operational Mr M’s family noticed that the bag was 2/3 to ¾ empty and could see that the fluid was running constantly, rather than being a steady drip.

Mr M’s wife located his consultant who stopped the drip immediately and admitted it was running too fast.

That evening on visiting Mr M his family were concerned that his chest appeared to be wheezy and ‘bubbling’ and mentioned this to one of the nurses on duty.

The following day the family again expressed their concern as Mr M’s chest was bubbling and later that evening telephoned the ward to express their concern.

On Monday 28 September Mr M was taken for an x ray.

On 1 October Mr M’s family visited and were concerned that he was distressed, uncomfortable and had problems with his breathing. His family were advised that he had pneumonia which was getting worse and that he was seriously ill.

Mr M sadly passed away two days later at the age of 83. Mr M’s cause of death on his death certificate was Bronchial pneumonia. Mrs M pursued this claim on his behalf alleging that the Defendant’s negligence caused Mr M to pass away two years prematurely.

Wolferstans investigated this matter further and alleged that the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust were negligent in administering the saline drip causing fluid retention which Mr M was unable to compensate for given his underlying heart disease. Despite a denial of liability Wolferstans were able to negotiate with the Defendant hospital a settlement of £20,000.00 for Mrs M.


£30,500 In Compensation Awarded For The Failure To Diagnose Diabetic Ketoacidosis Resulting In Death

The deceased, Miss D, was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, serving on board HMS Cornwall at the time of her death on 3 October 2004. This ship was tied up alongside in HMS Drake, Plymouth.

Miss D’s health had been deteriorating for some days prior to the ship arriving at HMS Drake. On arrival, Miss D attended the medical centre and was examined by Surgeon Commander Evershed. However, he did not diagnose her condition and merely advised her to return to the medical centre if she felt worse. Later the same day she was found by a Petty Officer lying on the floor of her cabin, partially clothed with laboured breathing. However, he took no immediate action other than to shut the door of her cabin and left her where she was. The following day she was found dead in the same position as she had been found in by the Petty Officer the previous day.

Devon and Cornwall Police Constabulary were immediately involved and undertook an extensive investigation. They took 267 witness statements in connection with their investigation. They believed that there was sufficient grounds for a prosecution to be brought for manslaughter by gross negligence. However, the CPS eventually declined to do so on legal advice.

The cause of death was later determined as diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition which the deceased had not been diagnosed with at any stage prior to her death.

Initial instructions to investigate a claim for damages and to represent the family at the Inquest were received on the day of the first pre-inquest hearing. Miss D’s mother was represented at that hearing and exceptional public funding was obtained for representation at the Inquest. Leading and Junior Counsel were briefed to represent the family at the Inquest. The Inquest was a Jury Inquest and lasted 5 days.

A claim was pursued for damages under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934, the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and the Human Rights Act 1998. The last claim was brought on behalf of Miss D’s mother for breaches of Articles 2 and 8.

An extension of the relevant limitation periods were sought and granted.

The claim was pursued following the Inquest. The Treasury Solicitors initially provided no response but after proceedings were issued and served, a settlement was eventually in the sum if £30,500.


Paramedics Failing To Transfer Cardiac Patient To Hospital

Mr M brought a claim for damages, on behalf of the estate of his late wife, Mrs M, who was sadly aged 44 when she died in 2010.

In December 2010, Mrs M was preparing dinner when she began to experience chest pain which felt like a stabbing pain through her chest back and shoulder blades, accompanied with shallow quick breathing. Mr M immediately dialled 999 and called the local ambulance service, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

A first responder was sent to Mrs M with Paramedics following shortly thereafter. Mrs M described the pain as 5 out of 10 and the nature of the pain she was experiencing. The Paramedics took Mrs M’s blood pressure which was low, this was unusual for Mrs M who normally experienced high blood pressure.

Mrs M was then diagnosed with a trapped nerve and was advised to rest up. Mrs and Mr M immediately felt uncomfortable with this diagnosis, however, trusting the Paramedics, Mrs M took some paracetamol and went to bed.

Unfortunately the next morning Mrs M collapsed, gasping for air. Mr M could not feel her pulse and immediately dialled 999 who took Mrs M to hospital. Sadly she had already passed away and attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.

Mr M approached Wolferstans who accepted his very sad case, against the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust for failing to treat Mrs M appropriately in December 2010. We instructed appropriate experts who were supportive of a claim for negligence. It transpired that Mrs M had suffered with a ruptured aorta and had she been taken to hospital when the Paramedics first attended then she would have had surgery and would have survived.

It was calculated that but for the negligence Mrs M would have survived another 15 years and Mr M was able to claim losses, including the fact that he was financially dependent on Mrs M’s income. He was also able to claim funeral expenses and other miscellaneous financial losses as a result of her very sad and preventable death


Fall in Hospital Leading to a Bleed to the Brain and Death

We were instructed by our client in relation to the avoidable death of her husband after he fell whilst at hospital and subsequently died in April 2013. He had been given a life expectancy of between three and nine months if he had not suffered the fall.

Our client’s husband had been admitted to Derriford Hospital suffering from a chest infection and on-going kidney disease on a background of advanced cancer. During his admission he was not placed in a high observation ward and was denied the use of his walking frame. His illness resulted in confusion and disorientation.

On 5 April 2013, at approximately 11.20pm, whilst on the ward at Derriford Hospital he was seen by a healthcare assistant who watched him attempt to mobilise to use a toilet but did not assist or take any action. It was noted that he was subsequently found by another healthcare assistant in the toilet, having fallen. It had previously been noted that his mobility and stability were poor but a formal risk assessment had not been conducted. On the night of April 6, he fell again. His records stated that a loud crash was heard from the end of the corridor. It was also noted that he had left the bed and whilst he had been advised to use the call bell, due to his state of confusion was attempting to return to a different ward. The impact of the fall was noted as being severe, a medium grade incident and that there was a slight possibility of it recurring. Unfortunately he had hit his head during the fall.

A CT scan of his head showed a left subdural haematoma with a significant midline shift. Following a neurological review, it was decided that he was not suitable to undergo surgery to relieve the developing haematoma, or bleed to the brain. On April 10, 2013, sadly he suffered a fit overnight. A further CT scan showed fluid around the bleed on his brain. On April 12, our client was informed that treatment was no longer assisting and so it was withdrawn. Our client’s husband sadly died at 7.30pm that evening.

Our client brought an action against University Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust alleging that it was negligent in failing (i) to identify that X was at very high risk of falling; (ii) to carry out a risk assessment on admission or after the first fall or put a care plan in place; (iii) to ensure X was continually observed and supervised and equipment in place to assist in the event of a fall, in addition to being denied the use of a walking frame and failing to assess and establish X’s mental capacity and pre-existing conditions alongside the high risk of intracranial bleeding due to his medication.

Liability was admitted.

We achieved an out of court settlement for £28,500 total damages plus costs.


£250,000 in Compensation Awarded for a Fatal Brain Injury

Mrs B’s father, acting as Mrs B’s litigation friend, was pursuing this claim against Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust with another firm of solicitors. He was dissatisfied with the service he was receiving and did not feel they had the expertise to deal with the claim so sought advice from AvMA who recommended he contact Simon Parford at Wolferstans.

Wolferstans thereafter took over conduct of the claim.

Mrs B was 25 years old at the time of her admission to hospital. She was married and had 2 small children.

She was admitted to Hope Hospital for a VP shunt revision. There were subsequent problems with the operation of the shunt and she had to undergo three further operations within the space of two weeks. It was following the last procedure that Mrs B was not monitored properly and as a result she developed a significantly raised intracranial pressure which caused severe and permanent brain damage.

Mrs B remained in hospital for a further 16 months where she underwent numerous operations for shunt revisions but was eventually transferred to a rehabilitation unit. Mrs B was in a permanent vegetative state. Two years later she was discharged to a nursing home where she remained until her untimely death.

At the time of instructions, Mrs B was still alive. Investigations were undertaken and after receiving supportive evidence a letter of claim was sent to the Defendant Trust.

The Defendant Trust served their Letter of Response in which a complete admission in relation to breach of duty of care and causation of injury was given.

Mrs B sadly passed away following the admission of liability. Following notification of Mrs B’s death, the Defendant Trust put forward a part 36 offer for the sum of £250,000. Mrs B’s father accepted their offer on behalf of Mrs B’s two children.


Fertility


£108,000 Recovered For Delay Diagnosing Ovarian Cyst Resulting In Infertility

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Miss X who asked us to investigate a claim against the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust after being left infertile at the age of 22 due to delayed diagnosis of an ovarian mass.

Miss X lost one ovary at an early age when a large ovarian cyst caused a torsion, resulting in Miss X’s ovary being compromised.

On 15 March 2014, Miss X attended the Royal United Hospital in Bath due to a pain on the right side of her abdomen which was similar to the pain she had experienced at a much younger age when she had an ovarian cyst. She was referred to the gynaecology team, but no issues could be found.

Two days later a 9cm cyst was found on her remaining right ovary resulting in surgery on 19 March 2014. Sadly, due to the delay in being treated, Miss X’s remaining ovary was no longer viable, and she was rendered infertile at the age of 22.

Wolferstans pursued the claim and noted in the Defendant’s Letter of Response they admitted that the level of care was substandard, although they denied causation.

Court proceedings were therefore issued against the Defendant who admitted liability in their Defence.

Wolferstans sought medical evidence from a Consultant Gynaecologist who advised that had Miss X undergone surgery sooner, it was more likely than not that her ovary could have been saved. Wolferstans sought further expert evidence who advised on the costs of fertility treatments and the claim was eventually settled in the sum of £108,000.00.


Infertility Caused By Cone Biopsy

In November 2004 Mrs X underwent a cervical smear test in November 2004 which was reported as being abnormal and was referred by her GP to the colposcopy clinic at Derriford Hospital.

Mrs X was seen at the Colposcopy Clinic when she underwent an examination and treatment which was in the form of a loop excisional procedure followed by cold coagulation at the base of the lesion. The histology reports were considered and it was determined that Mrs X needed to attend Derriford Hospital for a further procedure, namely a formal knife cone biopsy.

In December 2004, Mrs X was admitted to Derriford Hospital and underwent a cone biopsy procedure. Mrs X had been admitted as a day case but complications occurred during the performance of the cone biopsy procedure and she remained in hospital for 4 days before being discharged home.

The histology report revealed no abnormal tissue whatsoever. Unfortunately, on subsequent examination, it was apparent that far too much tissue had been removed and Mrs X’s cervix had effectively been amputated causing her very significant subsequent gynaecological problems and fertility problems.

Mrs X has subsequently undergone 6 cycles of IUI fertility treatment and 2 courses of IVF treatment, all of which have been unsuccessful.

Wolferstans investigated this case and Court Proceedings were issued due to the Defendant denying liability.

As a result of the Defendant’s denial the case was prepared for trial however Wolferstans suggested a Round Table Meeting with the Defendant to negotiate settlement of the claim and at that meeting various offers were made by the Defendant before we settled the case in the sum of £200,000.


Gastroenterology


Surgical Error Involving The Damage Of The Biliary Tree During A Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

£60,000 awarded for the damage of the biliary tree during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy

Wolferstans accepted instruction to investigate a claim arising out of a negligent laparoscopic cholecystectomy performed on 13th July 2000 at Derriford Hospital. The Claimant was a 71 year old lady at the time of the operation.

In the days following the operation the Claimant complained of abdominal pain and experienced episodes of vomiting. The Claimant was discharged from hospital on 17th July 2000 with a six week follow up appointment. On 21st July 2000 the Claimant went to see her GP because she felt unwell. She was eventually readmitted to Derriford Hospital where tests revealed extensive damage to her biliary tree as a result of the original operation. The Claimant was transferred to the specialist hepatobiliary centre at King’s College Hospital for biliary reconstruction.

Following the reconstructive surgery Mrs Taylor continued to experience problems with stomach pain and required assistance from her family in relation to household chores and personal care for a period of time. The long term prognosis was good.

Mrs Taylor contacted Wolferstans in May 2002.

Investigations were undertaken and we received supportive expert evidence and a Letter of Claim was sent in March 2004 after a Letter of Response was received which denied Breach of Duty of Care and Causation of Injury. A Defence was served denying Breach of Duty of Care and Causation of Injury and directions were given by the Court. However, immediately prior to the exchange of expert evidence the Defendant made a Part 36 offer to settle the claim for a sum of £60,000.00 which was accepted by the Claimant.


£55,000 Awarded For Failure To Treat Abscess And Infection In Timely Manner

Mr S was referred to the colorectal department at Derriford Hospital in early January 2010 for surgical assessment of a possible perianal abscess which was believed to have tracked down from an infection in the coccyx in October of the previous year.

Mr S was examined at the hospital and discharged with an appointment for an MRI scan at the end of 31 January 2010. The results of the scan revealed an abscess and Mr S was advised to undergo surgery to remove the abscess which took place 10 days later.

Following surgery Mr S remained in incredible pain and on seeing his GP was re referred back to hospital within 4 days and advised that the site was still infected. Mr S was operated on again and, again, discharged.

Unfortunately, within two days Mr S had to re attend the hospital with the same symptoms and he was told the site was still infected. Mr S remained in hospital on this occasion for 8 days.

Since being discharged Mr S has attended 4/5 out patient appointments during which he advises he was cursorily examined and was advised that everything was fine.

Unfortunately however Mr S has remained in pain and was eventually seen by a Consultant who advised that he had a very serious infection which needed to be sorted out immediately.

Mr S had the benefit of private health insurance and opted for the surgery to be performed privately, having lost all faith in the NHS. He had the infection site debrided and washed out and his symptoms took some 12 months to resolve. His range of movement is now limited as the new skin that has formed is tight and restricts his ability to bend or stretch causing ongoing pain in daily activities.

Following investigations into this claim and having received supportive evidence, Wolferstans submitted a Letter of Claim to the Defendant alleging that the Defendant had failed to adequately drain the abscess correctly in February 2010 resulting in a prolonged period of pain and suffering and the need for further surgical procedures which could have been avoided. After negotiations with Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Wolferstans were able to agree a settlement in the sum of £55,000.00 for our client.


Bile Duct Injury During Key-Hole Surgery

Mrs T, a 72 year old lady, underwent what was described by Derriford Hospital as routine keyhole surgery for the removal of her gall bladder. During the operation the surgeon got into difficulty and damaged Mrs T’s bile duct, but did not recognise his error. Mrs T was discharged shortly after the operation but quickly became unwell and was readmitted to the Defendant hospital. She was transferred to a hospital in London where a leading surgeon performed further surgery to repair the bile duct injury. Mrs T remained in hospital for a further month.

Mrs T instructed Wolferstans approximately one year after the injury as it was still affecting all aspects of her life. She was reliant on family to provide her with care on a daily basis and although she had attempted to pursue a complaint with the Defendant hospital it had proved futile.

We recognised immediately that Mrs T’s claim was worth fighting and offered to pursue the claim on her behalf on a conditional fee agreement (no win no fee). Having obtained her medical records we instructed an eminent surgeon in this field of medicine who advised that Mrs T had a strong case.

We contacted Plymouth Hospital NHS Trust notifying them of our allegations of negligence which were all strongly denied and court proceedings were commenced. Four months before the case was set down for trial the Defendant admitted that they had been negligent and that their actions were responsible for Mrs T’s injuries and ongoing care needs.

An amicable settlement was reached with the Defendant for the sum of £60,000 plus legal costs. This enabled Mrs T to employ the domestic help she needed as a result of her injuries as well as compensating her for the pain and suffering she had endured as a result of the Defendant’s negligence.


General Surgery


Loss Of Testicle Due To Hernia Surgery

Mr D developed an inguinal hernia on the lower right hand side of his abdomen in or around February 2014. Surgical treatment was recommended and he attended for surgery in June 2014.

The day after the surgery Mr D experienced severe swelling around his genitals and groin and visited the out-of-hours doctors. He was given antibiotics to ease the swelling and advised to rest.

A week later he still had swelling and was experiencing pain so attended at his GP surgery. They advised he would be in some degree of pain because of the nature of the operation and this should subside over time.

By the middle of July the swelling was still present and Mr D was still in significant pain and was referred for an ultrasound in September 2014. The ultrasound showed that the testicle had retracted and this was the reason he was still in pain and experiencing swelling.

Mr D attended an appointment with his surgeon in September 2014 who advised there was nothing further he could do to help despite him being in unbearable pain.

Mr D then requested a second opinion and he was referred to an alternative hospital but due to waiting list times Mr D eventually decided to pay for a private referral.

Mr D underwent a private scan appointment which demonstrated that the testicle had died and there was no blood supply to it so it needed to be removed. The testicle was then surgically removed and immediately post-operatively, Mr D was free of pain.

Following investigations by Wolferstans it became clear that both the original hernia surgery and the follow up care had been carried out below a reasonable standard of care but this was denied by the Defendant Trust and Court proceedings were issued and served.

Wolferstans then suggested that the parties take part in Alternative Dispute Resolution and a Mediation appointment was agreed with the Defendant Trust. Financial settlement was successfully agreed during the course of the Mediation and Mr D was extremely pleased with the result.


GP


Hearing Loss Arising From Syringing Of Ear

Mr L, a 32 year old gentleman, underwent routine ear syringing at Cape Cornwall Surgery (the Surgery) in July 2006 where it was discovered that he was suffering from a central perforation of his left ear drum. This was recorded in the GP records.

In May 2007, Mr L returned to the Surgery where both ears were syringed again. Syringing also took place in May 2010, September 2011 and May 2012.

Throughout this period Mr L complained of pain and discomfort in his left ear and brought this to the attention of his GP on numerous occasions.

Mr L was eventually referred by his GP to the ENT Department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital where he was diagnosed with a large central perforation of the left ear drum and borderline hearing on the left side. He was offered a left myringoplasty which took place in January 2013.

Following surgery, Mr L was left with a small residual perforation which necessitated further surgery.

Wolferstans were pleased to assist Mr L in securing damages in the sum of £10,000, plus payment of his legal costs. This involved obtaining the medical records, instructing medical experts to advise on both breach of duty and causation of injury, drafting a Letter of Claim and negotiating a settlement without an admission of liability.


Case Study – Failure On Behalf Of A GP To Refer The Claimant For Further Investigation When He Was Showing Signs Of Allergic Conjunctivitis, Leading To A Period Of PSLA

Master D was diagnosed as suffering with eczema and asthma within the first year of his life. He was prescribed an inhaler from his GP early on and had repeat episodes of uncontrolled asthma warranting input from the hospital.

He was subsequently diagnosed as being allergic to eggs, dust mite and dogs. He suffered with conjunctivitis on and off in the early days of his life and by the time he was 5 began to visit his GP regularly with problems with his eyes.

Master D unfortunately experienced repeat severe episodes of sticky eyes and redness and swelling around them. His Mother took him back to the GP on many occasions and each time he would be prescribed another medication to help ease his symptoms. He was given regular doses of Fucithalmic drops and these did not seem to help his problem.

By the time Master D was 8, he was beginning to become very distressed with the problems he was experiencing with his eyes. Master D was beginning to miss school and was sent home regularly because of pain and swelling in his eyes. His Mother had to purchase sunglasses which he had to wear all of the time, as his eyes were becoming sensitive to light.

Master D was eventually referred to the Plymouth Royal Eye Infirmary, some three years after the start of his persistent and permanent eye symptoms had begun.

In September 2008 Master D was provisionally diagnosed as suffering with Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis, a severe form of allergic eye disease. He was referred to an allergy specialist and his allergies were confirmed.

Unfortunately by this stage the severe and ongoing symptoms had caused Master D to become sensitive to light and he had developed a shield ulcer in his eyes. He was commenced on a number of strong medications and remained under close review at the Royal Eye Infirmary. His vision had begun to deteriorate in one of his eyes.

It took a further three years for Master D’s symptoms to settle down and the corneal shield ulcer healed although left him with a vascularised scar.

Master D’s Mother approached Wolferstans as she was concerned about the length of time it took for Master D to be diagnosed and appropriately treated for his allergic eye disease. She felt the GP should have referred Master D many years before they did and his problem would not have been allowed to become so severe.

Wolferstans agreed to investigate the claim and instructed a Paediatric Ophthalmologist and General practitioner both of whom were critical of the care provided to Master D. As Master D had been seen by so many different GP’s over the years, Wolferstans had to carefully consider the medical records and took some time to locate each GP at their new Practice.

Wolferstans prepared a Letter of Claim to the GP’s involved in Master D’s care however not all of them were prepared to admit liability for causing his injuries. Eventually Wolferstans were able to secure settlement in the sum of £4,500 for Master D, representing payment for the pain and suffering caused, during the delay in Master D receiving the appropriate treatment.

Thankfully, it was the evidence of the Experts involved in the claim that Master D’s sight had not been permanently affected as a result of the delay.


£950,000 In Compensation Awarded For The Failure To Recognise And Medicate Symptoms Of Psychosis And Schizophrenia Resulting In An Attempted Suicide

Mrs J has a significant history of psychiatric illness, predominantly depression and psychosis. She first received medical treatment for this condition in or about September 1988 following the birth of her second child. At this time she was admitted to St Lawrence’s Hospital for treatment. After she was discharged from hospital she attended St Lawrence’s Hospital as an outpatient until May 1989 at which time she was readmitted for several months.

Following Mrs J’s second admission to St Lawrence’s Hospital, she was placed on anti-psychotics for approximately eighteen months after which she remained off them for a period of two years until she suffered a further breakdown following the birth of her third child.

Some years ago it was determined that Melleril was an effective anti-psychotic for her and during the subsequent years, her mental health was always stable when she was taking Melleril. Indeed, it was found that Melleril was effective for her at very low doses. By January 2001 Mrs J was on 20 mg of Melleril a day.

Towards the end of 2000 the Chief Medical Officer issued a warning in relation to Melleril, regarding concerns over the safe use of the drug for elderly patients with heart problems. When Mrs J next sought a repeat prescription of Melleril from her GP, she was advised that she needed an appointment with Dr Morice. On that occasion, you explained the position to her and arranged for her to have an ECG to check her heart. The results were completely normal and you advised her that it was perfectly safe for her to stay on Melleril.

On 15 January 2001, Mrs J attended an appointment with her Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Owen, who advised her that he intended to stop her prescription of Melleril. She indicated that she did not wish to come off Melleril because it was beneficial for her and that she always became ill when she had stopped taking it in the past. In addition, Mrs J specifically advised Dr Owen that she had been under a great deal of stress over the past 3 months and felt that it was not a good time to stop taking Melleril. Mrs J informed Dr Owen that her GP had performed an ECG and had told her she could continue taking the Melleril as her results were entirely normal. However, Dr Owen insisted that she stopped taking Melleril and advised her to do so immediately. After some discussion, he agreed that she should withdraw from its use over a period of 7 days.

Mrs J’s mental health deteriorated rapidly after she stopped taking Melleril. She immediately became aware that she was unable to sleep and became very anxious. Mrs J contacted the surgery and was prescribed Zopiclone on 30 January.

Mrs J attended appointments with with her GP, Dr Morice on 1 and 13 February 2001. Dr Morice attempted to speak to Dr Owen whilst Mrs J was with him on 13 February, but was unable to do so. However, Dr Morice spoke with him subsequently on the telephone, as a result of which Mrs J was provided with a prescription for Flupenthixol.

Mrs J started taking Flupenthixol on the 13 February, but it had no immediate positive effect and on 16 February, she walked from her home to the bridge over the A30 at Launceston and acting on the instructions of voices which she had heard and believing that if she jumped she would be caught in mid air by an aeroplane, she jumped from the bridge. Mrs J has reaffirmed on a number of occasions that she was not attempting to commit suicide.

Mrs J fell 40 to 50 feet, sustaining very severe physical injuries. As a result, she has undergone a below knee amputation of her left leg and has suffered innumerable other orthopaedic and internal injuries and is in constant pain. She has recently undergone the performance of a colostomy and a hysterectomy. She also has to self-catheterise for the remainder of her life and suffers numerous urinary tract infections.

She continues to take Flupenthixol and her mental health is currently stable but her psychological state has been adversely affected due to her current position.

We alleged that when Mrs J presented to Dr Morice on 1 February 2001 he failed to enquire into Mrs J’s mental state, in particular whether she had any formal psychotic and schizophrenic symptoms. Specifically he failed to discuss these symptoms despite Mrs J’s multiple previous schizophrenic relapses and her previously experienced symptoms of auditory hallucinations, thought insertion and broadcasting. He also failed to recognise that Mrs J’s sleep deprivation was a clear sign of her experiencing a schizophrenic relapse. When Mrs J had previously relapsed she had always suffered from sleep deprivation early on in the relapse period.

There was a further failure to ensure that he reviewed Mrs J within seven days to determine whether her condition had further deteriorated and that he failed to contact Dr Owen prior to 13 February 2001 despite Mrs J displaying signs of distress and formal psychotic and schizophrenic symptoms.

We also alleged that there was a failure by Dr Morice to advise Dr Owen on the telephone on 13 February 2001 of the severity of Mrs J’s condition and to properly describe the nature and extent of the signs and symptoms displayed by Mrs J during his interview with her earlier that day, such that Dr Owen would have prescribed an appropriate effective antipsychotic medication.

We alleged that as a result of all the failings listed above, Mrs J suffered a relapse in her condition which directly resulted in her jumping from the bridge over the A30 thereby sustaining severe physical injuries. Had the correct enquired been made into Mrs J’s mental state and/or recognised that she was displaying formal psychotic and schizophrenic symptoms Dr Morice would have contacted Dr Owen prior to 13 February 2001 and Mrs J would have been placed on Flupenthixol or other appropriate medication at an earlier stage, before her mental state had deteriorated to such an extent that it was too late for the medication to have any effect.

We were able to negotiate a settlement of £950,000.


Delay in Diagnosis of Malignant Melanoma

At age 30, Mr W attended his GP regarding a mole on the calf of his leg which caused him some concern. A referral was made to the Dermatology Department of Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust who became the Defendant. The Dermatologist examined Mr W and offer him reassurance that the mole was a benign ‘Spitz Naevus’ and nothing to cause concern.

A year later, Mr W returned to his GP because of the same mole which had ruptured and started to bleed. An urgent referral was made to a different Dermatology Department in Devon who immediately recognised and diagnosed Mr W with a malignant melanoma. Laboratory testing confirmed the diagnosis and identified the cancer had metastasised. Radical surgery was undertaken as well as radiology and chemotherapy but catastrophically, Mr W was given a terminal prognosis.

Mr W contacted Wolferstans and instructed us to investigate the events of his earlier Dermatological appointment and to attempt to negotiate compensation, not for him, but for his family. Unsurprisingly, once we obtained our evidence in support of the events, the Defendant admitted liability immediately. The difficulties lay in proving that with earlier treatment Mr W terminal prognosis could have been avoided. Expert oncology evidence was obtained to determine this element of the claim however, in the meantime, we were able to secure an interim payment in the sum of £60,000 for Mr W.

The Defendant Trust denied that earlier treatment would have cured his condition, however, a settlement agreement was reached in the sum of £475,000. This sum was to compensate Mr W for the pain and suffering caused by the Defendant, all equipment he will need at home as his condition deteriorates, help around the home which he would undertaken himself and full private care throughout his life.


Delay in Referral by GP for Spinal Compression

Mr T, aged 69 fell over in his garden and landed on his left hand. Shortly after he started to develop a pins and needs sensation in his right hand. This developed to tiredness, stiffness and becoming unsteady on his feet. Mr T saw his GP as his symptoms were not improving and he grew concerned. The Defendant, GP dismissed the situation as temporary and assured this was not a cause for concern.

Mr T had no improvements and returned to his GP on a number of occasions however, 5 months later, his condition remained unchanged. A home visit was requested and this occasion an GP attended and assessed Mr T. The GP recommended a neurological referral to determine the cause of his reduced function. Following an MRI scan prior to the neurological appointment, Mr T was advised that he was suffering from a significant spinal cord compression in his neck. Urgent surgery was undertaken to help alleviate the pressure on Mr T’s cord, but he was left with permanent mobility and balance restrictions as well as a loss of function in his hands.

Wolferstans agreed to take on Mr T’s case on a “no win no fee” basis to investigate the care provided by the GP and attempt to establish whether an earlier referral should have been made and if so, would this have created a better outcome for Mr T.

When Mr T’s case was properly investigated and supporting evidence obtained, our findings were communicated to the GP’s representatives who in turn admitted liability. A settlement was agreed in the sum of £150,000 for the pain and suffering Mr T experienced, as well as payments for the future care that Mr T will require due to his injuries.


Delay in Diagnosing Spinal Cord Compression

£750,000 recovered due to delay in diagnosis of spinal cord compression

Wolferstans pursued a claim for Mrs X who asked us to investigate a claim against her GP, after she was left paralysed as a result of a delay diagnosing a spinal cord compression.

Mrs X underwent right knee arthroscopy in September 2010 and approximately one week post operatively she started to experience pins and needles in her left arm. As a result, she presented to her GP and was diagnosed with trapped brachial neuritis for which she was prescribed pain killers.

On 17 November 2010 Mrs X experienced excruciating pain in the back of her neck upon standing. The pain persisted for the remainder of the day and she therefore contacted her GP by telephone the following day. Her GP did not request attendance at the practice and simply dealt with Mrs X’s symptoms over the telephone.

Mrs X’s condition continued to cause her severe pain so she arranged to see her GP on 19 November 2010. Mrs X’s husband had to assist her to the practice as the pain caused her difficulty walking. She was unable to move her neck and pain radiated down her back. She complained of leg weakness and a feeling as though her legs could not support her body weight. The GP assessed Mrs X but failed to note a combination of neck pain, upper limb paraesthesia and gait disturbance which could have suggested the possibility of spinal cord compression. Mrs X was not referred for further investigation on this occasion and her condition was allowed to continue to deteriorate.

She returned to her GP practice on 22 November where she was diagnosed with a trapped nerve and was referred for physiotherapy.

Mrs X remained in severe pain and developed pins and needles down her left arm. She returned to see the GP on 26 November who documented ‘shockwaves when coughing or sneezing’. Despite Mrs X’s presentation of neck pain, bilateral sensory changes and gait disturbance the GP failed to undertake a neurological examination and failed to refer Mrs X to hospital as an emergency.

On 5 December 2010 Mrs X woke to find she was unable to feel anything from the waist down and was unable to move her legs. She was immediately admitted to hospital where investigations revealed spinal cord compression. Mrs X underwent cervical discectomy with evacuation of a para-spinal abscess but sadly she was left severely paralyzed as a result of her injury.

Mrs X continues to have no sensation from below the waist and has very limited movement in her lower limbs. She is completely wheelchair dependant and her husband is now her full time carer.

Wolferstans investigated Mrs X’s claim and eventually Court proceedings were issued and served against the Defendant who strongly denied liability throughout the duration of the claim.

However Wolferstans continued to pursue the claim until the Defendant ultimately agreed to settle for the sum of £750,000.


Forefoot amputation due to GP negligence

Mr B began to experience problems with his left foot in December 2012. Mr B had been experiencing pain in his foot along with a tingling sensation and after a few weeks decided to see his GP. Mr B was advised that he had athletes foot and was prescribed with a cream to apply. This did not work and the pain was ever increasing so Mr B went back to his GP. Mr B explained that he was still having pain in his foot and that the cream had not worked. He explained that he had shooting pains when walking and a throbbing sensation in his foot. Mr B explained that when he took weight off of his foot the shooting pain would stop but the throbbing would remain.

Mr B was advised to continue using the cream. Mr B had to return to his GP surgery several times over the Christmas period and each time the pain would be worse and he noticed that his toes had started to change colour. The middle toe was a very dark purple and the other toes were a pinkish purple. Mr B was advised that he had an infection and was given antibiotics. Mr B was referred for a Doppler scan to check the blood flow but the appointment was not made urgently.

Mr B was also sent for an X-ray because of the pain that he was in, but this came back as normal. By 17 January 2013 Mr B returned to his GP as his toes were black. H was told that the Doppler results were normal but an urgent referral was then made to the hospital as a vascular problem was suspected.

Mr B attended the hospital on 21 January 2013 and he was told that he would need a graft in his foot as the blood was not circulating properly. Sadly the graft did not work and Mr B had to undergo a forefoot amputation on 28 January 2013.

Mr B had to leave his job as he was unable to operate his vehicle with his amputation. Mr B’s quality of life was dramatically affected and he required the use of a wheelchair as it was still incredibly painful for him to work. Mr B also experienced phantom pain which is when you can feel the part of the limb that use to be there, even though it is not.

Wolferstans settled Mr B’s claim in January 2015 for £5,000.


Delay in diagnosis of subarachnoid haemorrhage

In November 2006, Mr P was at work when he felt dizzy and collapsed to the floor. He thought that he had banged his head and experienced a period of unconsciousness and had a severe pain in his head, so attended the duty doctor at work. An ambulance was called and Mr P was taken to Accident and Emergency at Derriford Hospital, in Plymouth.

During an examination with a doctor, Mr P began to vomit. He was advised that he may be suffering with either viral meningitis or a brain haemorrhage and was provided with some pain medication. A while later, Mr P was advised he could go home as he was simply suffering with a viral infection. No further tests or examinations were carried out.

Mr P remained in severe pain throughout the day and over the weekend. Three days later, Mr P presented to his GP who confirmed he was suffering with viral meningitis and no further action was taken.

A further four days later, Mr P experienced a popping sensation in his eye and he began to feel dizzy. A GP attended Mr P at home and changed his medication but no further action was taken. Unfortunately Mr P continued to deteriorate and became disorientated and unable to recognise his family. Mr P subsequently attended hospital where he was diagnose with a subarachnoid haemorrhage and this was coiled.

Sadly, Mr P endured a long and slow recovery. He suffered with short term memory loss and had to learn to speak and to walk again. His eyesight was affected and he retired due to his health.

Mr P was later diagnosed with an organic personality disorder and continued to suffer with short term memory loss.

Mr P instructed Wolferstans, who agreed to investigate and pursue a claim against Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and multiple GP’s from his local surgery. During the investigation, Wolferstans assessed Mr P’s future care needs which had been drastically altered as a result of the delay in his receiving treatment for the subarachnoid haemorrhage. It was noted that Mr P would require significant daily care, which would increase as he aged and settlement was agreed in the sum of £560,000 before trial took place.


Gynaecology


£25,000 Recovered For Burns And Scarring From Endometrial Ablation

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Miss X who asked us to investigate a claim against the East Kent University NHS Foundation Trust after undergoing a gynaecological procedure which left Miss X with burns and scarring.

Miss X underwent endometrial ablation at the William Harvey Hospital in November 2014. The operation note confirmed that the machine failed during the procedure due to a fluid leak but Miss X advised that the Consultant proceeded with the procedure by overriding the system.

Post operatively Miss X was reviewed and sent home but she was readmitted via the A&E Department the following morning suffering thermal burns around her genitals. Miss X was reassured by the doctor that the superficial burns would heal well and apologised that the burn was not apparent at the end of the ablation the previous day.

Miss X suffered pain and suffering and was left with scarring to the affected area.

Wolferstans investigated the claim and, after receiving supportive independent medical expert evidence, served a Letter of Claim on the Defendant. The Defendant Trust admitted liability and accepted that Miss X had suffered thermal burns during hydrothermal endometrial ablation resulting in pain and suffering.

The Trust initially made a Part 36 offer in the sum of £4,500 which Wolferstans rejected on the basis that Miss X suffered other ongoing complications which affected her bowel and after further investigation and negotiation the claim was settled in the sum of £25,000.


Hearing


Hearing Loss Arising From Syringing Of Ear

Mr L, a 32 year old gentleman, underwent routine ear syringing at Cape Cornwall Surgery (the Surgery) in July 2006 where it was discovered that he was suffering from a central perforation of his left ear drum. This was recorded in the GP records.

In May 2007, Mr L returned to the Surgery where both ears were syringed again. Syringing also took place in May 2010, September 2011 and May 2012.

Throughout this period Mr L complained of pain and discomfort in his left ear and brought this to the attention of his GP on numerous occasions.

Mr L was eventually referred by his GP to the ENT Department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital where he was diagnosed with a large central perforation of the left ear drum and borderline hearing on the left side. He was offered a left myringoplasty which took place in January 2013.

Following surgery, Mr L was left with a small residual perforation which necessitated further surgery.

Wolferstans were pleased to assist Mr L in securing damages in the sum of £10,000, plus payment of his legal costs. This involved obtaining the medical records, instructing medical experts to advise on both breach of duty and causation of injury, drafting a Letter of Claim and negotiating a settlement without an admission of liability.


£20,000 Recovered After A Delayed Diagnosis Of A Tumour Resulted In Tinnitus

Wolferstans were instructed to investigate a claim on behalf of Mr X against the University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust after he discovered there had been a delay in diagnosis of a brain tumour.

Mr X initially presented to her GP in April 2013 with a history of headaches in the occipital-parietal area. He was initially diagnosed with migraines but when the headaches persisted Mr X was duly referred for a CT scan, which took place in January 2014.

The scan was reported by a Consultant Neuroradiologist at Derriford Hospital as normal and therefore no further action was taken in this regard. Instead Mr X was referred to ENT for further investigations, all to no avail.

By June 2014 Mr X had developed tinnitus in his left ear and paraesthesia on the left side of his tongue and lips. As a result, his GP referred him for an MRI scan in August 2014 which revealed a large left sided vestibular schwannoma.

Consultant Neurosurgeons advised that there was no other treatment other than surgical re-section with associated risks of hearing loss and paralysis on the left side of Mr X’s face. Instead Mr X undertook his own research and ultimately underwent stereotactic radiotherapy which was successful in stopping the tumour’s growth.

However, Mr X continues to experience left sided tinnitus and paraesthesia.

Wolferstans investigated Mr X’s claim and obtained expert evidence which confirmed that the CT scan performed in January 2014 had been reported incorrectly as normal when, in fact, the tumour was evident at that time and therefore could have been diagnosed earlier, before Mr X developed tinnitus and paraesthesia. The Defendant Trust initially admitted breach of duty of care but denied causation of injury in their Letter of Response.

However, Wolferstans continued to investigate the claim and made a time-limited offer in the sum of £20,000, which was accepted by the Defendant.


Hospital Negligence


£5,000 in Damages Recovered for Scarring Sustained Following Burn to Leg

In April 2011 Mrs X was kicked by a horse and taken to Accident and Emergency Department at the Defendant Hospital.

Mrs X was diagnosed with a fractured leg and transferred to an orthopaedic ward where she was left in a soft splint for the night as she was advised she would require surgery the following day.

During the night Mrs X was seen by a Doctor who advised that she required a backslab (a hard plaster cast to the back of the leg with swaddling on the front) and she was taken to Accident and Emergency for the same to be applied.

The plaster technician applied the backslab and then transferred Mrs X to the trolley so that she could be taken to x ray to ensure that everything was okay with the plaster.

As Mrs X was being wheeled to the x ray department the plaster on the back of her leg got hotter and hotter. Mrs X questioned whether this was correct as the plaster was hot rather than warm but she was reassured by the nurse that it was normal.

By the time that Mrs X reached the x ray department the temperature was unbearable and she was in agony. She was reviewed by a nurse who immediately returned her to the plaster department.

The plaster technician advised that they should put padding under the plaster and on doing so the heat started to dissipate immediately.

Mrs X was advised that there had been a chemical reaction between the plaster cast and the plastic she had been sitting on and that a cover should have been provided to prevent this.

Mrs X suffered burns to the top of her thigh and has subsequently been left with slight scarring in the form of three scars, each of which is approximately the size of a 10 pence piece.

Wolferstans wrote to the Defendant at an early stage requesting they make an early admission of liability on the basis that Mrs X was not affected by the scarring and that the scarring was not going to need any treatment in the future. We put forward an offer of £5,000 and after consideration by the Defendant, we were able to recover this amount for the pain and suffering during the 6-8 weeks that Mrs X was in plaster and for the scarring she sustained to her thigh.


£55,000 Awarded For Failure To Treat Abscess And Infection In Timely Manner

Mr S was referred to the colorectal department at Derriford Hospital in early January 2010 for surgical assessment of a possible perianal abscess which was believed to have tracked down from an infection in the coccyx in October of the previous year.

Mr S was examined at the hospital and discharged with an appointment for an MRI scan at the end of 31 January 2010. The results of the scan revealed an abscess and Mr S was advised to undergo surgery to remove the abscess which took place 10 days later.

Following surgery Mr S remained in incredible pain and on seeing his GP was re referred back to hospital within 4 days and advised that the site was still infected. Mr S was operated on again and, again, discharged.

Unfortunately, within two days Mr S had to re attend the hospital with the same symptoms and he was told the site was still infected. Mr S remained in hospital on this occasion for 8 days.

Since being discharged Mr S has attended 4/5 out patient appointments during which he advises he was cursorily examined and was advised that everything was fine.

Unfortunately however Mr S has remained in pain and was eventually seen by a Consultant who advised that he had a very serious infection which needed to be sorted out immediately.

Mr S had the benefit of private health insurance and opted for the surgery to be performed privately, having lost all faith in the NHS. He had the infection site debrided and washed out and his symptoms took some 12 months to resolve. His range of movement is now limited as the new skin that has formed is tight and restricts his ability to bend or stretch causing ongoing pain in daily activities.

Following investigations into this claim and having received supportive evidence, Wolferstans submitted a Letter of Claim to the Defendant alleging that the Defendant had failed to adequately drain the abscess correctly in February 2010 resulting in a prolonged period of pain and suffering and the need for further surgical procedures which could have been avoided. After negotiations with Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Wolferstans were able to agree a settlement in the sum of £55,000.00 for our client.


£3,500 Damages For Delay In Diagnosing Blood Clot

Ms N was diagnosed at the age of 24 with insulin dependent diabetes.

During the course of 2006 and 2007 Ms N had problems with her diabetes particularly complaining of pain in her left arm.

In November 2009, Ms N attended her GP surgery complaining of unbearable pain in her left hand and fingers which developed two days ago. She was taking a strong pain killer for this which she had stopped recently as it was making her sleepy. Her left hand was swollen and warm and the diagnosis was of a possible infection and she was treated on this occasion with antibiotics.

Three days later, Ms N returned to her GP complaining of worsening pain and swelling in her left hand which was now extremely tender with a rash on her wrist and forearm extending up her left arm, accompanied with crippling pain and numbness. On this occasion her GP arranged for Ms N to be seen at the Accident & Emergency Department at Derriford Hospital.

Ms N was examined by a Registrar who noted she had a slight swelling of her left hand. The Registrar advised that all joints in Ms N’s left upper arm were normal and the impression was that of neuropathic pain.

In early December 2009 Ms N attended her GP and was admitted again as an emergency to the Defendant Hospital. Ms N was examined by a Doctor and she was diagnosed with an ischaemic hand caused by an insufficient supply of blood to the hand and she was admitted for treatment which involved Heparin infusion.

Ms N subsequently underwent a left arm angiogram where a blood clot was seen in the artery and Ms N later underwent surgery to explore this further in order to remove the clot. This was unfortunately unsuccessful and Ms N had to undergo bypass surgery. Following the operation, Ms N continued to experience ongoing pain and numbness in her left arm and hand.

Wolferstans investigated this matter under a Conditional Fee Agreement and obtained supportive evidence that Ms N’s blood clot should have been diagnosed when she first presented to the Defendant Hospital, although the delay in treatment had no impact upon her treatment and prognosis. Wolferstans entered into negotiations with the Defendant and were able to agree a settlement of £3,000.00 for the three week period of pain and suffering caused by the failure of the hospital to diagnose Ms N’s condition.


£15,000 Recovered For Delay Treating Breast Abscess And Infection

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Miss X who asked us to investigate a claim against the Croydon Health Services NHS Trust after experiencing pain and suffering and being left with scarring following a delayed diagnosis of a breast abscess.

Ms X had a long history of suffering from recurrent abscesses which were treated by her GP with antibiotics and, if they did not resolve, by surgical incision and drainage at hospital.

On 2 September 2010 Ms X presented to her GP with an abscess on her lower left breast. By the following morning she noticed the abscess had grown significantly in size and she started to feel unwell so she presented to the Croydon University Hospital at 11:30 am on 3 September. She was commenced on intravenous antibiotics and on 7 September she was reviewed by a doctor at 9:30 am who ordered drainage under ultrasound that day.

The ultrasound confirmed the presence of an abscess and a decision was made to transfer Mx X to theatre for debridement that evening.

The following morning, 8 September 2010, Ms X complained of ongoing severe pain and a decision was made to aspirate the area following which a Consultant Breast Surgeon recommended surgical incision and drainage.

Th abscess was eventually drained but, due to the delay in treatment, Ms X had suffered pain, renal and respiratory failure and dependence on intensive care.

Wolferstans investigated the claim secured medical expert evidence which confirmed that if the breast abscess and associated infection had been treated effectively by 7 September at the latest, this would have avoided her subsequent further deterioration and the need for intensive care. It was alleged that, with earlier treatment, the abscess would have been smaller and required less extensive surgery, subsequent wound care and Ms X would have been left with significantly less scarring.

Wolferstans were able to recover damages for Ms X in the sum of £15,000.


£10,000 Awarded Following Failure Of Hospital To Advise Patient To Quit Smoking

In early December 2006, Mrs H detected a lump in her right armpit. Due to a history of breast cancer in her family she was naturally concerned and consulted her GP who, on examination, detected a soft, non tender swelling. He recommended a further assessment in 2 weeks at which point a referral was made to hospital but an ultrasound scan and mammography revealed no abnormalities.

In August 2007 Mrs H developed discharge of fluid and blood from her left nipple and was referred to Torbay Hospital where she was seen by a Consultant Breast Surgeon. Having ruled out cancer Mrs H was advised that the problem was caused by inflammation of the milk ducts and that he could do a simple operation to remove them.

In January 2008 Mrs H was told that she would require an operation in order to remove the inflamed milk duct and that this would be a relatively simple procedure with complications being very extremely rare. Whilst there was the risk of nipple loss, this was the very worse case scenario. He also explained that the sensation to Mrs H’s nipple might feel different after the operation. Mrs H’s breasts were a very important part of her body and the thought of losing any sensation was of great concern to her. She therefore returned home to discuss this with her husband and although she had lingering doubts as to whether she should undergo the surgery, she was nevertheless admitted to the Defendant hospital.

She told both the anaesthetist and the surgeon that she was having second thoughts about undergoing surgery and she also voiced her concerns to her nurse. She was informed by her nurse that she could withdraw her consent at any time, up until the operation, but when she then spoke to the Surgeon he explained that whilst it was very unlikely that there would be any changes in her breast if left alone, there was the rare possibility that the problem could turn in to cancer if left. It was this that made Mrs H go ahead with the surgery.

Unfortunately, in the post operative period, Mrs H felt very unwell. She was allowed home later that day but on the following day she felt dizzy and nauseated. She had throbbing pain in her left breast which was constant and unremitting.

By mid January 2008, Mrs H felt so ill that she called her GP surgery, and she made an appointment to see the Practice Nurse on the following day. During this appointment Mrs H’s dressings were taken down by the Practice Nurse and she noted oozing of cloudy and bloody fluid leaking from the left nipple. On the same day, Mrs H was prescribed antibiotics to treat infection.

The next day, Mrs H lost a considerable amount of blood from her left breast and she was referred back to the Defendant hospital by her GP. She was seen later that day and told that she need not take antibiotics as she did not have an infection. He then opened the wound with forceps which led to leakage of a large quantity of serous fluid. At this point, she was asked by the Consultant if she was a smoker and she confirmed that she had smoked since the age of 16 years. She was then informed that smoking was the cause of her problem as smoking causes damages to the ducts behind the nipple leading to recurrent inflammation and the potential for an abscess to form. Mrs H was astonished by this statement. She had informed the anaesthetist that she was a smoker during her per-operative examination and the nurses who completed her pre-operative documentation were also aware of her smoking habit.

Mrs H’s breast eventually healed, but she was left with an unsightly wound and lost her nipple.

Wolferstans pursued a claim which was vigorously denied by South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, on behalf of Torbay Hospital but successfully negotiated a settlement for Mrs H to enable her to pay for reconstructive surgery on her breast.


£10,000 Recovered For Incorrect Lens Inserted Into The Claimant’s Eye

In 2007 Mrs C was advised that she had a cataract developing over her eye; however this did not start to impact on her vision until 2012, when she was told she would require surgery.

Mrs C underwent surgery in 2012 at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth. Shortly before the surgery the consultant advised Mrs C that he had reviewed her notes and she required a different lens to that which he had been planning to insert and reassured her that this would improve her vision.

Mrs C’s vision did not improve after the surgery. At her follow up appointment Mrs C reported that her vision had not improved. Although her vision was not worse, she had been expecting to be able to see better at a distance. Mrs C was asked at her follow up appointment to look at the chart and to cover her right eye. Mrs C could was unable to read any of the letters.

Mrs C was advised she would need a subsequent operation on her right eye to ‘even out’ her vision and this would resolve her problems. At this point Mrs C had to cover one eye to see long distance and one eye to read up close.

In March 2013 Mrs C went for surgery on her right eye. She was told after the operation she needed new glasses, however when she went to collect them, the dispensing optician queried the prescription advising it did not look correct. Mrs C struggled with her vision after her second operation; she would constantly drop things or accidentally cut herself as she could not see properly. Mrs C stopped going out of the house as she was so concerned about her vision.

Mrs C attended a post operative appointment in April 2013 with her original surgeon, who asked her how she was. Mrs C told him that she was not coping, she was cutting things, missing things and that her vision was even worse after the second operation.

Mrs C’s surgeon subsequently admitted that a mistake had been made during the first operation where the lens of another patient, with the same surname had been fitted during the first operation.

Mrs C then underwent a ‘piggy back operation’ where the correct lens was fitted on top of the old lens in her left eye.

Mrs C attended a follow up operation in September 2013 and was informed that her vision was now 20:20. As part of Wolferstans’ investigation a report was obtained on behalf of Mrs C that confirmed there would be no long term effects on her vision. In December 2014 Mrs C’s claim was settled for £10,000 against Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.


£20,000 Recovered After A Delayed Diagnosis Of A Tumour Resulted In Tinnitus

Wolferstans were instructed to investigate a claim on behalf of Mr X against the University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust after he discovered there had been a delay in diagnosis of a brain tumour.

Mr X initially presented to her GP in April 2013 with a history of headaches in the occipital-parietal area. He was initially diagnosed with migraines but when the headaches persisted Mr X was duly referred for a CT scan, which took place in January 2014.

The scan was reported by a Consultant Neuroradiologist at Derriford Hospital as normal and therefore no further action was taken in this regard. Instead Mr X was referred to ENT for further investigations, all to no avail.

By June 2014 Mr X had developed tinnitus in his left ear and paraesthesia on the left side of his tongue and lips. As a result, his GP referred him for an MRI scan in August 2014 which revealed a large left sided vestibular schwannoma.

Consultant Neurosurgeons advised that there was no other treatment other than surgical re-section with associated risks of hearing loss and paralysis on the left side of Mr X’s face. Instead Mr X undertook his own research and ultimately underwent stereotactic radiotherapy which was successful in stopping the tumour’s growth.

However, Mr X continues to experience left sided tinnitus and paraesthesia.

Wolferstans investigated Mr X’s claim and obtained expert evidence which confirmed that the CT scan performed in January 2014 had been reported incorrectly as normal when, in fact, the tumour was evident at that time and therefore could have been diagnosed earlier, before Mr X developed tinnitus and paraesthesia. The Defendant Trust initially admitted breach of duty of care but denied causation of injury in their Letter of Response.

However, Wolferstans continued to investigate the claim and made a time-limited offer in the sum of £20,000, which was accepted by the Defendant.


£5,500 Recovered For Administrative Error In Relation To Cardiac Treatment

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mr F who asked us to investigate a claim against the University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust following an administrative error regarding his heart surgery.

Mr F had suffered from angina for many years which had been controlled with a GTN spray.

In January 2014 Mr F found that this was not sufficient, and his GP duly referred him to the Cardiology Department at Derriford Hospital. Mr F was reviewed by a Consultant Cardiologist on 27 January 2014 where it was noted that Mr F had intermittent central chest pain, radiating up to the jaw, approximately once or twice a week with low grade pain persisting between these episodes. An ECG was reported to show abnormal sinus rhythm, and Mr F was advised that he would be added to the urgent waiting list for a coronary angiogram.

Unfortunately, due to a hospital administrative error, this urgent angiogram did not take place until 29 July 2014 and in the intervening period Mr F continued to experience symptoms.

Following the angiogram in July 2014 Mr F was advised that he had severe heart disease and he was duly referred for dual anti-platelet therapy, prescribed lifelong aspirin and underwent stenting surgery.

Initially, following this procedure, Mr F was well but in February 2015 he was readmitted to Derriford Hospital where he was diagnosed with unstable angina. This continued and, as a result, he had to give up work.

Wolferstans investigated the claim and served a Letter of Claim on the Defendant. The Defendant admitted breach of duty of care and accepted that it would have been reasonable to list Mr F’s procedure for 8 weeks following his appointment in January, resulting in the stenting procedure taking place by the end of March and therefore there had been a four month delay due to the administrative error. However, the Defendant denied causation and maintained that Mr F did not suffer a myocardial infarction or any other lasting damage as a result of that delay but, in the interests of pragmatism and to reflect the litigation risk, the Defendant made a time limited offer of £5,500 for unnecessary pain and suffering which was accepted by Mr F.


Case Study – Failure On Behalf Of A Paediatrician To Diagnose Phaeochromocytoma (Tumour Of The Adrenal Gland) Leading To A Period Of Extended PSLA

Miss R was aged 11 when she began to develop symptoms of headaches and profuse sweating and noticed that the skin on her legs and feet was unusually red. Her Mother took her to her General Practitioner for some advice, and she was reassured that she was probably fine and it was hormone related.

Miss R continued to experienced these symptoms and her Mother took her back to the General Practitioner for a second time. The GP conducted an examination and it was felt she might be suffering with an iron deficiency anaemia. She was prescribed iron tablets and a referral was sent to a Paediatric Consultant at the University Hospital of North Tees for further assistance.

Miss R was seen by the Consultant Paediatrician a few months later, who felt that she had some kind of virus and her symptoms were related to this. Her blood pressure was taken at this appointment and it was elevated but no further action was taken and she was discharged from the care of the hospital, back to her General Practitioner.

Unfortunately for Miss R, her symptoms did not disappear and got worse. She had begun to experience palpitations and had episodes of profuse sweating where she turned pale. Her hands begun to turn red and her skin looked dry. Miss R’s school had expressed serious concerns over her health and well being and her Mother took her back to the General Practitioner for help.

The GP who saw Miss R, took her blood pressure and noted that it was excessively elevated at around 145/105 and urgently referred her back to the Paediatrician at the University Hospital of North Tees.

Despite the urgency of the referral, Miss R was not seen until two months later, some 12 months after her symptoms had begun. When she was finally seen at the hospital, she was examined and her blood pressure taken. At this appointment it was recorded as 138/77. A second reading was taken which measured 120/85. Despite these incredibly high readings, no further action was taken and she was sent back to her GP, with advice to continue to monitor her blood pressure.

Miss R’s GP remained very concerned and after measuring her blood pressure for the following 4 weeks, so sent her to Accident and Emergency at the nearest hospital for investigation. Miss R was seen at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Newcastle who performed a scan and found evidence of lump on her adrenal gland.

Miss R was shortly thereafter diagnosed with Phaeochromocytoma and had urgent surgery to remove the tumour. Miss R recovered well from this operation and since being followed up there was no evidence of any adverse consequences to her overall health.

Miss R’s Mother spoke to Wolferstans because she felt the University Hospital of North Tees did not take her condition seriously and failed to diagnose her as suffering with Phaeochromocytoma. Wolferstans took on her case and instructed both a Paediatrician and Paediatric Nephrologist both of whom were critical of the care provided to Miss R.

Wolferstans investigated the claim and during the course of the investigation the Defendant admitted liability. Wolferstans were able to secure a settlement of £7,500 for Miss R.


£105,000 In Compensation Awarded For Failure To Diagnose Cervical Cancer

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mrs X who asked us to investigate a claim concerning a delay in diagnosing cervical cancer against Southmead Hospital.

In June 2004 Mrs X attended her GP surgery for a cervical smear. This was sent to a local Hospital. The slide was reported as negative but it was noted that there was an appearance of cervicitis and it was recommended that a repeat smear be undertaken in 12 months.

Mrs X subsequently attended her GP surgery and underwent a further cervical smear in June 2005 which was again sent to the same local hospital. The slide was again reported as negative and a further smear was recommended in 12 month’s time because of the previous borderline test.

Mrs X underwent a further smear in May 2006 which was reported as negative and as a result returned to three yearly screening tests.

In September 2009 Mrs X underwent a further cervical smear which was again reported as negative.

In 2012 Mrs X fell pregnant and as a result her routine smear test was delayed until May 2013.This slide was reported as showing abnormal cells and Mrs X subsequently underwent a colposcopy. A biopsy was undertaken at the same time and Mrs X was informed she had an invasive cancer of the cervix for which she underwent a hysterectomy. Fortunately Mrs X made a full recovery following the surgery.

Mrs X instructed Wolferstans to investigate a claim as she was concerned that the cancer was so extensive at the time of diagnosis. Wolferstans obtained copies of all of the previous smear tests and it was apparent that these had been reported incorrectly and that Mrs X should have undergone further investigation after each of the smear tests that had been performed. Had the smears been correctly reported in 2005, 2006, or 2009 and referral for colposcopy made on any of these three occasions it would have been possible to treat Mrs X’s cancer with less invasive treatment and she would have avoided the hysterectomy.

Wolferstans undertook investigations into this claim following which we sent a Letter of Claim to North Bristol NHS Trust, setting out our allegations of negligence. The Defendant made a full admission and we were able to agree a settlement of £105,000.00.


Failure to Appropriately Diagnose and Treat Cerebral Vasculitis.

£2.5 million in compensation for the failure to appropriately diagnose and treat cerebral vasculitis.

In May 2005, our client, Mrs A, who was 38 years old, had a viral illness which she recovered from. In November 2005, Mrs A attended her GP with a low mood, panic attacks, weight loss, aches and nausea. There was a past history of viral fatigue and the GP put her symptoms down to a recurrent depressive episode.

Mrs A’s headaches continued and she developed pain behind her eyes so in January 2006 she was referred to a Consultant ENT Surgeon. At this appointment it was documented that Mrs A had lost her sense of smell and taste and she reported a 3-month history of headaches and pain in her top teeth, beneath both eyes and around her frontal sinuses.

Mrs A started experiencing spasms in her left leg, and later her right leg, that were increasing frequently and developed a generalized tremor. She complained of loss of bladder sensation and numbness f the perineum, was suffering from global headaches and noticed a slight droopiness of her left eyelid. As a result was referred to a Consultant Neurologist who undertook further investigations on 16 February 2006 when she was admitted to hospital for an MRI scan of her spine and a CT scan of her head, neither of which revealed any abnormality.

Mrs A developed a tremor which worsened so was re-referred to the Neurology service on 6 April 2006 and underwent a cranial MRI scan on 23 August 2006 which was suggestive of MS but the results were not reviewed as they had been lost in the system and therefore this diagnosis was not made.

In July 2006 Mrs A reported memory problems and was referred to a memory clinic in September 2006. In addition to her memory problems she was displaying uncharacteristic aggression and became very safety conscious. Her psychological state deteriorated further and she became aggressive and irrational.

Mrs A’s physical and psychological symptoms were worsening, and Mrs A’s mobility was affected.

Mrs A was seen privately in November 2006 following the deterioration of her physical and psychological wellbeing. An MRI conducted at the time was thought to indicate demyelination and was suggestive of MS.

Mrs A was sectioned in December 2006 due to her becoming increasingly agitated and Mrs A was diagnosed with Cerebral Vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessel wall involving the brain and occasionally the spinal cord.

Following treatment, the section was lifted and Mrs A returned to her parents home to reside there. Due to the delay in treatment, Mrs A now suffers sever mobility problems, urinary dysfunction and neuropsychological deficits characterised by impaired memory function.

Mrs A instructed Wolferstans to investigate a claim as she believed had the scan undertaken in August 2006 been reviewed, she would have received earlier treatment and would not have deteriorated and suffered the ongoing problems she now has to live with.

Wolferstans undertook investigations into the claim following which we sent a Letter of Claim to the Defendant setting out our allegations of negligence and we were able to agree a settlement of £2.5 million.

The Chief Executive of the Defendant Trust wrote Mrs A a letter of apology following the conclusion of the claim.


Delaying Diagnosing Spinal Abscess

£300,000 recovered due to a delay diagnosing spinal abscess

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mr X who asked us to investigate a claim against the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust after a delay in diagnosis of a spinal abscess left him with permanent neurological injuries.

Mr X presented to his GP in December 2007 with pain in his neck. He was diagnosed with cervicalgia and prescribed strong painkillers.

The pain persisted and Mr X remained under the care of his GP, physiotherapists and the pain management clinic until he was referred eventually referred to a Consultant Neurosurgeon in July 2010 for further investigation. Following various scans Mr X was diagnosed with an osteoid osteoma of the cervical spine and it was agreed that it would be appropriate to proceed with surgery.

Surgery took place on 5 February 2010 and he was discharged home on 10 February.

On 19 February Mr X was admitted to hospital as an emergency having reduced movement in his neck and shooting pain up his neck when weight bearing. It was initially suspected that Mr X was suffering from an infection and he was therefore referred for an MRI scan to exclude a bone graft infection and he was commenced on antibiotic therapy.

On 23 February 2010 Mr X’s pain increased and he developed paraesthesia in his hands. By 25 February the paraesthesia had progressed to his lower limbs and his pain was severe. Arrangements were made for an MRI scan to be conducted of the cervical spine which revealed an abscess that was compressing the spinal cord.

Mr X was taken to theatre as an emergency and the abscess was drained. He was initially admitted to the Critical Care Unit before eventually being discharged home on 13 March 2010. M X continues to experience paraesthesia in his hands and fingers.

Wolferstans investigated the claim but Defendant Trust denied liability. Court proceedings were issued and trial was listed.

During the course of the investigation the Defendant Trust initially made an offer of £150,000 which was rejected by the Claimant. Further negotiations took place and the claim was ultimately settled in the sum of £300,000.


Hydrocephalus and Blocked Shunts


£1.8 Million In Compensation Awarded For Negligent Post-Operative Care Following Surgery To Remove A Brain Tumour Causing Hydrocephalus

Mr A was diagnosed with a pituitary tumour which was causing hydrocephalus, a build up of pressure in the head. He subsequently underwent surgery, a transsphenoidal hyposphectomy, at Derriford Hospital to treat and remove the tumour. Although the surgery was successful, Mr A developed post-operative complications and required intubation and was transferred to intensive care. As a result of a failure to deal with the post-operative complications appropriately, Mr A sustained a severe brain injury. This resulted in him requiring 24 hour care which he will continue to need for the remainder of his life. He has been cared for in private nursing homes since his original discharge from hospital.

We were instructed by Mr A’s daughter, to investigate a medical negligence claim against University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust.

Following initial investigations, we obtained a number of supportive reports so commenced court proceedings. A defence was served containing a full admission of liability.

Wolferstans therefore undertook investigations in relation to quantum and following negotiations with the defendant’s, a settlement was agreed at a capitalised value of £1.8 million.


£250,000 in Compensation Awarded for a Fatal Brain Injury

Mrs B’s father, acting as Mrs B’s litigation friend, was pursuing this claim against Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust with another firm of solicitors. He was dissatisfied with the service he was receiving and did not feel they had the expertise to deal with the claim so sought advice from AvMA who recommended he contact Simon Parford at Wolferstans.

Wolferstans thereafter took over conduct of the claim.

Mrs B was 25 years old at the time of her admission to hospital. She was married and had 2 small children.

She was admitted to Hope Hospital for a VP shunt revision. There were subsequent problems with the operation of the shunt and she had to undergo three further operations within the space of two weeks. It was following the last procedure that Mrs B was not monitored properly and as a result she developed a significantly raised intracranial pressure which caused severe and permanent brain damage.

Mrs B remained in hospital for a further 16 months where she underwent numerous operations for shunt revisions but was eventually transferred to a rehabilitation unit. Mrs B was in a permanent vegetative state. Two years later she was discharged to a nursing home where she remained until her untimely death.

At the time of instructions, Mrs B was still alive. Investigations were undertaken and after receiving supportive evidence a letter of claim was sent to the Defendant Trust.

The Defendant Trust served their Letter of Response in which a complete admission in relation to breach of duty of care and causation of injury was given.

Mrs B sadly passed away following the admission of liability. Following notification of Mrs B’s death, the Defendant Trust put forward a part 36 offer for the sum of £250,000. Mrs B’s father accepted their offer on behalf of Mrs B’s two children.


Infection


£55,000 Awarded For Failure To Treat Abscess And Infection In Timely Manner

Mr S was referred to the colorectal department at Derriford Hospital in early January 2010 for surgical assessment of a possible perianal abscess which was believed to have tracked down from an infection in the coccyx in October of the previous year.

Mr S was examined at the hospital and discharged with an appointment for an MRI scan at the end of 31 January 2010. The results of the scan revealed an abscess and Mr S was advised to undergo surgery to remove the abscess which took place 10 days later.

Following surgery Mr S remained in incredible pain and on seeing his GP was re referred back to hospital within 4 days and advised that the site was still infected. Mr S was operated on again and, again, discharged.

Unfortunately, within two days Mr S had to re attend the hospital with the same symptoms and he was told the site was still infected. Mr S remained in hospital on this occasion for 8 days.

Since being discharged Mr S has attended 4/5 out patient appointments during which he advises he was cursorily examined and was advised that everything was fine.

Unfortunately however Mr S has remained in pain and was eventually seen by a Consultant who advised that he had a very serious infection which needed to be sorted out immediately.

Mr S had the benefit of private health insurance and opted for the surgery to be performed privately, having lost all faith in the NHS. He had the infection site debrided and washed out and his symptoms took some 12 months to resolve. His range of movement is now limited as the new skin that has formed is tight and restricts his ability to bend or stretch causing ongoing pain in daily activities.

Following investigations into this claim and having received supportive evidence, Wolferstans submitted a Letter of Claim to the Defendant alleging that the Defendant had failed to adequately drain the abscess correctly in February 2010 resulting in a prolonged period of pain and suffering and the need for further surgical procedures which could have been avoided. After negotiations with Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Wolferstans were able to agree a settlement in the sum of £55,000.00 for our client.


£15,000 Recovered For Delay Treating Breast Abscess And Infection

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Miss X who asked us to investigate a claim against the Croydon Health Services NHS Trust after experiencing pain and suffering and being left with scarring following a delayed diagnosis of a breast abscess.

Ms X had a long history of suffering from recurrent abscesses which were treated by her GP with antibiotics and, if they did not resolve, by surgical incision and drainage at hospital.

On 2 September 2010 Ms X presented to her GP with an abscess on her lower left breast. By the following morning she noticed the abscess had grown significantly in size and she started to feel unwell so she presented to the Croydon University Hospital at 11:30 am on 3 September. She was commenced on intravenous antibiotics and on 7 September she was reviewed by a doctor at 9:30 am who ordered drainage under ultrasound that day.

The ultrasound confirmed the presence of an abscess and a decision was made to transfer Mx X to theatre for debridement that evening.

The following morning, 8 September 2010, Ms X complained of ongoing severe pain and a decision was made to aspirate the area following which a Consultant Breast Surgeon recommended surgical incision and drainage.

Th abscess was eventually drained but, due to the delay in treatment, Ms X had suffered pain, renal and respiratory failure and dependence on intensive care.

Wolferstans investigated the claim secured medical expert evidence which confirmed that if the breast abscess and associated infection had been treated effectively by 7 September at the latest, this would have avoided her subsequent further deterioration and the need for intensive care. It was alleged that, with earlier treatment, the abscess would have been smaller and required less extensive surgery, subsequent wound care and Ms X would have been left with significantly less scarring.

Wolferstans were able to recover damages for Ms X in the sum of £15,000.


£10,000 Awarded Following Failure Of Hospital To Advise Patient To Quit Smoking

In early December 2006, Mrs H detected a lump in her right armpit. Due to a history of breast cancer in her family she was naturally concerned and consulted her GP who, on examination, detected a soft, non tender swelling. He recommended a further assessment in 2 weeks at which point a referral was made to hospital but an ultrasound scan and mammography revealed no abnormalities.

In August 2007 Mrs H developed discharge of fluid and blood from her left nipple and was referred to Torbay Hospital where she was seen by a Consultant Breast Surgeon. Having ruled out cancer Mrs H was advised that the problem was caused by inflammation of the milk ducts and that he could do a simple operation to remove them.

In January 2008 Mrs H was told that she would require an operation in order to remove the inflamed milk duct and that this would be a relatively simple procedure with complications being very extremely rare. Whilst there was the risk of nipple loss, this was the very worse case scenario. He also explained that the sensation to Mrs H’s nipple might feel different after the operation. Mrs H’s breasts were a very important part of her body and the thought of losing any sensation was of great concern to her. She therefore returned home to discuss this with her husband and although she had lingering doubts as to whether she should undergo the surgery, she was nevertheless admitted to the Defendant hospital.

She told both the anaesthetist and the surgeon that she was having second thoughts about undergoing surgery and she also voiced her concerns to her nurse. She was informed by her nurse that she could withdraw her consent at any time, up until the operation, but when she then spoke to the Surgeon he explained that whilst it was very unlikely that there would be any changes in her breast if left alone, there was the rare possibility that the problem could turn in to cancer if left. It was this that made Mrs H go ahead with the surgery.

Unfortunately, in the post operative period, Mrs H felt very unwell. She was allowed home later that day but on the following day she felt dizzy and nauseated. She had throbbing pain in her left breast which was constant and unremitting.

By mid January 2008, Mrs H felt so ill that she called her GP surgery, and she made an appointment to see the Practice Nurse on the following day. During this appointment Mrs H’s dressings were taken down by the Practice Nurse and she noted oozing of cloudy and bloody fluid leaking from the left nipple. On the same day, Mrs H was prescribed antibiotics to treat infection.

The next day, Mrs H lost a considerable amount of blood from her left breast and she was referred back to the Defendant hospital by her GP. She was seen later that day and told that she need not take antibiotics as she did not have an infection. He then opened the wound with forceps which led to leakage of a large quantity of serous fluid. At this point, she was asked by the Consultant if she was a smoker and she confirmed that she had smoked since the age of 16 years. She was then informed that smoking was the cause of her problem as smoking causes damages to the ducts behind the nipple leading to recurrent inflammation and the potential for an abscess to form. Mrs H was astonished by this statement. She had informed the anaesthetist that she was a smoker during her per-operative examination and the nurses who completed her pre-operative documentation were also aware of her smoking habit.

Mrs H’s breast eventually healed, but she was left with an unsightly wound and lost her nipple.

Wolferstans pursued a claim which was vigorously denied by South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, on behalf of Torbay Hospital but successfully negotiated a settlement for Mrs H to enable her to pay for reconstructive surgery on her breast.


£30,500 In Compensation Awarded For The Failure To Diagnose Diabetic Ketoacidosis Resulting In Death

The deceased, Miss D, was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, serving on board HMS Cornwall at the time of her death on 3 October 2004. This ship was tied up alongside in HMS Drake, Plymouth.

Miss D’s health had been deteriorating for some days prior to the ship arriving at HMS Drake. On arrival, Miss D attended the medical centre and was examined by Surgeon Commander Evershed. However, he did not diagnose her condition and merely advised her to return to the medical centre if she felt worse. Later the same day she was found by a Petty Officer lying on the floor of her cabin, partially clothed with laboured breathing. However, he took no immediate action other than to shut the door of her cabin and left her where she was. The following day she was found dead in the same position as she had been found in by the Petty Officer the previous day.

Devon and Cornwall Police Constabulary were immediately involved and undertook an extensive investigation. They took 267 witness statements in connection with their investigation. They believed that there was sufficient grounds for a prosecution to be brought for manslaughter by gross negligence. However, the CPS eventually declined to do so on legal advice.

The cause of death was later determined as diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition which the deceased had not been diagnosed with at any stage prior to her death.

Initial instructions to investigate a claim for damages and to represent the family at the Inquest were received on the day of the first pre-inquest hearing. Miss D’s mother was represented at that hearing and exceptional public funding was obtained for representation at the Inquest. Leading and Junior Counsel were briefed to represent the family at the Inquest. The Inquest was a Jury Inquest and lasted 5 days.

A claim was pursued for damages under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934, the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and the Human Rights Act 1998. The last claim was brought on behalf of Miss D’s mother for breaches of Articles 2 and 8.

An extension of the relevant limitation periods were sought and granted.

The claim was pursued following the Inquest. The Treasury Solicitors initially provided no response but after proceedings were issued and served, a settlement was eventually in the sum if £30,500.


Delaying Diagnosing Spinal Abscess

£300,000 recovered due to a delay diagnosing spinal abscess

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mr X who asked us to investigate a claim against the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust after a delay in diagnosis of a spinal abscess left him with permanent neurological injuries.

Mr X presented to his GP in December 2007 with pain in his neck. He was diagnosed with cervicalgia and prescribed strong painkillers.

The pain persisted and Mr X remained under the care of his GP, physiotherapists and the pain management clinic until he was referred eventually referred to a Consultant Neurosurgeon in July 2010 for further investigation. Following various scans Mr X was diagnosed with an osteoid osteoma of the cervical spine and it was agreed that it would be appropriate to proceed with surgery.

Surgery took place on 5 February 2010 and he was discharged home on 10 February.

On 19 February Mr X was admitted to hospital as an emergency having reduced movement in his neck and shooting pain up his neck when weight bearing. It was initially suspected that Mr X was suffering from an infection and he was therefore referred for an MRI scan to exclude a bone graft infection and he was commenced on antibiotic therapy.

On 23 February 2010 Mr X’s pain increased and he developed paraesthesia in his hands. By 25 February the paraesthesia had progressed to his lower limbs and his pain was severe. Arrangements were made for an MRI scan to be conducted of the cervical spine which revealed an abscess that was compressing the spinal cord.

Mr X was taken to theatre as an emergency and the abscess was drained. He was initially admitted to the Critical Care Unit before eventually being discharged home on 13 March 2010. M X continues to experience paraesthesia in his hands and fingers.

Wolferstans investigated the claim but Defendant Trust denied liability. Court proceedings were issued and trial was listed.

During the course of the investigation the Defendant Trust initially made an offer of £150,000 which was rejected by the Claimant. Further negotiations took place and the claim was ultimately settled in the sum of £300,000.


Steroid Injection into Shoulder led to Septic Arthritis

At age 28, Miss C attended her GP complaining of pain in her left shoulder. Her GP diagnosed an impingement syndrome and recommended a steroid injection into her shoulder to help with the pain. Over the course of the month Miss C’s arm began to swell and the level of pain increased. It took a number of months and many investigations to confirm that Miss C was suffering from septic arthritis which had been missed by the Accident and Emergency Department and the Orthopaedic Department at Derriford Hospital, part of Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust on a number of occasions.

Miss C was left with very little power in her arm, a loss of movements and was in a severe amount of pain. The medical evidence suggested that Miss C would require a shoulder replacement during the course of her life time and due to the time taken to identify and treat the septic arthritis, the integrity of the replacement would be severely compromised.

Miss C was referred to us by another firm of solicitors who were unable to deal with the matter. Miss C had a history of shoulder problems in the past and it was a difficult case to prove that her ongoing problems were as a result of the delay in diagnosing the Septic Arthritis and not, as alleged by the Defendant, possible symptoms she may have experienced in any event.

The Defendant maintained a full denial of liability on this case, but we fiercely argued Miss C’s case with the assistance of our team of medical experts and our instructed Barrister. Court proceedings were issued and a trial date listed. Just months from the trial date, a mediation meeting was arranged to provide the parties the opportunity to discuss the case face to face and narrow the issues. Thankfully this meeting was a success and we were able to secure Miss C an amazing award in the sum of £350,000. This sum includes not only compensation for the pain and suffering she had to endure, but also her future care needs and the cost of the future shoulder replacements she will inevitably need.


Maternal Birth Injury


Skull Fracture at Birth and Psychiatric Injuries

£33,000 recovered for fracture sustained at time of delivery and psychiatric injuries

Wolferstans pursued claims on behalf of Baby X and each of her parents against the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust after Baby X sustained a ping pong fracture to her skull at the time of her birth and her parents suffered a psychiatric injury as a result of witnessing the distressing circumstances of her birth.

Ms X’s waters ruptured spontaneously at home on the evening of 7 February 2013 and she began to experience frequent contractions resulting in her attending Derriford Hospital. Her contractions were so strong she feared her daughter would be born in advance of reaching the hospital.

Once at hospital Ms X was immediately transferred to triage where she was examined by a midwife who performed an initial assessment and deemed Ms X to be in early labour, suggesting it was likely to be a significant time before the baby was born. Ms X experienced extreme pain with each contraction and, as such, the midwife recommended a bath but within a very short period of time Ms X advised that she felt pressure and a strong desire to push. The midwife failed to perform a further examination and reiterated that she was a long way off delivery. Instead Ms X was asked to return to her bed in triage.

Ms X followed the advice of the midwife but upon reaching the bed she felt a very strong contraction, causing her to bend forwards on to the bed. Ms X then promptly delivered Baby X from standing height onto the floor of the triage unit.

Baby X was taken to Transitional Care, following which she was subsequently diagnosed with a ping pong fracture to her skull. Ms X and her partner were also affected mentally having witnessed such a traumatic and distressing delivery and fearing for their baby’s life. Thankfully Baby X suffered no long term consequences as a result of the fracture at birth.

Wolferstans investigated each of their claims and, after receiving supportive independent medical expert evidence, proceeded to negotiate settlement with the Defendant Trust.

Baby X was ultimately awarded £8,000 for her injury. As a result of witnessing the traumatic birth, Ms X was awarded £20,000 and her partner was awarded £5,000.


Damages of £45,000 awarded for anaesthetic awareness during caesarean section

Ms D went into labour on 10 August 2010 and visited the Milton Keynes Hospital (Milton Keynes Hospital NHs Foundation Trust) 3-4am. She was examined and advised to go home as she was only 1cm dilated at this time.

Ms Down returned to the hospital later that night where she was admitted and an examination performed which revealed she was now 4cm dilated.

After this time Ms D was examined by a midwife who advised she was fully dilated and to begin pushing. Ms D then pushed for over an hour during which time she lost a significant amount of blood. After pushing for a few minutes Ms D felt something was wrong but despite expressing her concerns to the midwife was reassured.

After an hour of pushing Ms D was advised that she was not progressing as expected and that they were unable to identify whether her waters had broken. Ms D assured them that her waters had broken earlier that day and on a further examination Ms D was then informed that she was not fully dilated. Ms D was told that her cervix was now extremely swollen as she had been pushing when not fully dilated and as a result was unlikely to dilate any further.

Despite this Ms D was then placed on hormone drugs to induce contractions for 6-7 hours and at this time was administered an epidural.

After 7 hours Ms D was re examined and advised that she had not dilated any further. The midwives then advised they wished to break her waters and encourage a natural birth. However, the baby subsequently became distressed and Ms D was taken to theatre for a caesarean section although she had to wait 5 hours before surgery was performed.

During this time Ms D’s epidural was topped up on four or five occasions. After this the midwife refused to top it up further, instead advising that Ms D would receive a spinal block in theatre.

By the time Ms D was taken to theatre the epidural had worn off on her stomach and she could feel every contraction, although her legs and feet were still numb.

Ms D was given a spinal block and then asked if she could feel her toes. She advised she couldn’t but felt this was because the epidural was still effective.

On performing the caesarean section Ms D experienced extreme pain and advised the surgeon she could feel the incision he was making. It was not until the baby had been delivered and Ms D was being stitched up that the surgeon appreciated she was in severe pain and a general anaesthetic was administered.

Wolferstans investigated this matter further and submitted our allegations of negligence to the Defendant Hospital. The Defendant completed denied all liability following which we submitted an offer in settlement of Ms D’s claim. We were ultimately able to agree the sum of £45,000.00 in full and final settlement for the pain Ms D experienced and the psychiatric injury she suffered as a result of this traumatic experience. The claim was advanced in relation to the pain and psychiatric injury sustained not only as a result of the anaesthetic awareness during the labour but also as a result of the delay in performing the caesarean section.


Medication and Prescription Error Claims


Misprescription Of Medicine For Epilepsy

Mr N, a 70 year old gentleman, who suffers from epilepsy had been prescribed Clonazepam 0.5mg tablets by his GP on a repeat prescription. He was required to take two tablets in the morning and two tablets in the evening.

Mr N had also undergone heart valve surgery in 1993 and was required to take Warfarin every day to help control his INR levels.

On 28 November 2017, Mr N received his repeat prescription of Clonazepam from Well Pharmacy (the Pharmacy). The medication was delivered to his home address by the Pharmacy.

Mr N started taking the medication immediately.

Within a short while Mr N started to feel unwell and was not his normal self. He felt nauseous and started experiencing bouts of severe diarrhoea. He also felt extremely drowsy and his legs were very weak.

Mr N was unable to mobilise very easily and spent most of his time in bed.

Mr N has his INR levels monitored on a weekly basis and his normal range falls within the parameters of 3.1 to 3.5. This is fairly consistent and rarely changes from week to week.

On 6 December 2017, Mr N’s INR level had risen to 5.1 and continued to rise until 22 December 2017 when it dropped down to 4.1 (which was still above the normal range).

On 22 December 2017, Mr N became increasingly worried about his deteriorating health and asked a friend if she could research the name of the medication that he had been taking for his epilepsy on the internet. He had noticed previously that the name of the medication on the box was different to the name on the label (the name on the box was Colchicine, whereas the name on the label was Clonazepam), but being severely dyslexic he thought that this was simply a different name/trade mark name for the medication that he usually takes.

Mr N was advised by his friend that the medication that he had been provided with was used to treat gout rather than epilepsy. Mr N then looked at the information pamphlet inside the box and it said that the medication should be used with caution in situations where the patient is over the age of 65 and is taking anticoagulation medication.

Mr N telephoned 111 and sought their advice. An ambulance was summoned and Mr N was taken to Torbay Hospital.

Mr N was admitted to the ward whilst attempts were made to stabilise his INR levels.

Mr N’s INR level eventually returned to normal on 4 January 2018 when he was discharged home.

Wolferstans were pleased to represent Mr N in bringing a clinical negligence claim against Bestway Panacea Healthcare Ltd (the proprietors of Well Pharmacy) in connection with the injuries that Mr N sustained as result of the prescription error. Fortunately, Mr N did not suffer any long-term consequences as a result of the error.

Mr N received damages in the sum of £5,500, plus payment of his legal costs.


Near Death Administration Of Penicillin

Mr S, a 60 year old man, underwent a right carpal tunnel release operation by the Defendant, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. Shortly after the operation Mr S started to develop pins and needles in his left and right hand as well as down both his legs. This affected his grip, sense of touch and balance.

An MRI scan showed complex spinal mass which was the cause of Mr S’s symptoms and required urgent life saving surgery. At Mr S’ pre-operative assessment he advised his treating doctor of allergy to penicillin and was given a red wrist band to wear during the surgery to alert the doctors to the allergy. Unfortunately, a dose of penicillin based antibiotics was administered just before the anaesthetic and Mr S experienced an immediate anaphylactic type reaction. Despite attempts to combat the reaction with adrenaline, Mr S suffered a cardiac arrest which required resuscitation.

Mr S instructed Wolferstans approximately one year after the injury as he still required the initial surgery, which had naturally caused great distress as well as residual physical and cognitive problems he suffered as a consequence of the cardiac arrest.

We obtained supportive expert evidence who confirmed there were a wide range of non-penicillin based antibiotics which could have been prescribed which would have avoided Mr S’ reaction and subsequent cardiac arrest.

A formal letter was served upon the Defendant setting out all the allegations of negligence in Mr S’ case. The Defendant Trust admitted they were negligent in administering the antibiotics, but they denied this had caused Mr S’ injuries.

In spite of the denial, a satisfactory settlement was reached in the sum of £25,000 plus legal costs to compensate Mr S for the stress of additional surgery and for his residue difficulties as a result of the Defendant’s negligence.


£20,000 In Compensation Awarded To Widow Following Death Of Husband

Mr M was admitted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital on 17 September 2009 feeling generally unwell and was initially treated with antibiotics as he was prone to chest and urine infections.

Whilst in hospital Mr M became very confused and disorientated which his family were advised was due to a suspected urine infection. On 24 September 2009 following a seizure the family were advised he was suffering with a urine infection.

On 25 September 2009 Mr M was placed on a saline drip to be administered over 12 hours. Within 45 minutes of the drip being operational Mr M’s family noticed that the bag was 2/3 to ¾ empty and could see that the fluid was running constantly, rather than being a steady drip.

Mr M’s wife located his consultant who stopped the drip immediately and admitted it was running too fast.

That evening on visiting Mr M his family were concerned that his chest appeared to be wheezy and ‘bubbling’ and mentioned this to one of the nurses on duty.

The following day the family again expressed their concern as Mr M’s chest was bubbling and later that evening telephoned the ward to express their concern.

On Monday 28 September Mr M was taken for an x ray.

On 1 October Mr M’s family visited and were concerned that he was distressed, uncomfortable and had problems with his breathing. His family were advised that he had pneumonia which was getting worse and that he was seriously ill.

Mr M sadly passed away two days later at the age of 83. Mr M’s cause of death on his death certificate was Bronchial pneumonia. Mrs M pursued this claim on his behalf alleging that the Defendant’s negligence caused Mr M to pass away two years prematurely.

Wolferstans investigated this matter further and alleged that the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust were negligent in administering the saline drip causing fluid retention which Mr M was unable to compensate for given his underlying heart disease. Despite a denial of liability Wolferstans were able to negotiate with the Defendant hospital a settlement of £20,000.00 for Mrs M.


Meningitis


Delay in diagnosis of Meningitis

The Claimant, child B, was born in good condition and without complication. At the age of one, child B went to bed but child B’s mother notes he was unsettled and his hands were rather cold. After putting an extra blanket on his bed child B remained restless. In the night child B started to vomit and child B’s mother telephoned the out of hours doctor, the Defendant, where a summary of child B’s symptoms was taken. Advice was given to give child B a bath and a call back was arranged for one hours time.

An hour later the Defendant called child B’s mother back where a rash was then noted, but child B’s temperature had dropped and he seemed calmer. Further advice was given that the rash was more than likely related to the symptoms of a cold and if the temperature increased, to place back in the bath. By morning, the rash had spread to child B’s face and tummy.

An ambulance was called and child B was taken to hospital immediately and upon admittance, a diagnosis was made of meningococcal septicaemia. Child B’s condition deteriorated rapidly and critically with multi-organ system failures which resulted in amputation of the digits in his lower limbs and severe scarring on child B’s lower body.

Liability was denied by the Defendant and court proceedings were issued in an attempt to reach a conclusion. A round table meeting was arranged with Defendant to discuss the liability aspects of the case which was successful in achieving a 90/10 liability split in child B’s favour. Child B’s case was then able to proceed on the basis of assessing quantum, the care that child B is likely to need for the rest of his and any rehabilitation and equipment to help child B to live the most independent life he can.


Mental Health


£950,000 In Compensation Awarded For The Failure To Recognise And Medicate Symptoms Of Psychosis And Schizophrenia Resulting In An Attempted Suicide

Mrs J has a significant history of psychiatric illness, predominantly depression and psychosis. She first received medical treatment for this condition in or about September 1988 following the birth of her second child. At this time she was admitted to St Lawrence’s Hospital for treatment. After she was discharged from hospital she attended St Lawrence’s Hospital as an outpatient until May 1989 at which time she was readmitted for several months.

Following Mrs J’s second admission to St Lawrence’s Hospital, she was placed on anti-psychotics for approximately eighteen months after which she remained off them for a period of two years until she suffered a further breakdown following the birth of her third child.

Some years ago it was determined that Melleril was an effective anti-psychotic for her and during the subsequent years, her mental health was always stable when she was taking Melleril. Indeed, it was found that Melleril was effective for her at very low doses. By January 2001 Mrs J was on 20 mg of Melleril a day.

Towards the end of 2000 the Chief Medical Officer issued a warning in relation to Melleril, regarding concerns over the safe use of the drug for elderly patients with heart problems. When Mrs J next sought a repeat prescription of Melleril from her GP, she was advised that she needed an appointment with Dr Morice. On that occasion, you explained the position to her and arranged for her to have an ECG to check her heart. The results were completely normal and you advised her that it was perfectly safe for her to stay on Melleril.

On 15 January 2001, Mrs J attended an appointment with her Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Owen, who advised her that he intended to stop her prescription of Melleril. She indicated that she did not wish to come off Melleril because it was beneficial for her and that she always became ill when she had stopped taking it in the past. In addition, Mrs J specifically advised Dr Owen that she had been under a great deal of stress over the past 3 months and felt that it was not a good time to stop taking Melleril. Mrs J informed Dr Owen that her GP had performed an ECG and had told her she could continue taking the Melleril as her results were entirely normal. However, Dr Owen insisted that she stopped taking Melleril and advised her to do so immediately. After some discussion, he agreed that she should withdraw from its use over a period of 7 days.

Mrs J’s mental health deteriorated rapidly after she stopped taking Melleril. She immediately became aware that she was unable to sleep and became very anxious. Mrs J contacted the surgery and was prescribed Zopiclone on 30 January.

Mrs J attended appointments with with her GP, Dr Morice on 1 and 13 February 2001. Dr Morice attempted to speak to Dr Owen whilst Mrs J was with him on 13 February, but was unable to do so. However, Dr Morice spoke with him subsequently on the telephone, as a result of which Mrs J was provided with a prescription for Flupenthixol.

Mrs J started taking Flupenthixol on the 13 February, but it had no immediate positive effect and on 16 February, she walked from her home to the bridge over the A30 at Launceston and acting on the instructions of voices which she had heard and believing that if she jumped she would be caught in mid air by an aeroplane, she jumped from the bridge. Mrs J has reaffirmed on a number of occasions that she was not attempting to commit suicide.

Mrs J fell 40 to 50 feet, sustaining very severe physical injuries. As a result, she has undergone a below knee amputation of her left leg and has suffered innumerable other orthopaedic and internal injuries and is in constant pain. She has recently undergone the performance of a colostomy and a hysterectomy. She also has to self-catheterise for the remainder of her life and suffers numerous urinary tract infections.

She continues to take Flupenthixol and her mental health is currently stable but her psychological state has been adversely affected due to her current position.

We alleged that when Mrs J presented to Dr Morice on 1 February 2001 he failed to enquire into Mrs J’s mental state, in particular whether she had any formal psychotic and schizophrenic symptoms. Specifically he failed to discuss these symptoms despite Mrs J’s multiple previous schizophrenic relapses and her previously experienced symptoms of auditory hallucinations, thought insertion and broadcasting. He also failed to recognise that Mrs J’s sleep deprivation was a clear sign of her experiencing a schizophrenic relapse. When Mrs J had previously relapsed she had always suffered from sleep deprivation early on in the relapse period.

There was a further failure to ensure that he reviewed Mrs J within seven days to determine whether her condition had further deteriorated and that he failed to contact Dr Owen prior to 13 February 2001 despite Mrs J displaying signs of distress and formal psychotic and schizophrenic symptoms.

We also alleged that there was a failure by Dr Morice to advise Dr Owen on the telephone on 13 February 2001 of the severity of Mrs J’s condition and to properly describe the nature and extent of the signs and symptoms displayed by Mrs J during his interview with her earlier that day, such that Dr Owen would have prescribed an appropriate effective antipsychotic medication.

We alleged that as a result of all the failings listed above, Mrs J suffered a relapse in her condition which directly resulted in her jumping from the bridge over the A30 thereby sustaining severe physical injuries. Had the correct enquired been made into Mrs J’s mental state and/or recognised that she was displaying formal psychotic and schizophrenic symptoms Dr Morice would have contacted Dr Owen prior to 13 February 2001 and Mrs J would have been placed on Flupenthixol or other appropriate medication at an earlier stage, before her mental state had deteriorated to such an extent that it was too late for the medication to have any effect.

We were able to negotiate a settlement of £950,000.


£185,000 Paid To Partner Of Deceased Who Died While Detained Under The Mental Health Act

Mr T and his partner Mr X had been cohabiting for a number of years. Mr X was also the main carer for Mr T who had undergone spinal fusion surgery some years previously. Mr X had a history of mental health problems which were depressive in nature.

Mr X’s mental health started to deteriorate significantly. He was detained under the Mental Health Act at Bushey Fields Hospital and Mr X was assessed as not having capacity nor insight to his illness. However, the following evening an assessment by the duty doctor did not indicate any self harm risk. Sadly, later that evening Mr X committed suicide. The Trust undertook a Serious Untoward Incident investigation which highlighted a number of failings in the care of Mr X.

Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust admitted liability but wanted proof of Mr T and Mr X’s relationship and the level of care that Mr T required. Wolferstans assisted Mr T to make a successful claim for dependency as he had relied on Mr X for full time personal care due to his back injuries. A claim was also made under the Human Rights Act 1998 for a breach of the Right to Life.


Misdiagnosis


Delayed Diagnosis Of Testicular Torsion

Mr E, a 58 year old gentleman, attended Derriford Hospital (which comes under the auspices of University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust) on 14 April 2015 suffering from intense pain in his groin and back. He had originally attended the Minor Injuries Unit at Tavistock General Hospital earlier that morning and an ambulance had been summoned to take him to Derriford Hospital.

When Mr E arrived at the Accident and Emergency Department, Derriford Hospital he was seen first by the Triage Nurse and then a Student Nurse.

Shortly after this, Mr E was seen by a junior doctor who carried out an examination and noted that Mr E’s left testicle was extremely swollen and tender. His impression was that Mr E was suffering from acute epididymo-orchitis. A surgical opinion was then sought from a senior doctor who examined Mr E and also noted that the left testicle was swollen and tender.

A diagnosis of acute epididymo-orchitis was confirmed and Mr E was prescribed Levofloxacin and Oramorph and discharged home.

On 16 April 2015, Mr E telephoned his GP complaining of on-going pain in his left testicle. He also pointed out that the Oramorph that he had been prescribed was causing him to feel nauseous and light headed. He was advised to continue with the Levofloxacin, but to stop taking the Oramorph and take Co-codamol instead.

On 17 April 2015, Mr E attended his GP because things were not improving. His left testicle was still very swollen and was increasing in size. The pain had also intensified despite taking the medication that had been prescribed by the hospital. The GP decided to change the Levofloxacin prescription to Ciprofloxacin.

On 20 April 2015, Mr E attended his General Practitioner (who was not the same doctor that he had seen on 17 April 2015) because the pain in his left testicle was getting worse and his testicle had almost doubled in size. Mr E was referred immediately to the Surgical Assessment Unit at Derriford Hospital because there was a possibility that he might be suffering from a testicular torsion.

When Mr E arrived in the Surgical Assessment Unit, he was examined by the on-call doctor who noted that the left testicular skin was erythematous and exquisitely tender to palpate with indurated skin. The plan was to place Mr E on IV fluids with antibiotics and analgesia and arrange for an ultrasound scan to be performed.

Following the results of the ultrasound scan, it was revealed that Mr E’s left testicle had effectively died (due to a lack of blood supply) and would need to be removed as soon as possible.

A left orchidectomy was performed later that day and Mr E was discharged home on 21 April 2015.

Mr E went on to develop a haematoma in the left side of his scrotum which caused him occasional pain and discomfort.

Wolferstans recognised immediately that Mr E’s claim was worth pursuing and obtained expert evidence on both breach of duty and causation of injury which was supportive. The Defendant admitted liability at the first opportunity and the case was settled for £16,000, plus payment of Mr E’s legal costs.


£3,500 Damages For Delay In Diagnosing Blood Clot

Ms N was diagnosed at the age of 24 with insulin dependent diabetes.

During the course of 2006 and 2007 Ms N had problems with her diabetes particularly complaining of pain in her left arm.

In November 2009, Ms N attended her GP surgery complaining of unbearable pain in her left hand and fingers which developed two days ago. She was taking a strong pain killer for this which she had stopped recently as it was making her sleepy. Her left hand was swollen and warm and the diagnosis was of a possible infection and she was treated on this occasion with antibiotics.

Three days later, Ms N returned to her GP complaining of worsening pain and swelling in her left hand which was now extremely tender with a rash on her wrist and forearm extending up her left arm, accompanied with crippling pain and numbness. On this occasion her GP arranged for Ms N to be seen at the Accident & Emergency Department at Derriford Hospital.

Ms N was examined by a Registrar who noted she had a slight swelling of her left hand. The Registrar advised that all joints in Ms N’s left upper arm were normal and the impression was that of neuropathic pain.

In early December 2009 Ms N attended her GP and was admitted again as an emergency to the Defendant Hospital. Ms N was examined by a Doctor and she was diagnosed with an ischaemic hand caused by an insufficient supply of blood to the hand and she was admitted for treatment which involved Heparin infusion.

Ms N subsequently underwent a left arm angiogram where a blood clot was seen in the artery and Ms N later underwent surgery to explore this further in order to remove the clot. This was unfortunately unsuccessful and Ms N had to undergo bypass surgery. Following the operation, Ms N continued to experience ongoing pain and numbness in her left arm and hand.

Wolferstans investigated this matter under a Conditional Fee Agreement and obtained supportive evidence that Ms N’s blood clot should have been diagnosed when she first presented to the Defendant Hospital, although the delay in treatment had no impact upon her treatment and prognosis. Wolferstans entered into negotiations with the Defendant and were able to agree a settlement of £3,000.00 for the three week period of pain and suffering caused by the failure of the hospital to diagnose Ms N’s condition.


Nerve Damage


£275,000 Recovered For Accessory Nerve Palsy

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mrs X who asked us to investigate a claim against the North Bristol NHS Trust after suffering an accessory nerve palsy.

Mrs X presented to her GP in April 2011 with a lesion on the side of her neck. She was referred to a Dermatologist who recommended urgent removal of the lesion and she therefore subsequently underwent surgery in August 2011.

Following the procedure Mrs X complained of stiffness and pain on the left side of her neck, radiating into her shoulder. She raised concerns and was initially referred for physiotherapy before she was eventually diagnosed with left accessory nerve palsy.

Mrs X underwent exploratory surgery, following which she was advised that the accessory nerve in her left arm had been divided and, due to the time which had elapsed since the damage had occurred, there was no restorative treatment available.

Mrs X was left with permanent, significant damage and ongoing severe disability to her left shoulder and arm, which drastically impacted upon her day to day life.

Wolferstans investigated the claim and obtained supportive independent medical expert evidence which confirmed that the damage to Mrs X’s accessory nerve was as a direct result of a failure of care by the treating surgeon during the removal of the lesion from her neck. The Defendant admitted breach of duty and causation for the nerve injury and subsequent muscle loss.

Wolferstans continued to investigate the claim and were able to negotiate settlement in the sum of £275,000 for Mrs X.


Never Events


Retained Swabs

Mr Lake, a 75 year old gentleman, was admitted to the Cardiac Ward at Derriford Hospital (which falls under the auspices of University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust) having suffered a cardiac arrest at home.

Shortly after his admission, Mr Lake underwent a quintuple bypass operation.

Following surgery, Mr Lake did not appear to be recovering as quickly as he should. He was extremely lethargic and could not muster the strength to get out of bed.

Numerous chest x-rays were arranged which suggested that Mr Lake was suffering from hospital acquired pneumonia.

Mr Lake then underwent a CT scan which revealed several foreign bodies present in the chest cavity.

An emergency operation was arranged and 4 retained swabs were discovered and removed from the chest cavity.

Following the second operation, Mr Lake developed a wound infection and was placed on intravenous antibiotics.

Mr Lake’s condition gradually improved as soon as the retained swabs had been removed.

Wolferstans were instructed shortly after Mr Lake was discharged from hospital and following a review of the Defendant Trust’s untoward incident investigation documentation, proceeded straight to a Letter of Claim. An admission of liability was made relatively quickly and damages in the sum of £20,000 were secured, plus payment of Mr Lake’s legal costs.


£10,000 Recovered For Incorrect Lens Inserted Into The Claimant’s Eye

In 2007 Mrs C was advised that she had a cataract developing over her eye; however this did not start to impact on her vision until 2012, when she was told she would require surgery.

Mrs C underwent surgery in 2012 at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth. Shortly before the surgery the consultant advised Mrs C that he had reviewed her notes and she required a different lens to that which he had been planning to insert and reassured her that this would improve her vision.

Mrs C’s vision did not improve after the surgery. At her follow up appointment Mrs C reported that her vision had not improved. Although her vision was not worse, she had been expecting to be able to see better at a distance. Mrs C was asked at her follow up appointment to look at the chart and to cover her right eye. Mrs C could was unable to read any of the letters.

Mrs C was advised she would need a subsequent operation on her right eye to ‘even out’ her vision and this would resolve her problems. At this point Mrs C had to cover one eye to see long distance and one eye to read up close.

In March 2013 Mrs C went for surgery on her right eye. She was told after the operation she needed new glasses, however when she went to collect them, the dispensing optician queried the prescription advising it did not look correct. Mrs C struggled with her vision after her second operation; she would constantly drop things or accidentally cut herself as she could not see properly. Mrs C stopped going out of the house as she was so concerned about her vision.

Mrs C attended a post operative appointment in April 2013 with her original surgeon, who asked her how she was. Mrs C told him that she was not coping, she was cutting things, missing things and that her vision was even worse after the second operation.

Mrs C’s surgeon subsequently admitted that a mistake had been made during the first operation where the lens of another patient, with the same surname had been fitted during the first operation.

Mrs C then underwent a ‘piggy back operation’ where the correct lens was fitted on top of the old lens in her left eye.

Mrs C attended a follow up operation in September 2013 and was informed that her vision was now 20:20. As part of Wolferstans’ investigation a report was obtained on behalf of Mrs C that confirmed there would be no long term effects on her vision. In December 2014 Mrs C’s claim was settled for £10,000 against Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.


Nursing


Lack Of Appropriate Training And Substandard Care In The Administration Of A PEG Feed, Leading To Aspiration Pneumonia And Death

Mrs Susan Smith was aged 65 when she sadly passed away. She suffered from Multiple Sclerosis following a diagnosis since April 2000. Her condition had slowly deteriorated until August 2013, when she was fitted with a Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) Feeder, which is passed into a patient’s stomach through the abdominal wall to avoid choking.

She required 24 hour care, which was provided by her husband, at their home address. Mr Smith had the support of care workers which was provided through a company called Kare Plus. These carers would provide Mr Smith with some time for respite during which they would look after his Wife and he could run some errands such as get the shopping.

On the morning of 22 March 2014, Mr Smith arranged to go out for the day, and organised a carer to sit with his Wife while he was away. Mr Smith sought to inform the carers of the setting on the PEG machine to deliver his Wife’s feed at 90ml per hour, over the course of the next 12 hours.

Mr Smith then left early that morning and two carers, arrived at the house where they washed and dressed Mrs Smith and administered her medication.

One carer, then loaded the PEG feeder machine with the Deceased’s food and connected her to the tube. Following an error message and, against their instructions and training they pressed numerous buttons on the machine a number of times which changed the flow and volume of the feed.

Both carers left after 45 minutes and an additional carer, soon arrived at approximately 08:15 am to sit with Mrs Smith as requested. She started to look unwell and the carer waited for the early afternoon Kare Plus staff to arrive. They noted she looked flushed and uncomfortable and took her upstairs for her afternoon lie down. The carers left the premises at approximately 12:45 whereby one noticed Mrs Smith’s condition was continuing to deteriorate and telephoned the office to ask what she should do.

The carer was told by an on call student nurse, that someone would attend Mrs Smith to check her condition and arrived at approximately 13:00. A brief examination, such as temperature and pulse was performed and noted Mrs Smith’s feed had been ingested by 10:30 am that morning, which was too fast.

Mrs Smith was taken via ambulance to the Accident and Emergency Department at Alexandra Hospital.

Mrs Smith sadly died at 02:30 am on 28 March 2014, some six days later from aspiration pneumonia, caused by gastro-oesophageal reflux.

Mr Smith contacted Wolferstans as he thought the carers who had attended his Wife had failed to provide her with appropriate care and this had led to her death. There was an inquest into the death of his Wife, fast approaching and Mr Smith wanted Wolferstans to represent him at this inquest.

Wolferstans agreed to take on Mr Smith’s case and instructed a Barrister who attended the 4 day Inquest and represented Mr Smith. At the Inquest it was found that the carers who had attended Mrs Smith had not been properly trained on PEG feeding devices and as such should not have been sent by the agency to care for someone who needed PEG feeding. Furthermore, it was found that the carers should have immediately stopped once they realised the machine was not working and should have telephoned for advice rather than continuing to administer the feed.

Wolferstans felt that the results of the Inquest were clear and wrote to the Defendant inviting them to make an admission of liability. Unfortunately the Defendant refused to do so and so a Letter of Claim was prepared and sent to them. The Defendant still would not admit liability however made an offer to settle the claim in the sum of £18,000. Wolferstans knew that this was not enough to compensate Mr Smith who had relied on the income of his Wife to run the household. Wolferstans entered into negotiations with the Defendant who agreed to settle the case in the sum of £55,000.


Fall Resulting From Incorrect Nursing Assessment

Mr M, a 93 year old gentleman, who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease and mobility problems was admitted via ambulance to Hinchingbrooke Hospital (which falls under the auspices of North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust) with chest pains and breathlessness.

On arrival at the hospital, Mr M underwent various tests and investigations and was diagnosed with a chest infection. He was then placed on intravenous antibiotics and admitted to the Short Stay Unit.

Mr M’s daughter informed the nursing staff on the Unit that her father should not be left unattended without the use of a walking aid. She explained that her father had suffered a stroke about 3 years ago which had left him unsteady on his feet and susceptible to falls.

Shortly after Mr M was admitted to the Unit, he was placed in an arm chair and left to his own devices. He was not given a walking aid to assist with his mobility.

Mr M attempted to go to the toilet whilst he was on his own and when he reached the cubicle he fell to the floor sustaining injuries to several parts of his body, including his face, hands, legs and back.

A CT scan revealed no significant head injuries other than severe bruising which took approximately three weeks to heal.

Wolferstans were instructed to pursue a clinical negligence claim on behalf of Mr M which involved a relatively quick investigation and settlement in just over seven months. Mr M received £1,500 by way of compensation, plus payment of his legal costs.


Fall in Hospital Leading to a Bleed to the Brain and Death

We were instructed by our client in relation to the avoidable death of her husband after he fell whilst at hospital and subsequently died in April 2013. He had been given a life expectancy of between three and nine months if he had not suffered the fall.

Our client’s husband had been admitted to Derriford Hospital suffering from a chest infection and on-going kidney disease on a background of advanced cancer. During his admission he was not placed in a high observation ward and was denied the use of his walking frame. His illness resulted in confusion and disorientation.

On 5 April 2013, at approximately 11.20pm, whilst on the ward at Derriford Hospital he was seen by a healthcare assistant who watched him attempt to mobilise to use a toilet but did not assist or take any action. It was noted that he was subsequently found by another healthcare assistant in the toilet, having fallen. It had previously been noted that his mobility and stability were poor but a formal risk assessment had not been conducted. On the night of April 6, he fell again. His records stated that a loud crash was heard from the end of the corridor. It was also noted that he had left the bed and whilst he had been advised to use the call bell, due to his state of confusion was attempting to return to a different ward. The impact of the fall was noted as being severe, a medium grade incident and that there was a slight possibility of it recurring. Unfortunately he had hit his head during the fall.

A CT scan of his head showed a left subdural haematoma with a significant midline shift. Following a neurological review, it was decided that he was not suitable to undergo surgery to relieve the developing haematoma, or bleed to the brain. On April 10, 2013, sadly he suffered a fit overnight. A further CT scan showed fluid around the bleed on his brain. On April 12, our client was informed that treatment was no longer assisting and so it was withdrawn. Our client’s husband sadly died at 7.30pm that evening.

Our client brought an action against University Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust alleging that it was negligent in failing (i) to identify that X was at very high risk of falling; (ii) to carry out a risk assessment on admission or after the first fall or put a care plan in place; (iii) to ensure X was continually observed and supervised and equipment in place to assist in the event of a fall, in addition to being denied the use of a walking frame and failing to assess and establish X’s mental capacity and pre-existing conditions alongside the high risk of intracranial bleeding due to his medication.

Liability was admitted.

We achieved an out of court settlement for £28,500 total damages plus costs.


Orthopaedic


£50,000 Recovered Due To A Delay In Diagnosis Of A Ruptured Tendon

Wolferstans pursued a claim for Mr X who asked us to investigate a claim against the Tameside General Hospital of the Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

On 5 June 2010 Mr X was at the gym when he felt a sudden pain in his left arm followed by a hot burning sensation. He stopped exercising immediately and returned home to rest.

Later that day he noticed his arm was extremely weak and he had bruising to her upper arm which had spread across his chest by the following morning. Therefore on 7 June 2010 Mr X attended the Accident and Emergency Department at Tameside General Hospital where he was assessed by both a triage nurse and doctor. A somewhat limited physical examination took place before Mr X was diagnosed as having suffered a simple soft tissue injury and was discharged home with no further investigations.

Mr X’s symptoms persisted until he was reviewed by a Orthopaedic Surgeon on 13 July and was diagnosed with a rupture of the pectoralis major tendon from the humeral attachment. Mr X was duly referred to a second surgeon at Stepping Hill Hospital for consideration of surgical repair.

Mr X underwent surgery by way of a left tendon transfer and pectoralis major re-insertion on 12 August 2010 during which it was discovered that the pectoralis major had retracted significantly and there was no obvious tendon to suture back.

Wolferstans investigated Mr X’s claim and expert evidence confirmed that if Mr X had been appropriately examined on 7 June this should have led to the correct diagnosis of a ruptured tendon which would have warranted urgent surgery. With earlier surgery Mr X would have made a full recovery from his injury and would have avoided the pain and suffering in the interim period.

Wolferstans pursued the claim until it was possible to negotiate settlement with the Defendant in the sum of £50,000.


£5,000 in Damages Recovered for Scarring Sustained Following Burn to Leg

In April 2011 Mrs X was kicked by a horse and taken to Accident and Emergency Department at the Defendant Hospital.

Mrs X was diagnosed with a fractured leg and transferred to an orthopaedic ward where she was left in a soft splint for the night as she was advised she would require surgery the following day.

During the night Mrs X was seen by a Doctor who advised that she required a backslab (a hard plaster cast to the back of the leg with swaddling on the front) and she was taken to Accident and Emergency for the same to be applied.

The plaster technician applied the backslab and then transferred Mrs X to the trolley so that she could be taken to x ray to ensure that everything was okay with the plaster.

As Mrs X was being wheeled to the x ray department the plaster on the back of her leg got hotter and hotter. Mrs X questioned whether this was correct as the plaster was hot rather than warm but she was reassured by the nurse that it was normal.

By the time that Mrs X reached the x ray department the temperature was unbearable and she was in agony. She was reviewed by a nurse who immediately returned her to the plaster department.

The plaster technician advised that they should put padding under the plaster and on doing so the heat started to dissipate immediately.

Mrs X was advised that there had been a chemical reaction between the plaster cast and the plastic she had been sitting on and that a cover should have been provided to prevent this.

Mrs X suffered burns to the top of her thigh and has subsequently been left with slight scarring in the form of three scars, each of which is approximately the size of a 10 pence piece.

Wolferstans wrote to the Defendant at an early stage requesting they make an early admission of liability on the basis that Mrs X was not affected by the scarring and that the scarring was not going to need any treatment in the future. We put forward an offer of £5,000 and after consideration by the Defendant, we were able to recover this amount for the pain and suffering during the 6-8 weeks that Mrs X was in plaster and for the scarring she sustained to her thigh.


£2.8 million award for failure to detect osteosarcoma (bone tumour)

On 4 December 1999, Mrs SD attended hospital with a painful right knee having fallen from a ladder. An x-ray was taken and she was found to have a comminuted fracture, she underwent an operation the next day.

Unfortunately, x-rays taken after the operation indicated a worsening of the position. By February 2000, Mrs SD was in a cast brace and by April 2000 was suffering from increased pain and had a fixed flexion deformity. X-rays taken in May 2000 indicated a marked deformity of the right knee. By this time the Mrs SD’s mobility had decreased and her pain had increased.

In June 2004, Mrs SD had a further fall. In February 2005 it was decided that the metal work should be removed to check if the non-union and ongoing problems were due to infection. No infection was found but a benign giant cell tumour was diagnosed.

Between May 2005 and November 2007, Mrs SD underwent various operations on her knee and pelvis. In November 2007 it was confirmed that Mrs SD had a high grade osteosarcoma and she had five course of chemotherapy. In April 2008, Mrs SD underwent a right hemipelvectomy.

Mrs SD went on to develop secondary lung cancer and underwent a thoracotomy and removal of a mass from the right lung in May 2009.

Mrs SD’s previous solicitors had been unable to locate the x-rays from December 1999 which were central to the question of whether the tumour was present in 1999. Wolferstans located x-rays for Mrs SD from 1999-2005. These were subsequently reviewed by an orthopaedic surgeon who confirmed that there was clear evidence of the tumour in 1999.

Wolferstans submitted Particulars of Claim in May 2009 for a claim against Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Trust on the basis that if the tumour had been diagnosed in December 1999, Mrs SD would have been completely cured of her cancer and orthopaedic problems. Initially, the Defendant denied any breach of duty in their Defence. In June 2012 the Defendant admitted breach of duty and causation and the case proceeded to consider quantum.

Quantum reports were obtained from a variety of experts. The case proceeded to experts meetings and a round table following which settlement was reached. The settlement of approximately £2.8 million is a lump sum of £1,852,250 and annual payments for life f £25,000 increasing to £50,000 in 2021.


Missed Dislocation Caused Permanent Injury

62 year old Mr H was at home when he slipped over in his kitchen sustaining an injury to his left shoulder. He attended the Accident and Emergency Department at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust where he was assessed and x-rayed. The x-ray showed Mr H had dislocated his shoulder which was manipulated back into position under analgesia; a follow up x-ray confirmed that the shoulder had been correctly manipulated into position.

Mr H attended the fracture clinic 3 days later complaining of pain and a grinding sensation when he moved his left arm. A sling was recommended as well as physiotherapy and he was reassured that the joint was still in the correct position. Follow up appointments over the next three months where Mr H continued to complain of pain, further physiotherapy was recommended and he was again reassured.

Two months later, Mr H was still in pain and was referred for a CT scan of his shoulder which revealed that the shoulder had re-dislocated some months earlier and was now “set” in an incorrect position. Mr H required surgery and his shoulder recovered well, but he was left with the high possibility of functional compromise in the future. This was complicated further by Mr H’s diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis where the progressive nature of the disease would also impact Mr H’s functionality. The shoulder injury had compromised his ability to self-propel in his wheelchair and so limited his mobility.

We contacted the Defendant Trust to set out our allegations of negligence and to invite them to prepare a response. East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust responded admitting liability for the missed re-dislocation and the risk of future mobility restrictions, but returned with a robust denial all of Mr H’s anticipated mobility issues arguing this was due to his underlying condition and not their negligence.

This remained a contentious point which barred early settlement and Court proceedings were issued and a trial date set. Prior to trial, the Defendant and the Claimant agreed to mediation in an attempt to settle the case, which proved highly successful and secured a settlement for Mr H in the sum of £125,000 which ensured Mr H had to means to pay for the additional care he would need in the future.


Steroid Injection into Shoulder led to Septic Arthritis

At age 28, Miss C attended her GP complaining of pain in her left shoulder. Her GP diagnosed an impingement syndrome and recommended a steroid injection into her shoulder to help with the pain. Over the course of the month Miss C’s arm began to swell and the level of pain increased. It took a number of months and many investigations to confirm that Miss C was suffering from septic arthritis which had been missed by the Accident and Emergency Department and the Orthopaedic Department at Derriford Hospital, part of Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust on a number of occasions.

Miss C was left with very little power in her arm, a loss of movements and was in a severe amount of pain. The medical evidence suggested that Miss C would require a shoulder replacement during the course of her life time and due to the time taken to identify and treat the septic arthritis, the integrity of the replacement would be severely compromised.

Miss C was referred to us by another firm of solicitors who were unable to deal with the matter. Miss C had a history of shoulder problems in the past and it was a difficult case to prove that her ongoing problems were as a result of the delay in diagnosing the Septic Arthritis and not, as alleged by the Defendant, possible symptoms she may have experienced in any event.

The Defendant maintained a full denial of liability on this case, but we fiercely argued Miss C’s case with the assistance of our team of medical experts and our instructed Barrister. Court proceedings were issued and a trial date listed. Just months from the trial date, a mediation meeting was arranged to provide the parties the opportunity to discuss the case face to face and narrow the issues. Thankfully this meeting was a success and we were able to secure Miss C an amazing award in the sum of £350,000. This sum includes not only compensation for the pain and suffering she had to endure, but also her future care needs and the cost of the future shoulder replacements she will inevitably need.


£45,000 recovered for failure to diagnose fractured thumb

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mr X who asked us to investigate a claim against the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust due to a failure to diagnose a displaced fracture of his thumb.

In September 2011 Mr X fell from a ladder, injuring his right thumb. His thumb remained swollen and painful after two weeks’ rest and self medication so he attended the minor injuries unit at Paignton Hospital. Mr X was examined but no comparison was made to his left, non injured thumb. Mr X was discharged with advice for management of a sprain and no x-ray was deemed necessary.

Mr X’s right thumb failed to improve thereafter and he was unable to return to work. As such, he saw his GP in October who referred him for an x-ray at Brixham Hospital and this x-ray revealed a displaced Bennett’s fracture at the base of the right first metacarpal.

Mr X was then assessed by a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon in November 2011 where he was advised that no further treatment would be recommended due to the length of time which had elapsed from the time of the initial injury. A second opinion was sought following which Mr X was advised that if his injury had been detected sooner it would have been treated in a cast or with surgery but that the delay now meant that no treatment would improve his condition and prognosis.

Mr X has been left with ongoing aching and discomfort.

Wolferstans investigated the claim and, after receiving supportive independent medical expert evidence, served a Letter of Claim on the Defendant. The Defendant Trust denied liability but our expert evidence remained unchanged in light of their denial and Court proceedings were issued against the Defendant. The case progressed until expert evidence was served upon the Defendant, following a Part 36 offer was received from the Defendant in the sum of £35,000. After further negotiation the claim was eventually settled in the sum of £45,000.


Pressure Sores


£50,000 In Damages Recovered For Pressure Sores Sustained In Hospital

Mrs A suffers from MS and is wheelchair dependant. In September 2008 Mrs A was admitted to Derriford Hospital, Plymouth for treatment of a bladder infection.

The day after her admission Mrs A’s husband visited to find she was still fully clothed from the day before. Staff were unable to locate the appropriate equipment to mobilise Mrs A and as a result she remained in bed for three days during which time she developed pressure sores on her ankles.

Mrs A was then transferred to another ward where staff on this occasion moved her from her bed to a wheelchair using a hoist. However, due to the staff being concerned that they would be unable to get the hoist sling back on if they removed it from underneath her they left it there whilst she was sat in the wheelchair.

Mrs A subsequently developed a pressure sore on her leg, caused by the webbing strap on the sling.

Following discharge two days later, Mrs A required daily dressing of the sores by district nurses and was unable to wear shoes for the eight months during which it took the pressure sores to heal on her ankles.

Despite treatment the pressure sore on her thigh deteriorated and Mrs A also required surgery to repair the same leaving her with a 29 inch scar.

Wolferstans investigated this matter and alleged that the Defendant Hospital was negligent in failing to prepare a comprehensive mobility care plan specific to wheelchair users, failing to undertake preventative measures following a test which revealed Mrs A was at a high risk of developing a pressure sore and for failing to comply with the NICE guidance (guidelines which set the standards for high quality healthcare).

Wolferstans were able to agree a settlement for the client of £50,000 following an admission from Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust that they were in breach of their duty of care towards Mrs A and that as a result of this breach, Mrs A sustained pressure sores.


Psychiatric Injury


£20,000 Recovered In Stillbirth Claim

Wolferstans were instructed to investigate a claim on behalf of Mrs X against the University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust in respect of Derriford Hospital’s management of the labour and delivery of her second child resulting in a stillbirth.

Mrs X fell pregnant with her second child in February 2012. She was referred to a Consultant due to injuries sustained during her first pregnancy but it was decided that this second pregnancy could continue with midwifery led care with a plan to review at 37 weeks gestation to discuss the possibility of an elective caesarean section.

On 7 October 2012 Mrs X became concerned by reduced fetal movements but she was discharged following a CTG trace.

On 10 October Mrs X’s waters broke and she was admitted to hospital before being transferred to the labour ward on 11 October. A CTG trace performed that day was suspicious on numerous occasions and, as such, Mrs X was reviewed by a Registrar at 10:45 am who deemed that no intervention was necessary at that time but ordered a further CTG trace within 1 – 2 hours.

Sadly this CTG trace did not actually occur until several hours later at which point no fetal heart rate could be heard. Mrs X was taken for an ultrasound scan which revealed that her baby had tragically passed away and she delivered her daughter stillborn on 12 October 2012.

As a result of the stillbirth, Mrs X suffered psychiatric injuries.

Wolferstans investigated Mrs X’s claim and negotiations with the Defendant resulted in Mrs X being awarded £20,000.


Skull Fracture at Birth and Psychiatric Injuries

£33,000 recovered for fracture sustained at time of delivery and psychiatric injuries

Wolferstans pursued claims on behalf of Baby X and each of her parents against the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust after Baby X sustained a ping pong fracture to her skull at the time of her birth and her parents suffered a psychiatric injury as a result of witnessing the distressing circumstances of her birth.

Ms X’s waters ruptured spontaneously at home on the evening of 7 February 2013 and she began to experience frequent contractions resulting in her attending Derriford Hospital. Her contractions were so strong she feared her daughter would be born in advance of reaching the hospital.

Once at hospital Ms X was immediately transferred to triage where she was examined by a midwife who performed an initial assessment and deemed Ms X to be in early labour, suggesting it was likely to be a significant time before the baby was born. Ms X experienced extreme pain with each contraction and, as such, the midwife recommended a bath but within a very short period of time Ms X advised that she felt pressure and a strong desire to push. The midwife failed to perform a further examination and reiterated that she was a long way off delivery. Instead Ms X was asked to return to her bed in triage.

Ms X followed the advice of the midwife but upon reaching the bed she felt a very strong contraction, causing her to bend forwards on to the bed. Ms X then promptly delivered Baby X from standing height onto the floor of the triage unit.

Baby X was taken to Transitional Care, following which she was subsequently diagnosed with a ping pong fracture to her skull. Ms X and her partner were also affected mentally having witnessed such a traumatic and distressing delivery and fearing for their baby’s life. Thankfully Baby X suffered no long term consequences as a result of the fracture at birth.

Wolferstans investigated each of their claims and, after receiving supportive independent medical expert evidence, proceeded to negotiate settlement with the Defendant Trust.

Baby X was ultimately awarded £8,000 for her injury. As a result of witnessing the traumatic birth, Ms X was awarded £20,000 and her partner was awarded £5,000.


Scarring


Scarring Caused By Injury During Surgery

Our client was a 66-year-old woman, who suffered an injury sustained to her right leg during a hip replacement operation. Our client sustained an open wound which required treatment for ten weeks leaving her with residual scarring and a dip in her lower leg.

On 10 July 2015, our client was admitted to a Derriford Hospital under the care of University Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust to undergo a hip replacement. Her hip surgery was successful, however whilst in recovery she was advised that she had sustained an injury to her lower right leg but the nurses were unsure how that occurred.

The wound to her lower leg was dressed and an attempt had been made to apply steri-strips over the wound. Within three days the strips had become loose and it was decided that the wound could not be stitched.

Upon discharge, our client was visited three times a day by district nursing staff to dress the wound which was required for a period of eight weeks.

Our client wrote to Derriford Hospital to ask the cause of the damage to her leg was advised by letter that a surgical screen had fallen onto her leg during the operation and was the cause of the injury she had sustained.

Our client sustained injury and brought an action against the Trust alleging that it was negligent in failing to ensure that the surgical screen did not fall on her leg.

Liability was admitted.

Our client sustained an open wound to her lower right leg. Our client had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for 24 years which had been well managed by medication, allowing her to continue with an active life. Our client was unable to take medication to manage her rheumatoid arthritis as a result of the open wound, which led to an avoidable deterioration in her symptoms and a temporary decline in her mobility.

Our client was left with a dark purple discoloration around the scar on her lower leg, also resulting in a dip in her shin.

We settled the case in an out of court settlement: £4,000 total damages plus legal costs.


Facial Scarring Sustained Following Operation Reaches Settlement Of £10,000

On 11 March 2008 Mrs L underwent a lifesaving brain operation at the Defendant hospital.

The surgery was a decompression operation of Mrs L’s cerebellum, the part of her brain mainly involved with voluntary motor movement, balance and equilibrium, and muscle tone, which is located just above the brain stem and toward the back of the brain, prolapsed.

Mrs L was face down for several hours whilst the surgery was undertaken. When she woke up her Consultant, who assisted and observed as another colleague did the operation, was “horrified” to find that the right side of her cheek was injured where the airway mask and tubing that was used for her intubation was pressed against her right cheek for the several hours that the operation took.

By the time Mrs L was discharged the wound was weeping because she had suffered from a wound infection. Part of Mrs L’s nasal passage was subsequently damaged and her sense of smell has consequently been affected.

Mrs L eventually saw a Plastic Surgeon at the hospital. However, as the wound was still healing Mrs L was advised that the only treatment available was prescription creams.

Mrs L subsequently moved and was seen at another hospital where she underwent some abrasive treatments and she regularly used creams that were prescribed for her.

The area has undergone some healing. There are, however, various raised lumpy areas remaining. The right side of Mrs L’s face is still uneven and she has some pigmentation problems.

Wolferstans undertook further investigations into this claim and despite all allegations of negligence being denied were able to negotiate a settlement, reflecting the litigation risk to both parties and obtained £10,000 for Mrs L in full and final settlement of her claim for the injury she sustained.


Burns Sustained During Procedure

Mr Seeley, a 59 year old gentleman, was a regular client of the City Chiropractic Clinic (the Clinic).

In November 2016, Mr Seeley attended the Clinic where he was seen by Dr Rahamn in connection with a problem that he was experiencing with his neck.

Dr Rahamn advised Mr Seeley that he was going to perform some cupping therapy, but before he could do this he needed to apply a spirit based liquid to Mr Seeley’s back in order to clean his back and remove any grease. Dr Rahamn then wiped Mr Seeley’s back with a cloth and proceeded to apply the cups. Mr Seeley was laying face down on the couch at the time and as soon as Dr Rahamn lit one of the cups with a naked flame, the spirit caught on fire leaving a burning trail along the top of Mr Seeley’s back and down the inside of his right arm. Mr Seeley shouted out in pain as Dr Rahamn attempted to put the fire out by patting it down with his hand.

Dr Rahamn then proceeded to apply an ultrasound device to Mr Seeley’s back which was extremely painful.

Mr Seeley was intending to go to work after his clinic appointment, but instead he visited his local pharmacy because he was in so much pain. The pharmacist examined Mr Seeley’s back and advised him that he had sustained a burn which needed to be seen by a doctor.

Mr Seeley then attended the Accident and Emergency Department at Derriford Hospital where it was confirmed that he had sustained a severe burn to his back and right arm. The wound was cleaned and dressings were applied.

Mr Seeley attended his GP Surgery for on-going wound management every other day for 2 weeks.

Mr Seeley sought immediate advice from Wolferstans regarding the prospects of pursuing a clinical negligence claim against Dr Rahamn in connection with his injuries. We were delighted to assist Mr Seeley with his claim and succeeded in securing damages in sum of £10,000, plus payment of Mr Seeley’s legal costs, within 7 months of being instructed.


£5,000 in Damages Recovered for Scarring Sustained Following Burn to Leg

In April 2011 Mrs X was kicked by a horse and taken to Accident and Emergency Department at the Defendant Hospital.

Mrs X was diagnosed with a fractured leg and transferred to an orthopaedic ward where she was left in a soft splint for the night as she was advised she would require surgery the following day.

During the night Mrs X was seen by a Doctor who advised that she required a backslab (a hard plaster cast to the back of the leg with swaddling on the front) and she was taken to Accident and Emergency for the same to be applied.

The plaster technician applied the backslab and then transferred Mrs X to the trolley so that she could be taken to x ray to ensure that everything was okay with the plaster.

As Mrs X was being wheeled to the x ray department the plaster on the back of her leg got hotter and hotter. Mrs X questioned whether this was correct as the plaster was hot rather than warm but she was reassured by the nurse that it was normal.

By the time that Mrs X reached the x ray department the temperature was unbearable and she was in agony. She was reviewed by a nurse who immediately returned her to the plaster department.

The plaster technician advised that they should put padding under the plaster and on doing so the heat started to dissipate immediately.

Mrs X was advised that there had been a chemical reaction between the plaster cast and the plastic she had been sitting on and that a cover should have been provided to prevent this.

Mrs X suffered burns to the top of her thigh and has subsequently been left with slight scarring in the form of three scars, each of which is approximately the size of a 10 pence piece.

Wolferstans wrote to the Defendant at an early stage requesting they make an early admission of liability on the basis that Mrs X was not affected by the scarring and that the scarring was not going to need any treatment in the future. We put forward an offer of £5,000 and after consideration by the Defendant, we were able to recover this amount for the pain and suffering during the 6-8 weeks that Mrs X was in plaster and for the scarring she sustained to her thigh.


£10,000 Awarded Following Failure Of Hospital To Advise Patient To Quit Smoking

In early December 2006, Mrs H detected a lump in her right armpit. Due to a history of breast cancer in her family she was naturally concerned and consulted her GP who, on examination, detected a soft, non tender swelling. He recommended a further assessment in 2 weeks at which point a referral was made to hospital but an ultrasound scan and mammography revealed no abnormalities.

In August 2007 Mrs H developed discharge of fluid and blood from her left nipple and was referred to Torbay Hospital where she was seen by a Consultant Breast Surgeon. Having ruled out cancer Mrs H was advised that the problem was caused by inflammation of the milk ducts and that he could do a simple operation to remove them.

In January 2008 Mrs H was told that she would require an operation in order to remove the inflamed milk duct and that this would be a relatively simple procedure with complications being very extremely rare. Whilst there was the risk of nipple loss, this was the very worse case scenario. He also explained that the sensation to Mrs H’s nipple might feel different after the operation. Mrs H’s breasts were a very important part of her body and the thought of losing any sensation was of great concern to her. She therefore returned home to discuss this with her husband and although she had lingering doubts as to whether she should undergo the surgery, she was nevertheless admitted to the Defendant hospital.

She told both the anaesthetist and the surgeon that she was having second thoughts about undergoing surgery and she also voiced her concerns to her nurse. She was informed by her nurse that she could withdraw her consent at any time, up until the operation, but when she then spoke to the Surgeon he explained that whilst it was very unlikely that there would be any changes in her breast if left alone, there was the rare possibility that the problem could turn in to cancer if left. It was this that made Mrs H go ahead with the surgery.

Unfortunately, in the post operative period, Mrs H felt very unwell. She was allowed home later that day but on the following day she felt dizzy and nauseated. She had throbbing pain in her left breast which was constant and unremitting.

By mid January 2008, Mrs H felt so ill that she called her GP surgery, and she made an appointment to see the Practice Nurse on the following day. During this appointment Mrs H’s dressings were taken down by the Practice Nurse and she noted oozing of cloudy and bloody fluid leaking from the left nipple. On the same day, Mrs H was prescribed antibiotics to treat infection.

The next day, Mrs H lost a considerable amount of blood from her left breast and she was referred back to the Defendant hospital by her GP. She was seen later that day and told that she need not take antibiotics as she did not have an infection. He then opened the wound with forceps which led to leakage of a large quantity of serous fluid. At this point, she was asked by the Consultant if she was a smoker and she confirmed that she had smoked since the age of 16 years. She was then informed that smoking was the cause of her problem as smoking causes damages to the ducts behind the nipple leading to recurrent inflammation and the potential for an abscess to form. Mrs H was astonished by this statement. She had informed the anaesthetist that she was a smoker during her per-operative examination and the nurses who completed her pre-operative documentation were also aware of her smoking habit.

Mrs H’s breast eventually healed, but she was left with an unsightly wound and lost her nipple.

Wolferstans pursued a claim which was vigorously denied by South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, on behalf of Torbay Hospital but successfully negotiated a settlement for Mrs H to enable her to pay for reconstructive surgery on her breast.


£25,000 Recovered For Burns And Scarring From Endometrial Ablation

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Miss X who asked us to investigate a claim against the East Kent University NHS Foundation Trust after undergoing a gynaecological procedure which left Miss X with burns and scarring.

Miss X underwent endometrial ablation at the William Harvey Hospital in November 2014. The operation note confirmed that the machine failed during the procedure due to a fluid leak but Miss X advised that the Consultant proceeded with the procedure by overriding the system.

Post operatively Miss X was reviewed and sent home but she was readmitted via the A&E Department the following morning suffering thermal burns around her genitals. Miss X was reassured by the doctor that the superficial burns would heal well and apologised that the burn was not apparent at the end of the ablation the previous day.

Miss X suffered pain and suffering and was left with scarring to the affected area.

Wolferstans investigated the claim and, after receiving supportive independent medical expert evidence, served a Letter of Claim on the Defendant. The Defendant Trust admitted liability and accepted that Miss X had suffered thermal burns during hydrothermal endometrial ablation resulting in pain and suffering.

The Trust initially made a Part 36 offer in the sum of £4,500 which Wolferstans rejected on the basis that Miss X suffered other ongoing complications which affected her bowel and after further investigation and negotiation the claim was settled in the sum of £25,000.


£15,000 Recovered For An Unnecessary Removal Of A Facial Lesion

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mrs X who asked us to investigate a claim against the North Bristol NHS Trust after undergoing an unnecessary excision of a lump from her nose.

In August 2013 Mrs X noticed a pimple type lesion on her nose which did resolve despite treating with creams. The lesion appeared to grow and, as a result, Mrs X presented to her GP who immediately fast-tracked her referral to the plastic surgery department at Frenchay Hospital due to concerns of possible basal cell carcinoma.

Mrs X was assessed in December 2013 and advised that it was unlikely to be a benign diagnosis and therefore the suspicion of basal cell carcinoma remained. Mrs X’s Consultant explained that the lesion needed to be excised and a full thickness skin graft would have to be performed from a donor site on the back of her neck. She questioned the decision to proceed immediately with surgery without performing a biopsy in the first instance but placed her faith in the Consultant’s advice.

Th lesion was excised with a 4mm margin down to the cartilage. Following surgery Mrs X was very unhappy with the appearance of her skin graft as it covered the majority of her nose.

Following excision Mrs X was advised that there was no sign of cancer or other malignancy and the lesion was, in fact, a follicular haematoma which was unexpected and she was promptly discharged from their care.

Mrs X maintained that if she had been informed at the outset of any possible alternative diagnosis other than a basal cell carcinoma she would not have proceeded with the operation as the lesion was significantly smaller and much easier to conceal with makeup than the scar she had been left with following surgery.

Wolferstans were instructed to investigate the claim and, upon receipt of supportive expert evidence, served a Letter of Claim on the Defendant. The Defendant denied liability and Court proceedings were issued and served upon the Defendant, following which the Defendant made a Part 36 offer in the sum of £15,000 which was accepted by Mrs X.


Sepsis


Misdiagnosis And Management Of Sepsis Following A Surgical Complication After The Claimant Underwent Surgery To Her Bowel

The Claimant’s condition deteriorated following surgery consistent with systemic manifestations of a surgical complication. Notwithstanding the suggestion of the surgeon 2 days post surgery to carry out a CT of the abdomen and a CTPA, this was not carried out when the claimant was admitted to the intensive care unit, and instead she was treated for a chest infection.

Once on the intensive care unit it was recorded that the claimant had a persistently elevated respiratory rate, that oxygen saturations were reduced and a there was a substantial drop in serum albumin, but despite this the recommended additional investigations were not carried out. There was then a further deterioration in her condition at which point a CT scan was taken suggesting intra-abdominal collection with gas suggestive of a possible anastomotic leak.

Unfortunately despite several surgeries and repeated admissions to the Intensive Care Unit the Claimant sadly passed away.

The claimant’s husband instructed Wolferstans to investigate the treatment received by the Defendant Trust and our expert was of the view that sepsis was present and should have been diagnosed and treated surgically during the period of the Claimant’s original deterioration following surgery. It was the expert’s opinion that the drop in serum albumin was substantial and was more likely to be associated with abdominal/pelvic sepsis than with a chest infection.

The University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust vigorously denied that any breach of duty had occurred and court proceedings were issued and served and the matter was set down for Trial. Shortly before Trial our expert team at Wolferstans were able to negotiate a 6 figure settlement.


Failure To Identify Pre-Operative Infection Leading To Sepsis

Mr W was born with a congenital defect called hypospadias which did result to occasional difficulties with urinary flow. He was admitted in February 1988 with symptoms of blood in his urine and urine retention but underwent a cytopscopy and urethral dilation which resolve the problems.

On 22 November and 10 December 2012 Mr W suffered two significant urinary tract infections and acute epididymitis due to an E-Coli infection which required antibiotics from his general practitioner.

Following this, Mr W suffered from some ongoing urinary incontinence and therefore his GP referred him to the Urology Clinic at Morriston Hospital.

On 27 January 2014 Mr W was seen by a Consultant Urologist in the Urology Clinic. He underwent a thorough examination and a review of MRI imaging taken in 2013. He had urine dipsticks which showed potential infection markers and he was advised that he would undergo video-dynamic studies. He was also told that he would be reviewed by a continence advisor.

On 4 March 2014 Mr W attended the Urology Clinic to urodynamic investigations but unfortunately the tests could not be completed and the procedure was abandoned due to the level of pain he was in. Mr W was told that he would need to undergo an exploratory procedure under anaesthetic.

Whilst waiting for the referred appointment from the hospital, he suffered a further urinary tract infection and visited by GP on 21 May 2014 where he was prescribed further antibiotics.

Mr W received the referral letter for surgery a year later on 2 March 2015. He attended Morriston Hospital where he underwent an optical urethrotomy and cystoscopy and this revealed an E-coli infection although this was not identified or reported at the time. They could not perform the procedure despite their attempts, and he had no anaesthetic at all. It was an extremely painful procedure and as a result it was abandoned. Mr W was not advised of the presence of the E Coli or any potential infection at the time but told that he was to be admitted on 8 March 2015 for a further procedure.

Mr W was admitted on 8 March 2015 under the care of a different Consultant Urologist, where he consented to the procedure under general anaesthetic. He was told that he needed an urethrotomy to treat a urethral stricture and this should help with the ongoing difficulties.

On 9 March 2015 Mr W underwent an optical urethrotomy and cystoscopy.

When Mr W came out of surgery he asked one consultant if the operation had gone well, and he said that he hoped so, and that he hoped the other consultant had not made any mistakes.

Mr W was sent into recovery and at 6.30pm advised that he felt unwell, and was suffering from chest pains and a fever. Mr W was vomiting and was struggling to breath. Mr W was told he was suffering from post-operative hypotension.

At 7.45pm Mr W was seen by a Specialist Registrar in Urology. He reviewed the records and noted that the E-Coli detected on 2 March 2015 had not been treated. His impression was that he was suffering from urosepsis although Mr W was not told that this was the problem. Mr W was placed in IV antibiotics and the blood results were chased.

Mr W began to feel even more unwell and he was not responding to treatment. The blood results were concerning.

Mr W was seen by the registrar at 10.25pm and whilst the medical records confirm that the impression was that he had urosepsis. Mr W was escalated to the Intensive Care Unit due to his declining condition.

At 11pm he was seen by the Intensive Care 2nd On-Call doctor who recorded that his abdomen was acutely tender and that the likely impression was sepsis.

Mr W was advised that he was suffering from sepsis.

Mr W was discharged from intensive care on 13 March 2015 onto the ward where he was placed on Clexane and referred for physiotherapy.

It was not until 17 March 2015 that the consultant advised Mr W of the E-coli infection. Mr W was told that he needed to remain on antibiotics but that he could go home with a follow up appointment.

Since suffering from sepsis, this has had a profound impact on Mr W.

Mr W was unable to leave the house unless it was absolutely essential. He struggled with attending appointments both due to his ongoing symptoms and the effect it had on his confidence. Mr W suffered from substantial weight loss and a distended stomach. He felt extremely weak.

Mr W continues to suffer from extreme fatigue.

Mr W’s memory has also been affected. He struggles to remember day to day activities. His son is now 9 years old and he simply cannot remember what he needs to do each day.

Mr W’s joints have also become extremely painful. In particular his arms and back are very painful, and he has to clench his fists with the pain. Mr W is undergoing a chronic pain management course due to the problems, but very often he cannot even lift his arms.

Mr W is currently taking medication to help with his symptoms, namely Zomorph, Gabapentin and paracetomol. Mr W started the course in January 2018. Mr W is also under a psychologist within the clinic and they help with the psychology of the pain, mood and coming to terms with the impact sepsis.

Mr W’s mood, anxiety and depression have also been profoundly affected. Mr W visited his GP and was given a prescription of Mirtazapine. The dosage has now been adjusted and it is helping his symptoms.

Liability was admitted.


Delay In Treatment Of Neoplastic Cells Leading To Endometrial Cancer, Substandard Surgery Resulting In Ureter Injury And Causing Sepsis

In April 2014, Mrs E was seen by her GP with a two year history of heavy vaginal bleeding, tiredness, anaemia, B12 and Vitamin D deficiency. She started supplements and an ultrasound was requested. This showed some abnormality, in particular thickened of the endometrium.

Mrs E was referred to the gynaecology department at Montagu Hospital where she attended on

7 July 2014 where she explained she had been suffering from irregular and heavy periods for 2 to 3 years, bleeding twice a month. Medication had not assisted and the deficiencies continued. Swabs were taken.

Mrs E underwent a hysteroscopy, biopsy and polypectomy and was advised that she was to start on Norethisterone.

The diagnosis following the histology analysis was endometrial intraepithelial neoplasia.

Mrs E was reviewed in November 2015 by the Gynaecology Outpatient Clinic where a pipelle biopsy was taken. Mrs E asked about a potential hysterectomy; keen to resolve the problems and future risks. This was declined and Mrs E was placed back on Norethisterone and advised she would be reviewed within 3 months.

Mrs E underwent a hysteroscopy on 21 April 2016. Repeat assessment of endometrial polyps from the Gynaecology Outpatient Clinic at Montagu Hospital showed both cytological and architectural atypia and she was diagnosed with grade 1 endometriod adenocarcinoma. Mrs E was extremely concerned at the diagnosis of endometrial cancer.

The ablation was not performed as the histology from 2014 was thought to be endometrial intraepithelial neoplasia.

Mrs E was reviewed on 24 May 2016 by her gynaecologist and the risks of infection, bleeding, bowel/bladder/ureter damage were explained. A cancer treatment care plan was made and Mrs E was referred for a laparoscopic hysterectomy.

On 16 June 2016 Mrs E underwent total laparoscopic hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and peritoneal washings.

Mrs E was discharged on 17 June 2016 but became unwell at home. She was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary on 20 June 2016 with sharp abdominal back pain and vomiting. The imaging showed a distal left ureteric blockage.

Mrs E underwent an attempted left nephrostomy on 20 June 2016 which was unsuccessful. This was re-attempted on 21 June 2016 but the surgeon could not negotiate the catheter into the bladder across the ureteric injury as there was more or less a complete blockage, and it was confirmed she would need re-implantation.

Mrs E had a long standing nephrostomy bag to allow the ureteric injury to heal. During this time Mrs E suffered from repeat urinary tract infections and was admitted on two occasions with uro-sepsis as a result of the nephrostomy bag.

Mrs E underwent bladder reconfiguration and ureter re-implantation.

A Consultant Gynaecologist was instructed to provide his expert opinion as to whether or not there had been a breach of duty and was supportive of Mrs E’s claim.in relation to a 20 month delay in diagnosis of cancer resulting in the need for a nephrostomy and the urosepsis which developed.

Investigations are ongoing into the value of Mrs E’s claim but following a letter of claim which Wolferstans submitted to the Defendant Trust a full admission was forthcoming and we are now undertaking steps to quantify the claim.


Stillbirth


£20,000 Recovered In Stillbirth Claim

Wolferstans were instructed to investigate a claim on behalf of Mrs X against the University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust in respect of Derriford Hospital’s management of the labour and delivery of her second child resulting in a stillbirth.

Mrs X fell pregnant with her second child in February 2012. She was referred to a Consultant due to injuries sustained during her first pregnancy but it was decided that this second pregnancy could continue with midwifery led care with a plan to review at 37 weeks gestation to discuss the possibility of an elective caesarean section.

On 7 October 2012 Mrs X became concerned by reduced fetal movements but she was discharged following a CTG trace.

On 10 October Mrs X’s waters broke and she was admitted to hospital before being transferred to the labour ward on 11 October. A CTG trace performed that day was suspicious on numerous occasions and, as such, Mrs X was reviewed by a Registrar at 10:45 am who deemed that no intervention was necessary at that time but ordered a further CTG trace within 1 – 2 hours.

Sadly this CTG trace did not actually occur until several hours later at which point no fetal heart rate could be heard. Mrs X was taken for an ultrasound scan which revealed that her baby had tragically passed away and she delivered her daughter stillborn on 12 October 2012.

As a result of the stillbirth, Mrs X suffered psychiatric injuries.

Wolferstans investigated Mrs X’s claim and negotiations with the Defendant resulted in Mrs X being awarded £20,000.


Stroke


Stroke Caused By Negligent Advice Relating To Stopping Anti Coagulation Medicine

We were instructed by our client to investigate the treatment his late wife received which resulted in a stroke.

Our client’s late wife was taking the anticoagulant Warfarin on a daily basis as a result of heart surgery that took place in 1996. She was having her blood checked regularly to monitor her dosage.

In November 2010 she was referred to Derriford Hospital for investigation into rectal bleeding. A rectal exam revealed a polyp and surgery to remove this was arranged for 24 March 2011. She was advised to stop taking her Warfarin 5 days before surgery which she did. The surgery had to be abandoned part way though and the deceased was told to re-start her Warfarin the next day.

On 30 March 2011 her INR levels were checked and found to be low at 1.4.

On 2 April 2011 the deceased suffered a stroke and was admitted to Derriford Hospital via the Accident and Emergency Department. Her INR was checked again and noted to still be low at 1.6.

She was assessed the following day and found to have reduced right sided function as well as right sensory neglect and impaired speech. She was transferred to the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit at Mount Gould Hospital on 11 April 2011.

She underwent a colonoscopy on 24 November 2011 and in preparation for this her Warfarin was stopped again, however, on this occasion it was replaced by Heparin which was only stopped on the day of the procedure. Her INR did not fall below 2 during this time and Warfarin was restarted on 3 December 2011.

Following her stroke, she required a high level of care and assistance as her walking, speech and cognitive ability had all been affected. She went on to suffer further strokes during 2013, the last being on 3 October 2013. Unfortunately, on this occasion she did not recover, and she passed away on 8 October 2013.

Our client brought a claim against Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust alleging that is was negligent in:

1. Advising the deceased to stop taking Warfarin 5 days before the colonoscopy on 24 March 2011;

2. Failing to start the deceased on low molecular weight Heparin in advance of, but excluding, the Colonoscopy on 24 March 2011 and to restart her Warfarin on the evening following that procedure whilst maintaining the Heparin until an adequate INR was achieved;

3. Failing to increase her dose of Warfarin following the colonoscopy of 24 March 2011 and thereafter failing to monitor her INR until adequate anticoagulation was achieved;

4. Failing to take into account adequately or at all the deceased’s significantly increased risk of thrombosis and stroke as a result of her history of mitral valve replacement and atrial fibrillation which necessitated life-long anticoagulation;

5. Exposed her as a high-risk patient to a high risk procedure, without adequate anticoagulation.

Our client’s case was that the above negligence caused his late wife’s stroke on 2 April 2011. Her subsequent strokes were unrelated to the negligence.

We achieved an out of Court settlement for £70,000.00 plus costs.


Surgical Errors


Unnecessary Breast Surgery Leading To Cosmetic Defect

Our client visited her GP concerned over recurrent discomfort in her breast and was referred to the Breast Clinic at Ashford & St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on 18 May 2012.

Our client was referred for mammograms which reported glandular tissue bilaterally. There was a focal area of clustered micro calcifications and a stereotactic biopsy was arranged.

On 6 June 2012 the biopsy was carried out and calcifications were seen. On 12 June 2012 a “Benign Breast” Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT) meeting was held where a right wire-guided excision was recommended.

On 26 September 2012 our client underwent a stereotactic wire localisation of the right breast.

The theatre notes state that the specimen was a “wire guided right wide local excision, right breast – 57g’ and an inferior margin of the right breast which weighed 8 grams, a total of 65g of breast tissue having been removed for the benign specimen. She was reviewed and discharged back into the care of her GP.

Our client suffered symptoms of infection and treatment for the same.

Our client was reviewed by Specialist Registrar, who suggested she would require incision and drainage to open the cavity. She was admitted on 8 October 2012 for surgery which states “opening from incision (armpit) made into cavity. Deep cavity of pus washed with water and hydroperoxide.” The wound was packed and she was discharged.

Our client required daily dressing from District Nurse team for four months.

The expert evidence showed that the biopsy report only calcifications and the diagnostic biopsy should have resulted in a small use of breast tissue. Instead a very large section was removed which was not for diagnostic purposes and did not require removal. Upon further investigation, in fact the surgeon had simply removed fatty breast tissue and the calcification remained in situ. This was unharmful and further procedures were not required to remove the calcification as it was benign.

Had the tissue not been removed, our client would have avoided a very large breast defect which could not be corrected, extending into her armpit and visible through clothing. She would have avoided the persistent infection.

Liability was admitted by the Trust.

The case settled pre issue, 4 weeks before limitation with damages recovered at £35,000.00 plus legal costs.


Scarring Caused By Injury During Surgery

Our client was a 66-year-old woman, who suffered an injury sustained to her right leg during a hip replacement operation. Our client sustained an open wound which required treatment for ten weeks leaving her with residual scarring and a dip in her lower leg.

On 10 July 2015, our client was admitted to a Derriford Hospital under the care of University Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust to undergo a hip replacement. Her hip surgery was successful, however whilst in recovery she was advised that she had sustained an injury to her lower right leg but the nurses were unsure how that occurred.

The wound to her lower leg was dressed and an attempt had been made to apply steri-strips over the wound. Within three days the strips had become loose and it was decided that the wound could not be stitched.

Upon discharge, our client was visited three times a day by district nursing staff to dress the wound which was required for a period of eight weeks.

Our client wrote to Derriford Hospital to ask the cause of the damage to her leg was advised by letter that a surgical screen had fallen onto her leg during the operation and was the cause of the injury she had sustained.

Our client sustained injury and brought an action against the Trust alleging that it was negligent in failing to ensure that the surgical screen did not fall on her leg.

Liability was admitted.

Our client sustained an open wound to her lower right leg. Our client had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for 24 years which had been well managed by medication, allowing her to continue with an active life. Our client was unable to take medication to manage her rheumatoid arthritis as a result of the open wound, which led to an avoidable deterioration in her symptoms and a temporary decline in her mobility.

Our client was left with a dark purple discoloration around the scar on her lower leg, also resulting in a dip in her shin.

We settled the case in an out of court settlement: £4,000 total damages plus legal costs.


Surgical Error Involving The Damage Of The Biliary Tree During A Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

£60,000 awarded for the damage of the biliary tree during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy

Wolferstans accepted instruction to investigate a claim arising out of a negligent laparoscopic cholecystectomy performed on 13th July 2000 at Derriford Hospital. The Claimant was a 71 year old lady at the time of the operation.

In the days following the operation the Claimant complained of abdominal pain and experienced episodes of vomiting. The Claimant was discharged from hospital on 17th July 2000 with a six week follow up appointment. On 21st July 2000 the Claimant went to see her GP because she felt unwell. She was eventually readmitted to Derriford Hospital where tests revealed extensive damage to her biliary tree as a result of the original operation. The Claimant was transferred to the specialist hepatobiliary centre at King’s College Hospital for biliary reconstruction.

Following the reconstructive surgery Mrs Taylor continued to experience problems with stomach pain and required assistance from her family in relation to household chores and personal care for a period of time. The long term prognosis was good.

Mrs Taylor contacted Wolferstans in May 2002.

Investigations were undertaken and we received supportive expert evidence and a Letter of Claim was sent in March 2004 after a Letter of Response was received which denied Breach of Duty of Care and Causation of Injury. A Defence was served denying Breach of Duty of Care and Causation of Injury and directions were given by the Court. However, immediately prior to the exchange of expert evidence the Defendant made a Part 36 offer to settle the claim for a sum of £60,000.00 which was accepted by the Claimant.


Infertility Caused By Cone Biopsy

In November 2004 Mrs X underwent a cervical smear test in November 2004 which was reported as being abnormal and was referred by her GP to the colposcopy clinic at Derriford Hospital.

Mrs X was seen at the Colposcopy Clinic when she underwent an examination and treatment which was in the form of a loop excisional procedure followed by cold coagulation at the base of the lesion. The histology reports were considered and it was determined that Mrs X needed to attend Derriford Hospital for a further procedure, namely a formal knife cone biopsy.

In December 2004, Mrs X was admitted to Derriford Hospital and underwent a cone biopsy procedure. Mrs X had been admitted as a day case but complications occurred during the performance of the cone biopsy procedure and she remained in hospital for 4 days before being discharged home.

The histology report revealed no abnormal tissue whatsoever. Unfortunately, on subsequent examination, it was apparent that far too much tissue had been removed and Mrs X’s cervix had effectively been amputated causing her very significant subsequent gynaecological problems and fertility problems.

Mrs X has subsequently undergone 6 cycles of IUI fertility treatment and 2 courses of IVF treatment, all of which have been unsuccessful.

Wolferstans investigated this case and Court Proceedings were issued due to the Defendant denying liability.

As a result of the Defendant’s denial the case was prepared for trial however Wolferstans suggested a Round Table Meeting with the Defendant to negotiate settlement of the claim and at that meeting various offers were made by the Defendant before we settled the case in the sum of £200,000.


£15,000 Recovered For An Unnecessary Removal Of A Facial Lesion

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mrs X who asked us to investigate a claim against the North Bristol NHS Trust after undergoing an unnecessary excision of a lump from her nose.

In August 2013 Mrs X noticed a pimple type lesion on her nose which did resolve despite treating with creams. The lesion appeared to grow and, as a result, Mrs X presented to her GP who immediately fast-tracked her referral to the plastic surgery department at Frenchay Hospital due to concerns of possible basal cell carcinoma.

Mrs X was assessed in December 2013 and advised that it was unlikely to be a benign diagnosis and therefore the suspicion of basal cell carcinoma remained. Mrs X’s Consultant explained that the lesion needed to be excised and a full thickness skin graft would have to be performed from a donor site on the back of her neck. She questioned the decision to proceed immediately with surgery without performing a biopsy in the first instance but placed her faith in the Consultant’s advice.

Th lesion was excised with a 4mm margin down to the cartilage. Following surgery Mrs X was very unhappy with the appearance of her skin graft as it covered the majority of her nose.

Following excision Mrs X was advised that there was no sign of cancer or other malignancy and the lesion was, in fact, a follicular haematoma which was unexpected and she was promptly discharged from their care.

Mrs X maintained that if she had been informed at the outset of any possible alternative diagnosis other than a basal cell carcinoma she would not have proceeded with the operation as the lesion was significantly smaller and much easier to conceal with makeup than the scar she had been left with following surgery.

Wolferstans were instructed to investigate the claim and, upon receipt of supportive expert evidence, served a Letter of Claim on the Defendant. The Defendant denied liability and Court proceedings were issued and served upon the Defendant, following which the Defendant made a Part 36 offer in the sum of £15,000 which was accepted by Mrs X.


Urology


Infection And Injury Caused By Lithrotripsy To Treat Kidney Stones

Mrs B was admitted to the University Hospital in North Durham as an emergency admission via the out of hours GP in May 2008 with renal colic (abdominal pain commonly caused by kidney stones). At this time an ultrasound scan revealed a 5mm stone in her left kidney and she was discharged soon after with a plan to be reviewed by the urology team.

Between May and August 2008 Mrs B presented to her GP on a number of occasions complaining of urinary tract infections and pains and spasms. She eventually attended an appointment at the urology clinic in September. Tests revealed that the stone had probably fallen into the renal pelvis and an urgent ultrasound scan was performed. The scan was undertaken a week later and revealed a small amount of fluid around the stone and Mrs B was transferred to the Defendant Hospital, as her condition was suitable for a lithotripsy, a procedure which uses shock waves to break up stones in the kidney.

Mrs B was admitted to the lithotripsy unit at the Freeman Hospital for shockwave lithotripsy to her kidney stones in December 2008. Prior to her admission she had been told that a urine sample would be tested for infection and an x-ray performed in light of the fact that Mrs B had recently suffered from a recurrent urinary tract infection. This however did not happen and the lithotripsy was performed.

Mrs B was discharged the same day and was subsequently seen by her out of hours GP with pain on the side of her stomach. She was admitted to the accident and emergency department at the Sunderland Royal Hospital where she was diagnosed with an acutely obstructed left kidney and she urgently required a stent to be inserted. Surgery was performed that day and a large amount of pus with multiple stone fragments were found in the ureter. It was clear that the lithrotripsy had only partially disintegrated the stone and the fragment had blocked the ureter.

Mrs B became very unwell with e-coli in her urine and sepsis and she was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit in late December before being discharged home in early January 2009.

Mrs B suffered permanent scarring to her left kidney and continued to experience fatigue post operatively preventing her from returning to work full time.

Wolferstans investigated this claim and alleged that the Defendant was negligent in failing to undertake an x ray and/or failing to test Mrs B’s urine prior to the lithrotripsy procedure. Further it was alleged that the failure to insert a stent at the time of the lithrotripsy caused a blockage and sepsis. The Defendant made some admissions and we were able to agree a settlement of £80,000.00 for the injury sustained.


£210,000 Recovered For Delay Diagnosing Vasculitis

Wolferstans pursued a claim on behalf of Mrs X who asked us to investigate a claim against the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust due to a delay in diagnosis of vasculitis.

On 13 August 2009 Mrs X was referred by her GP for a chest x-ray having presented with a persistent cough and flu-like illness. She was admitted to Derriford Hospital the following day as a result of coughing up blood.

Various investigations were undertaken, including a CT scan and bronchoscopy. In addition, an antibody screen was performed which revealed possible vasculitis and urine samples also revealed an abnormality.

On 6 November 2009 Mrs X was reviewed by her Consultant who explained the outcome of the CT scan and bronchoscopy but no action was taken in relation to the positive antibody screen or abnormal urine test.

Mrs X continued to present to her GP who noted repeat abnormal urine tests and therefore referred her to the nephrology clinic where she was reviewed in May 2010. Unfortunately the Consultant at the nephrology clinic failed to note the abnormality in the past urine samples and therefore arrangements were merely arranged to review Mrs X after a few months.

Mrs X remained under review of the nephrology clinic at Derriford Hospital and also presented to her GP where further urine samples were taken and on 6 October 2011 her GP noted blood in her urine along with raised protein. The GP referred Mrs X back to the nephrology clinic raising concerns at which point it was noted that she had had a progressive decline in her renal function and that the antibody in 2009 had indicated vasculitis.

Mrs X was immediately referred for a renal biopsy which took place on 7 December 2012, following which Mrs X was advised that she needed to commence dialysis.

Mrs X started haemodialysis in May 2012 and continues to receive this treatment.

Wolferstans investigated the claim and alleged that, due to the Defendant’s failure to diagnose vasculitis sooner, Mrs X was not commenced on immunosuppressive treatment which would have halted the progression of the disease and would have avoided Mrs X’s condition progressing to end stage renal failure requiring haemodialysis.

The Defendant admitted liability and Wolferstans were able to negotiate settlement in the sum of £210,000 for Mrs X.


Delayed Diagnosis Of Testicular Torsion

Mr E, a 58 year old gentleman, attended Derriford Hospital (which comes under the auspices of University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust) on 14 April 2015 suffering from intense pain in his groin and back. He had originally attended the Minor Injuries Unit at Tavistock General Hospital earlier that morning and an ambulance had been summoned to take him to Derriford Hospital.

When Mr E arrived at the Accident and Emergency Department, Derriford Hospital he was seen first by the Triage Nurse and then a Student Nurse.

Shortly after this, Mr E was seen by a junior doctor who carried out an examination and noted that Mr E’s left testicle was extremely swollen and tender. His impression was that Mr E was suffering from acute epididymo-orchitis. A surgical opinion was then sought from a senior doctor who examined Mr E and also noted that the left testicle was swollen and tender.

A diagnosis of acute epididymo-orchitis was confirmed and Mr E was prescribed Levofloxacin and Oramorph and discharged home.

On 16 April 2015, Mr E telephoned his GP complaining of on-going pain in his left testicle. He also pointed out that the Oramorph that he had been prescribed was causing him to feel nauseous and light headed. He was advised to continue with the Levofloxacin, but to stop taking the Oramorph and take Co-codamol instead.

On 17 April 2015, Mr E attended his GP because things were not improving. His left testicle was still very swollen and was increasing in size. The pain had also intensified despite taking the medication that had been prescribed by the hospital. The GP decided to change the Levofloxacin prescription to Ciprofloxacin.

On 20 April 2015, Mr E attended his General Practitioner (who was not the same doctor that he had seen on 17 April 2015) because the pain in his left testicle was getting worse and his testicle had almost doubled in size. Mr E was referred immediately to the Surgical Assessment Unit at Derriford Hospital because there was a possibility that he might be suffering from a testicular torsion.

When Mr E arrived in the Surgical Assessment Unit, he was examined by the on-call doctor who noted that the left testicular skin was erythematous and exquisitely tender to palpate with indurated skin. The plan was to place Mr E on IV fluids with antibiotics and analgesia and arrange for an ultrasound scan to be performed.

Following the results of the ultrasound scan, it was revealed that Mr E’s left testicle had effectively died (due to a lack of blood supply) and would need to be removed as soon as possible.

A left orchidectomy was performed later that day and Mr E was discharged home on 21 April 2015.

Mr E went on to develop a haematoma in the left side of his scrotum which caused him occasional pain and discomfort.

Wolferstans recognised immediately that Mr E’s claim was worth pursuing and obtained expert evidence on both breach of duty and causation of injury which was supportive. The Defendant admitted liability at the first opportunity and the case was settled for £16,000, plus payment of Mr E’s legal costs.

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