Negligent failures

Posted: 10th November 2016

DoctorMonetary compensation may never be enough to make up for the profound impact of medical negligence, but it does ensure that those left disabled are properly cared for. In one case, a woman who was plunged into a world of her own by a delay in diagnosing and treating a brain infection has won millions of pounds in damages.

The woman was kept in hospital overnight after complaining of severe headaches in June 2009. She was discharged the following day but was re-admitted as an emergency soon afterwards. She was suffering from viral encephalitis, but the dangerous condition was not diagnosed or appropriately treated for more than 48 hours after her first admission. Due to severe brain damage she now suffers acute amnesia, she can do nothing for herself and requires around-the-clock care by a team of professionals.

The NHS trust that managed the relevant hospital admitted full liability for her injuries and issued a public apology to her and her family. In settling the case, it agreed to pay a lump sum of £1.1 million, plus index-linked and tax-free payments of £240,000 per annum to cover the costs of her care for life. The settlement was approved by a judge, who noted that, although money can never fully compensate the woman for all that she has lost, it will at least enable her family to see that she has security and continuity of care without the stress of money worries.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS trust admitted liability for the woman's injury at an early stage and have recently issued a public apology.