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Young client died of brain haemorrhage after aneurysm misdiagnosed

Compensation paid for negligent oversight in patient’s care

13 February 2012

Clinical negligence specialists Sally-Jean Nicholes and Angharad Vaughan have secured substantial compensation for the family of Mr P, who died at the age of 16 on 13th November 2009 following negligent treatment at King’s College Hospital.

Mr P had suffered from sickle cell anaemia since birth. In July 2009 he spent two weeks in hospital for treatment of a sickle cell crisis. Cranial imaging carried out demonstrated that he had an aneurysm on his brain and arrangements were made for an urgent operation to correct this. However, immediately prior to the operation, a cerebral angiogram was carried out on 13 July 2009 which was wrongly interpreted as normal, i.e. that no evidence of the aneurysm was seen. The operation was therefore cancelled.

A Consultant Neuroradiologist saw the cerebral angiogram subsequently, noted that it had been interpreted incorrectly but failed to amend the report, thus an opportunity to recall Mr P and carry out lifesaving treatment needed was missed for a second time. Mr P was discharged and no follow up arrangements were made.

Ruptured aneurysm

Mr P collapsed at home on 4 November 2009 and was admitted to Kings College Hospital as an emergency. A brain scan showed that Mr P had suffered a brain haemorrhage as a result of a ruptured aneurysm. Despite surgical interventions over the next few days, Mr P remained in a very poor condition. Mr P sadly died on 13 November 2009, after care was withdrawn.

Mr P’s family made a complaint to the Trust and an internal investigation was completed into the circumstances surrounding Mr P’s death. The Trust admitted that there had been an unacceptable oversight in Mr P’s care.

Leigh Day & Co represented Mr P’s family at a Coroner’s Inquest and subsequently in a claim for compensation for clinical negligence. Following the Inquest, the Trust admitted liability for Mr P’s death.

Mr P’s parents and siblings told us they had suffered psychiatric injury as a result of the distressing events they witnessed in hospital in the period leading up to his death, which was confirmed by the evidence of a Consultant Psychiatrist and a Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The claim was finally settled in January 2012 for a substantial five figure sum.

For more information please contact Angharad Vaughan on 020 7650 1200.

Brain injury solicitors

Specialist brain injury lawyers at Leigh Day & Co have extensive knowledge and a deep understanding of the impact of acquired brain injury on people’s lives. We are recognised as being leaders in this area of law by the main legal directories and we regularly handle complex and high-value serious injury claims. We have acted for clients who have been injured because of hospital negligence, including for the failure to diagnose symptoms and treat them appropriately. Brain surgery, however difficult and complicated, can be negligently performed by neurosurgeons, and if this negligence causes damage then it is possible that compensation may be recovered. It may also be necessary on occasion to question the choice of operation and the standard of post-operative care received by brain-injured patients.

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