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Failure to diagnose TB by two GPs led to compensation settlement following death of client

Two GPs failed to recognise that Deidre was suffering from TB

Photo of chest x-ray: istock

12 December 2013

Emmalene Bushnell from the clinical negligence department at Leigh Day secured a six-figure sum for the partner of a 46-year-old woman, known only as Deidre, who died of tuberculosis following the failure to diagnose the condition by two GPs at a London surgery. She also secured compensation for Deidre’s father

The two GPs, Dr Lahon and Dr Mathur, who have since left the Western Medical Centre in Ealing, failed to to refer and diagnose Deidre with tuberculosis (TB) despite Deidre attending the surgery for 18 months complaining of substantial weight loss, increasing respiratory symptoms and lack of appetite, typical symptoms of TB.

Finally, on 1 July 2008 she attended her GP, Dr Lahon, with shortness of breath and wheezing.  An ambulance was called and Deidre was transferred to Ealing Hospital where a diagnosis of tuberculosis was confirmed.

Deidre was admitted to Ealing Hospital and commenced on anti-tuberculosis treatment.

However, Deidre died on 18 September aged only 46 as a result of respiratory failure, tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Emmalene Bushnell, a lawyer in the clinical negligence team who represented both Deidre’s partner and her father, said:

“We obtained independent expert evidence which concluded that Dr Lahon and Dr Mathur failed to adequately recognise, assess or respond to the change in Deidre’s condition between 2007 and the end of June 2008.  Furthermore, Dr Lahon and Dr Mathur failed to suspect and to diagnose TB despite obvious symptoms.

“Having sought expert opinion from a chest physician we believe that with better care Deidre would have survived the TB.”

Dr Lahon and Dr Mathur admitted that there were failings in the care they provided to Deidre from around 29 June 2007 until 16 June 2008, which caused her death. Dr Lahon and Dr Mathur eventually settled the claim for a six-figure sum.

The compensation received was for the considerable pain, suffering Deidre suffered between June 2007 and her death on 18 September 2008.  It also covered the loss of financial dependency for Deidre’s partner, Kenneth.

Commenting on the settlement, Kenneth said: “We are delighted at the admission of liability and the settlement obtained.”

He said that whilst he was deeply saddened at Deidre’s unnecessary death and the pain this had caused her loved ones he said he “could not have asked more of Leigh Day”.


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