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Six figure settlement for delayed diagnosis

A client who suffered a ruptured appendix and subsequent health problems as a teenager has received a substantial settlement. She was represented by solicitor Kelly Lawford in the clinical negligence department at Leigh Day & Co

14 February 2008

In May 1998, P, then aged 13, began to experience abdominal pain and vomiting on her return from school. Her mother contacted the doctor deputising service by telephone that evening and again on several further occasions. Despite her worsening symptoms, none of the three GP defendants arranged to examine her but gave telephone advice only. P was eventually seen by a GP 16 days after she developed symptoms when she was very unwell. She was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with an appendix that had ruptured and caused severe sepsis and peritonitis.

As a result of the delay in diagnosis, P required multiple operations and a large amount of her small intestine had to be removed. She was on a ventilator for some time and had a lengthy stay in ITU. Because of the damage to her bowel, P required an ileostomy (which is when the end of the small intestine is brought out through an opening in the abdomen and attached to an artificial collecting pouch) for several months.

As a result of her injury P now has short bowel syndrome causing persistent diarrhoea, digestion problems and major dietary restrictions. She also has extensive scarring to her abdomen internally and externally and this has resulted in P becoming infertile to natural conception. If she is to conceive in the future she will require IVF treatment. She suffered a psychological injury as a result of her experience and faces the risk of needing surgery in the future if she develops any of the further possible complications of her injury.

At the time of her injury P needed substantial time off school as a result of her injuries and on her return, struggled to cope with the demands of schoolwork and her ongoing health problems. P had intended to go on to further education after completing A levels but disappointing results and on-going health problems prevented her from doing so. She therefore had a loss of earnings claim based on the adverse effect of her injury on her potential future earnings.

We investigated the claim on P’s behalf. Because of P’s young age, we had to be careful not to settle the case before it was clear what the long term prognosis for her was going to be. After obtaining expert evidence we asked the defendants to agree they were responsible for her injuries but they disputed this throughout the case. P’s case settled shortly before trial for a six-figure sum.

She was represented by clinical negligence solicitor Kelly Lawford.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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Our Expertise

Clinical negligence

Who worked on this case

Kelly Lawford

Specialist Area

General practice