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Future needs secured following settlement for non-diagnosis of meningococcal septicaemia

Nicola Wainwright and Suleikha Ali in the clinical negligence team at Leigh Day have obtained a significant sum of compensation to secure the future care needs of a 16-year-old girl

Meningococcal bacteria

30 May 2017

The 16-year-old girl, known only as E (following a Court Order to protect her anonymity) suffered severe orthopaedic injuries following the failure by her GP to diagnose the fact she had meningococcal septicaemia.

E’s claim arose from the delay in diagnosis of meningococcal septicaemia when she was a baby. By the time her GP referred her to hospital she had suffered significant bone, tissue and muscle necrosis, especially in her legs and jaw.

She was left with a foot drop, knock knees, bow legs and legs of different lengths. She was also left with some learning difficulties and psychological problems.

By the age of 16 she had undergone three operations to try to reconstruct her legs and was already suffering from osteoarthritis. Orthopaedic experts advising the Leigh Day team stated that E would need to undergo total knee replacement of both knees in her early 30s.

Given the condition of her legs such surgery carried a significant risk of amputation or fusion, but if she did not have surgery she would be wheelchair bound due to the pain she was likely to experience.

The Defendant GP was found to have been negligent, but uncertainty over E’s future mobility needs made it difficult to know how much it would cost to meet her future medical, care, housing, therapy and equipment needs.

The team at Leigh Day argued successfully for costs to meet E’s needs should she suffer amputation or have to have a leg fused in the future.  

Specialist medical negligence lawyers were able to settle E’s claim for an immediate payment of significant compensation with the right for her to return to Court should an amputation or fusion become necessary.

Nicola Wainwright, Partner, and Suleikha Ali, Solicitor in the clinical negligence department at Leigh Day said

“E is very brave and has been stoic in just getting on with life despite the pain she suffers and the surgery she has needed. However, we were worried about her future. The compensation paid now will enable E to pay for the care and assistance, therapy and equipment she is likely to need as a result of the permanent injuries the Defendant caused her.

“Obtaining the Order on a provisional damages basis means that she can claim later for, for example, the costs of prostheses should one of her legs have to amputated."

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