Katie Nairne, specialist clinical negligence Associate at Davies and Partners Bristol, has recently settled a claim relating to hospital failure to diagnose and treat a lung condition.
The Deceased was a 43 year old lady with no history of respiratory problems. In December 2008, she developed a chest infection. By April 2009, her symptoms had worsened despite antibiotics prescribed by the GP. She was admitted to hospital where a chest scan showed bilateral broncho-pneumonia.
Blood tests revealed autoimmune antibodies suggestive of a connective tissue disorder and a referral was made to Rheumatologists. Before they had decided on a treatment plan however, the Deceased deteriorated and passed away. She left a husband and three children.
Katie obtained independent expert evidence which confirmed that the Deceased had been suffering from non-specific interstitial pneumonia - a lung condition which responds well to steroid treatment. Katie pursued a claim based on the hospital’s delayed diagnosis and treatment of the condition, and argued that had steroids been prescribed, on balance the Deceased would have survived and lived a full and normal life.
The NHS Trust admitted liability for negligence and judgment was entered by the Court.
The NHS then attempted to mitigate the claim by arguing that the Deceased would have gone on to develop other health problems had she survived. The Deceased had suffered childhood polio which left her with a slightly weak leg. It had not stopped her from pursuing a demanding career or raising a family. Katie therefore obtained evidence from one of the country’s few specialists on Post-Polio Syndrome, and was able to successfully challenge the NHS Trust’s arguments, recovering the family’s losses in full.
The claim settled through negotiation for £385,000 damages. Of this sum, portions of damages have been invested in Court for the two youngest children.