Compensation for Delay in Diagnosis of Meningitis
James contracted meningitis shortly after he was born. His mother had been treated at another hospital when she was 26 weeks pregnant with James. As a result, James’ doctors contacted this hospital to ask for the results of any tests that were carried on on his mother. When the doctors read the notes from the first hospital, they discovered an important entry. It said “note positive result for Group B streptococcus please ensure that the obstetric records are updated, as antibiotic treatment may be required in labour”.
Unfortunately James’ mother did not know about this test result and the risk of Group B streptococcal meningitis . Nor did the mother’s GP, the mother’s midwife or the hospital where James was born. The hospital where James was delivered said that there are standard protocols to follow after a positive swab result. These ensure that antibiotics are administered probably during pregnancy and at the very latest immediately the mother goes into labour. We obtained expert evidence on behalf of James and his mother. The expert said that this antibiotic treatment would have avoided the brain damage and disability from which James now suffers. However, James and his mother did not receive this treatment.
The family began their claim for clinical negligence when James was 18 months old. After some delay the solicitors acting for the hospital admitted negligence. Crucially, they accepted that had the antibiotic treatment been administered on the balance of probabilities all of James’s damage would have been avoided.
James’ Claim for Neonatal Meningitis
James is now a lively and active 6 ½ year old. He has severe hemiplegia and significant learning difficulties with challenging behaviour at home. He loves attending the local primary school and enjoys going to after-school club.
We have obtained interim payments which have allowed the school to employ a full-time teaching assistant. This person works 1-1 with James and he now has access to additional Speech & Language therapy to improve his speech. His family are also able to access specialist advice to help manage James at home.
Obviously all 6 ½ year olds need watching but James’s brain damage means he has no sense of danger and cannot ever be left unsupervised. Medical experts say this will continue and he will always need full-time care/supervision.
The family live in a house with several small rooms on the ground floor which makes it very difficult to look after James. His claim will include the cost of adaptations to make a more open plan living area with a separate room for James to work with therapists and carers.
Creating a secure future for James
As the experts agree James will have significant long term care needs and as they agree he will not be able to work and will not be capable of managing his own affairs, the Court has ordered that this case should be finally concluded next year. James will claim all the additional expenses and financial losses incurred as a result of his disability. This will include the additional care and supervision provided by his parents and the cost of having his own accommodation with a carer when he reaches adulthood together with full-time care and assistance and the services of a case manager.
Barratts Solicitors work with many clients and families who have had delays in treatment due to medical misdiagnosis. Please contact one of our Clinical Negligence solicitors if you would like to discuss your case.
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