£100,000 compensation for delays in hospital treatment

Compensation of £100,000 was awarded to an 81 year-old woman for pain and malnutrition sustained in hospital as a result of delays in treatment of a perforated colonic tumour two years earlier.

Malnutrition Injury details

The Claimant was referred by her GP to the accident and emergency department as a result of worsening abdominal pain.

After admittance a CT scan confirmed an inflamed mass in her colon. Medical staff thought this was most likely to be diverticulitis. She was discharged after five days with a follow up booked for further investigation.

Three weeks later she felt increasingly unwell and returned to the hospital. She was advised to take paracetamol and wait for her further investigation three days later.

The investigations, in the form of a colonoscopy, were completed and an appointment made for six weeks later with her consultant.

Eight days later her condition worsened further and she returned to hospital. She has acute abdominal pain and a high temperature.

She was admitted again and another CT scan performed. After eight days she was discharged again. The diagnosis was inflammation of the colon. A further GP appointment was arranged and a further colonoscopy for six weeks later was arranged.

The Claimant continued to suffer significant pain and weight loss. She was unable to eat and depended on her family for care 24 hours a day. Four weeks after being discharged she arranged an appointment with her consultant, paid for privately.

This appointment diagnosed a perforated lesion through an ultrasound scan. The Claimant was in intense pain and was admitted as an emergency to a private wing of the hospital.

A CT scan confirmed the problems noted previously had worsened.

The surgery left the Claimant needing a permanent colostomy and ileostomy. She suffered several months of malnutrition and pain.

After discharge from hospital she was very swollen. She had difficulty walking and needed care from her family for a long period.

Three days later a colonoscopy identified a perforated tumour. It was a further 12 days before an operation was performed to treat the tumour.

The surgery was significant. The tumour was complicated by an abscess that had developed.

Allegation

It was alleged that the hospital and consultant were negligent insofar as they delayed investigation of her symptoms initially. The symptoms were then not treated appropriately.

The symptoms would have required far less invasive treatment had they been noted earlier. The malnutrition and dehydration suffered would have been avoided.

The Claimant required permanent colostomy and ileostomy.

Case conclusion and settlement

Lliability for clinical negligence was admitted and the matter settled without progressing to Court.

Compensation of £100,000 was accepted by way of an out of Court settlement.

£50,000 of the damages was attributed to "pain, suffering and loss of amenity."

The sum of £20,505 was awarded for past private medical healthcare fees.

£22,000 was accepted for past care, including travel assistance required.

Future care expenses of £7,495 were awarded.